Suz Winspear

As if 2020 wasn’t bad enough already, we now have Coronavirus to add to the misery! I had just written a cheerful upbeat piece for this month’s SlapMag, about how resilient the Spoken Word community was and how we intended to keep our events going for as long as possible . . . Two days later, it was as though the country’s entire Arts, Culture and Performance sector had been shut down. We don’t know how long this will last, but it seems unlikely that any Spoken Word events will take place in Worcestershire during April. Obviously this is a dreadful time for all those freelance performers who are losing earnings, and we’ll all miss meeting up with our friends and fellow-artists, visiting our favourite venues, and standing up on a stage to perform in front of a live audience.

It’s impossible to tell at this stage whether the crisis will affect June’s LitFest, but the Festival competitions are still open and active – even if the Festival itself has to be called-off or postponed, these will all be going ahead.

 First of all, there’s the Young Writer Competition. This is for writers aged between 7 and 17 in three age-categories, for stories of up to 300 words on the theme of ‘Words and Pictures’. Winners get book vouchers and the opportunity to be published in a real book! With schools closed, why not encourage your young writers to pen something for this?

The Flash Fiction Competition is for stories of up to 300 words on any theme. Again, the winners and finalists will be published in an anthology, and there are cash prizes.

 And finally – the big one! We are looking for the 10th Worcestershire Poet Laureate! It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase your work and promote poetry across the county and beyond. We need two poems of up to 40 lines, one on the theme of ‘Masks and Portraits’, the other on any theme.

The closing date for all these competitions is April 30th – while so many of us are stuck indoors and unable to go out to arts events, 2020 could be the perfect opportunity to write something and send in an entry! For further details, terms & conditions, go to

By: Suz Winspear

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