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Literature Ambassador: Writerly Development

Part of my role as one of Wigtown Festival Company’s Literature Ambassadors is to support writers in Dumfries & Galloway. One of the ways I do that is by searching for writer opportunities and publishing between three and six new ones a week. Generally on Wednesdays. This week I’ve found: an artist residency in Sanquhar; an award for young poets; an open call for creative writing on climate change; a workshop on how to make it as a freelancer; an online magazine looking for edgy short fiction; and a publisher of literary fiction who doesn’t require the writer to have an agent:

The Merz Bothy

MERZ Artist Residency Programme 2019-2021


Deadline: 20 April 2019 at 17:00

MERZ invites applications from visual artists, writers, curators & architects for a two-month funded residency in 2019-2021 to live and work in Sanquhar, in rural Dumfriesshire, South West Scotland.

Open Call: MERZ Funded Residencies

MERZ is a new project located around a renovated former lemonade factory in the developing ‘cultural quarter’ of a former rural mining town.

The MERZ creative focus is based on ideas of Reconstruction and Fabrication in a post-industrial setting. MERZ draws as a metaphor on Kurt Schwitters’ assemblages and the conceptual and protagonistic approach of Analytical Art and the early Art & Language.

We seek proposals from creative individuals with an affinity towards our aims (more detailed information can be found in the ‘ABOUT’ section of our website and who would benefit from a focussed period of time to practice in this rural/post-industrial setting.

Community engagement is important; we ask that each visiting artist contribute to public events (a talk/open-studio event/workshop), leaving a legacy that will engage local civic and arts communities. 

A news-film or longer documentary will be made during work for circulation and/or broadcast on web-channels, social media and TV.

Facilities: The Bothy is a unique stone-building designed for visiting artists with full domestic facilities. The MERZ Gallery and nearby ZIPStudio are available for use as workspaces and as events/performance/exhibition spaces. All buildings are wheelchair accessible and equipped with WiFi. There are a variety of outdoor work/exhibition spaces. Films and presentations can take place at MERZ or the nearby, A’ the Airts.

A fee will be paid for each two-month residency based on SAU rates. A reasonable allowance will be available to each resident to cover materials for events and exhibition expenses. Selected artists will be responsible for arranging/financing their own travel to/from MERZ. 

To Apply: Please send (in one PDF document):

Artist Statement (max 200 words)
Portfolio of works (up to a max of 6: images/text/web links if video/sound)
A proposal detailing your plans for the 2 month period (max 400 words)
Initial thoughts on public engagement/public works, e.g.
Indication of preferred 2 months

Deadline: 5:00pm Saturday 20th April 2019

Shortlisted artists will be invited for a Skype/Facetime video call. 

Supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

Location: All Scotland ,England, Wales, Northern Ireland, International

For further information, please contact (Dr David Rushton), or call 07906692506,

The deadline is Saturday 20 April 2019 at 17:00.

The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is now open!

This year’s judges Raymond Antrobus and Jackie Kay cannot wait to read your poems. It is free to enter to anyone in the world aged 11-17 years old to enter! Deadline 31 July 2019. Good luck.

Useful information

Entries are now open


Midnight 31st July 2019 (BST)


Jackie Kay

Raymond Antrobus

Need to know

More info on the site:

Open Call: Creative Writing on Climate Change

Stories, Poetry, and Art on Humanity and Nature for

The Climate Change Issue

Deadline April 30, 2019

What is our place in the natural world? If we destroy our environment, will it in turn destroy us? From 19th century Romanticism to dystopian science fiction, the complex relationship between humanity and the environment around us has long inspired writers and artists. Today, those dystopian predictions are rapidly coming true as our society is disrupting the natural balance on which we depend. It is the responsibility of all, authors and artists included, to do what we can. Through stories and poetry exploring our encounters with nature, this issue of the London Reader reveals the many ways our communities have caused and are influenced by an increasingly unstable climate. 

The London Reader is issuing an open call for short stories, creative nonfiction, flash/mini-fiction, poetry, and artwork that explores our role in the natural world.

Submissions could involve characters experiencing such things as a touching moment with nature, nostalgia for the natural past, sublime visions of wilderness, dystopian or utopian predictions of climate change, specific events of climate breakdown, the effects of unrestrained pollution, the blurry boundary between urban and wilderness, harmony in nature disrupted by exploitation, the role of national parks and nature preserves, clear-cutting contrasted to re-wilding, or natural disaster survival stories.

