Literary writing competition2024-03-10T19:35:37+00:00

Farnham’s First Five Thousand Writing Competition


First Place:
Mountain Tigers – K. F. MacCarthy

Crowning Glory – Ellen MacDonald-Kramer

Highly Commended:
Little Mice – Tara Crowe
The Listeners – Jennifer Greenland
The Pilots Watch –
Cynthia Anderson


Aether – Jim Duffy
Beyond the Tipping Point –
Jill Lamond
Crowning Glory –
Ellen MacDonald-Kramer
Little Mice –
Tara Crowe
Migratory Patterns –
Margaret Sessa-Hawkins
Monkeys in the Minarets –
Manjit Dhillon
Mountain Tigers –
K. F. MacCarthy
Second Favourite –
Linda Jorgenson
The Girl Who Slept Through Starlight –
Sara Amelie Spence 
The Listeners –
Jennifer Greenland
The Pilots Watch –
Cynthia Anderson
Wondrous Rare – 
Zoe Owens


Deadline: Thursday 1st of February 2024 – THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED

Farnham Literary Festival presents Farnham’s First Five Thousand writing competition.

Entrants to submit the first 5,000 words of their novel and a 300-word synopsis, your work does not have to be finished.
There is no set theme or style of writing however your entry should be an unpublished, original story.
There will be 5 shortlisted submissions, and a further 15 long-listed submissions.


First Prize: £100 + a Literary Critique
Runner Up: £75
3 Shortlisted: £50


  • 18 and over
  • You must be an unpublished writer (Self-published writers are eligible, but the work itself must not be published anywhere)
  • Your work must be your own, original writing
  • Your work does not have to be finished; we only need the first 5,000 words!


IMPORTANT: All entries are judged anonymously. Please do not include your name or any other personal information on the document.


  • The first 5,000 words (maximum) of your work
  • The first page of the submission should include a 300-word synopsis
    (the synopsis is in addition to the 5,000 words, not included in the word count)


  • Save as a PDF file or Word Document with the novel title as the file name
  • Please do not include your name in with the file name
  • First page to include the synopsis
  • Numbered pages
  • Include the title of the work on every page (in the header)
  • Entries must be typed in 12 pt with black font, double spaced and in Times New Roman font
  • Entries must be in English


There is a £5 fee per submission. There is no limit to the number of submissions per person


Longlist announcement – Friday 1st of March 2024
Short List announcement – Sunday 10th of March 2024

All 5 shortlisted works will be published on the Farnham Literary Festival website.

If you have a query, please contact


Meet the Judges

Louise Morrish

Louise Morrish is passionate about women’s history. She loves
nothing more than discovering the stories of ordinary women
in the past who achieved extraordinary things, but whom
history has forgotten.
Her dream of seeing her own book on a shelf came true when
her debut novel, Operation Moonlight, won Penguin Random
House First Novel competition in 2019. Her novel was
published in 2022, and she is now represented by literary agent
LBA Books.

B.A. Paris

B.A.Paris is the New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author of the word-of-mouth hit Behind Closed Doors and upcoming thriller, The Guest.

With 7 million editions of her seven novels sold worldwide, her books have been translated into 41 languages. Three of her novels have been optioned for major screen adaptations and there’s a film of her novel The Breakdown, in post-production.

Gill Thompson

Ex Farnham resident and Alton College lecturer Gill has written four historical fiction novels, all of which have been digital number one bestsellers.

She now lives in West Sussex and has recently been appointed Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Chichester.

Melanie Whipman

Melanie Whipman is a writer, editor and lecturer. Her work has been broadcast on Radio 4 and published in numerous literary and commercial magazines and anthologies.

She is an Associate Lecturer at the University of Chichester; leads creative writing workshops in Farnham and is commissioning editor for The Story Player.

Her debut short story collection, Llama Sutra, won the Rubery International Book Award (short story category) in 2017 and was a contender for the Edge Hill Prize. She is currently editing her novel, which was written during her MA in Creative Writing, and which was awarded the Kate Betts Prize. She has a PhD in English and Creative Writing from the University of Southampton.


Does my work have to be fiction or non-fiction?2023-12-05T16:27:07+00:00

Both fiction and non-fiction work are accepted.

Can I make changes after submission?2023-12-05T16:35:31+00:00

No. All submissions are final, and changes cannot be made. You can enter again with an updated version of your work. To withdraw your original entry, please email

Can I send more than 5,000 words?2023-12-05T16:37:28+00:00

To keep the competition fair to all writers, any material over the 5,000-word count will not be taken into consideration.

What do you expect to be included in the synopsis?2023-12-06T09:58:23+00:00

Your synopsis should include a clear summary of your novels main plot.

What happens if I forget to add a word count?2023-12-05T16:52:36+00:00

We will check the word count of submissions.

Do you accept email attachments?2023-12-05T16:42:49+00:00

No. All entries must be submitted through the online form.

Must entries be unpublished?2023-12-05T16:52:10+00:00

Novels that have been traditionally published are not eligible.

Are translations allowed?2023-12-05T16:56:11+00:00

Translation of a writer’s own work into English is allowed. However, translations of someone else’s work is not eligible.

An author’s translation of their own work into English is eligible but someone else’s translation of the work is not.

Can co-authored books be submitted?2023-12-05T16:48:27+00:00

Yes. We just ask that all authors are named on the form.

Can I use a pen name?2023-12-05T16:49:23+00:00

Yes. The entry form has a space to enter your pen name but please also submit your real name on the form.

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