Short story competition: Plotting New Worlds. Share your story and you could win £250!

The English Department at Bishop Grosseteste University is pleased to announce its 2022 Short Story Competition for all year GCSE and A-level students who are passionate about writing creatively. This year’s theme is ‘Plotting New Worlds’. The outdoors have inspired writers through the ages, whether as a place of healing for the Romantics or a source of menace for dystopian novelists. We invite you to follow in these literary footsteps by crafting a short story that features the outdoor world in some form.

Will your short story depict the beauty of an ancient woodland or striking mountain range? Will it include characters fleeing into nature away from a looming pandemic? Or will it respond to the environmental issues of our day, such as the effects of global heating? We look forward to reading about your new creative endeavours.

The judging panel will be made up of lecturers from Bishop Grosseteste University’s Department of English, recognized by The Sunday Times and The Guardian as among the top thirty in the UK. With specialisms stretching from the Middle Ages to contemporary literature and creative writing, these literary experts will be looking for submissions that demonstrate originality, imagination, and relevance to the theme. The Department has been exploring the theme of ‘Plotting New Worlds’ over the past few years, including in an autumn 2020 poetry event featuring the 2020 John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize Winner, Dr Isabel Galleymore, as part of Being Human, the UK’s national festival of the humanities. You can find out more about the it and be inspired by watching this video directed and produced by current students in BGU’s Department of English:

You can also discover more by attending events and masterclasses that we will run in the new year. There is already a masterclass online that might be on interest on Thomas Hardy and the outdoors.

Submissions must be original and previously unpublished short stories. Your entry can have a maximum word count of 2,000 words, with no minimum. It must address the theme, ‘Plotting New Worlds’, but can be of any style and address any subject.

The winner will be awarded £250 in cash. The runner-up and the entry in third place will have a chance to receive a prize. The short stories that will awarded the first, second and third place in the competition will be published on Bishop Grosseteste University’s website. All the prizes will be announced on our website.

To participate in this year’s competition, please send an email including your name, school, school year, short story title and attached submission to Dr Claudia Capancioni, Programme Leader for English ( by midnight (BST) on Friday 22 April 2022. If you have any questions, do please use the same contact details.

We encourage teachers to pass this opportunity on to as many of their students as wish to take part.

Good Luck and enjoy ‘Plotting New Worlds’!

BGU English

Why study English at BGU?

  • English at BGU has been ranked 1st in the UK for course satisfaction (Guardian University Guide 2021)
  • English at BGU has a 100% overall course satisfaction rating (National Student Survey 2020)
  • English at BGU has been ranked 3rd in the UK for teaching quality (Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021)
  • English at BGU has been ranked 1st in the UK for graduate prospects (Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021)

English Literature at BGU

What You Will Study in English Literature

Studying English at BGU gives you access to the intense power of human creativity, with opportunities to debate critical questions that continue to shape the investigation of literature. You will encounter authors such as Shakespeare, Wilde and Pinter, Blake, Tennyson and Dylan, Wollstonecraft, Woolf and Winterson, Dickens, Morrison, and Blackman, and explore the richness and diversity of literary expression. All of this whilst you develop your understanding of key genres, styles, periods and contexts, supported by a passionate team of research-active lecturers.

At BGU you will study an exciting range of writers, texts and topics. You will be able to study works in their historical and genre contexts, explore literary concepts and themes (identity, memory, gender and adolescence), make intertextual and creative connections (myth, adaptation, film, creative writing) and develop your critical independence and career prospects with extended research and work-based projects (English@Work, research project). Throughout your studies you can follow your own interests through optional modules, and choose your own focal points and textual examples for assessment tasks.

You will acquire key academic and transferable skills such as critical thinking and evaluation, analysis, research and high-level communication skills through diverse methods of assessment, which blend established critical and communication skills with up-to-date digital literacies and platforms. You will develop expressive and creative skills fit for the 21st century; combining written essays and oral presentations with e-portfolios, multimodal video, posters, hypertext, digital publication, and independent research projects. You will benefit from an innovative and flexible approach to teaching and learning that promotes student participation and engagement. With the close academic support you will receive here at BGU, you will have the opportunities and guidance to fulfil your full potential.

As an English student at BGU, your engagement with literature won’t stop at the seminar door. The English team are all research-active lecturers who are passionate about the study of literature and its positive impact on the individual and wider society. We actively support a range of organised events and visits to enable a wider participation with literary culture, including visiting speakers, a research seminar series, subsidised film and theatre trips, workshops and celebrations, poetry readings and literary awards.

(Please note that depending on your choice of English course, you may have a choice of optional modules in your second and third years.)

Click here for more information about our English courses.