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LGBTQ+ Creative Writing Competition

February 1 - February 21

Encompass, in partnership with Cambridge University Press (CUP) and the Kite Trust, is proud to announce our History Month LGBTQ+ Creative Writing Competition. There are categories for under-16s and all ages, poetry and short stories, and each category will have a first prizes of £50 and a runner-up prize of £25 in a combination of CUP vouchers and book tokens! The prizes are generously sponsored by the Kite Trust, Cambridgeshire’s leading organisation working with LGBT+ young people, and the CUP, the publishing business of the University of Cambridge.

Open to all, we ask you to submit your writing on LGBTQ+ themes – interpret that however you like! At the Prize Ceremony, 17.45 on Thursday 27th February in Cambridge Central Library, we will hear extracts from the winning entries.

The competition will be open for entries from Saturday 1st February at 12 noon until Friday 21st February at 12 noon. Details on how to enter are below.

Our judges are prolific local LGBTQ+ authors Michael Brown and Paulina Palmer. Paulina has taught literature and gender studies at Warwick University and Birkbeck College, London. She currently teaches classes on contemporary fiction at City Lit College. Her publications include Lesbian Gothic: Transgressive Fictions (1999), The Queer Uncanny (2012) and Queering Contemporary Gothic (2016). She is a trustee of Encompass Network. Michael is the author of The Exhibit, Mercurial and Meet me at the Harbour. He is a poet who works for Cambridge Literary Festival and programmes for Cambridge Festival of ideas. He is currently working on a climate change short novel The Cage. In addition to his own audiobooks he is also an audiobook narrator. Film star Sigourney Weaver has reviewed his work.

To use your winnings, book tokens are accepted by all book stores for any book purchase. The CUP vouchers will of course work for their catalogues full of scholarly books, but your options are much broader: you could buy a couple of Cambridge Shakespeare plays; Companions like the Cambridge Companion to Gay and Lesbian Literature; or non-fiction paperbacks like There Is No Planet B or What Science Is and How It Really Works; the list goes on!


How to enter

The LGBTQ+ Creative Writing competition will be open for entries from Saturday 1st February at 12 noon until Friday 21st February at 12 noon. Please submit short stories or poetry on LGBTQ+ themes. There are four categories. Under-16 categories are open to aged 16 and below.  

Category A: Under-16s’ poetry Open to young people up to and including 16 years-old, with an upper limit of 2 sides of A4, no smaller than size 1font. 

Category B: Under-16s’ short stories Open to young people up to and including 16 years old, with an upper limit of 4,000 words. Please submit your entry in a plain font size 14, double spaced with the word count at the end of your entry.  

Category C: Open poetry Open to all, with an upper limit of 2 sides of A4, no smaller than size 12 font. 

Category D: Open short stories Open to all, with an upper limit of 4,000 words. Please submit your entry in a plain font size 14, double spaced with the word count at the end of your entry.  


To enter, download and fill in this form:  The easiest way to fill in a PDF form is to open it in Adobe Acrobat (free software) and use the Fill and Sign feature (you will need to save the document before you exit). 

Email with the subject line “Creative Writing Entry” and attach the completed form and your creative writing entry as a Word document (or non-Office equivalent) or PDFDO NOT include your name anywhere in your creative writing document. If you wish, you may enter a maximum of one poetry submission and one prose submission.  By submitting your creative writing, you agree for it to be read out at the prize ceremony and published on our websites if you win or are a runner-up, alongside the name you have chosen to be credited by.  You also agree for us to use the email address you contacted us with to inform you of details of the prize ceremony and the outcome of your entry.  

In order to be as open as possible, we are not requesting parents’ permission for under-16 entries, in line with many other writing competitions. In this case, we have chosen to do so to enable young people who are not out to participate in the competition without risk of outing. Similarly, we ask for a name that you wish to be credited as to allow entrants to use a pen-name to keep anonymity if they wish.  

You will receive an email to confirm that your entry has been received. 

Entries must be received by 12:00 noon Friday 21st February to be accepted. 


February 1
February 21
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