Possible writing prompts:
• A eulogy for the natural world
• Spring floods destroy the old family cottage
• The last polar bear in the wild dies on a melting ice flow
• City life leaves the narrator longing for a trip to the forests of their youth
• Characters struggle in a dystopian future under an anti-science government
• California wildfires force a young couple to evacuate their new home
• Revolutionaries fight against the destructive force of the fossil fuel industry
• A camping trip twenty years later reveals how much the wilderness has changed
• A town in Wales rallies together to repair an old seawall after the government abandons them
• A Floridian family flees through swamps as the peninsula is swallowed by storm surges
• Climate refugees are turned away at the Canadian border

What to submit: Creative works can be stand-alone pieces or collections, but should generally be fewer than 5,000 words or no more than 3 poems. Multiple submissions are welcome. Artwork should be favourably viewed on a tablet or single A5 page.
How to submit: The London Reader Submission Portal.
If you have any questions or difficulty submitting, email
The deadline for submission on this theme is April 30, 2019.

The How, Why and What of Becoming a Freelancer


Deadline: 02 May 2019 at 13:00

In this interactive event we will cover everything you need to know about freelancing – the good, the bad and the ugly!

The world of work is changing, with more than 15% of the UK population now classed as self-employed, more and more people are taking the leap into the world of freelance. What does it really mean to work for yourself? What do you need to know to get started? And more importantly how do you survive in an increasingly competitive world?

This workshop will be facilitated by Helen Denny, Director of Not9to5. Not9to5 works with individuals and organisations who are aspiring to be less 9-to-5, offering consultancy, coaching and training to help them unlock the benefits of flexibility. With a focus on collaboration, they bring together people with different knowledge, skills and expertise who are able to find creative and innovative ways of working together

In this interactive workshop we will cover everything you need to know about freelancing – the good, the bad and the ugly.

– Learn how to start out as a freelancer
– Develop the skills needed to survive in the ‘Not9to5’ world
– Understand and explore the value of your networks
– How to cost your services effectively
– Discover the reality of what it means to be self-employed
And much more! 

Who is this event for? 
– Anyone who is interested in a Not9to5 career
– New and existing Freelancers
– Individuals thinking about taking the leap into the Freelance world

Location: Glasgow City

For further information, please contact (, or call 07903886481, or visit

The deadline is Thursday 02 May 2019 at 13:00

The name, Thrice Fiction, attracted me enough to check out this magazine, and I’m glad I did. The current submissions window was opened on April 1 and closes on April 30.

Thrice Fiction

Submission Guidelines…

Thrice Fiction is a constant blending of old and new. Of the works we publish, 99% are 100% unsolicited. Consequently this assures you that every story we get, we read. Everything gets a fair shot.

A few things before we dig in…

We don’t offer payment… all Thrice Fiction digital editions are free to download.

We accept simultaneous submissions, but request that you identify them as such. Please let us know as soon as possible if your work is accepted elsewhere.

There is no reading fee.

Any work received outside the submission periods (listed on the calendar below) will be discarded.

There are a few things that will hurt your chances. These are not hard-and-fast rules that determine great art from mere baggage. Others may not have the same idea, and that’s fine. But here at Thrice Fiction there are certain things we like, and certain things we don’t…

Every issue we’ve ever published is available free in several formats right here on this site. Please review a few recent issues to see what we’ve accepted so you can know if your work is a good fit for us. This is a fiction magazine. We don’t print poetry or coming-of-age stories. This is not a Young Adult venue. We like genre-benders, odd forms, flash, micro, and alternative, but will also include more traditional forms and styles if well-crafted.

We like to have a reason to read past the first paragraph. It’s short fiction so have a hook, quickly.

We no longer read material that goes beyond 5000 words.

We can edit punctuation and grammar errors. They happen even to the best. But there is a point at which, if it becomes oppressive in the course of the work, we start to lose faith.

And, of course, all these rules will be tossed away if you send us something that can’t be denied.

For more info and to submit here’s the link to the Thrice Fiction site:

McSweeney’s is one of my favourite publishers. Begun by the utterly adorable Dave Eggers some time in the late eighties (I think) as a magazine, his passion has enabled it to flourish into so much more. I listened to a podcast the other day about a filmmaker who wasn’t having much luck pitching his work, until he bumped into Eggers. The film sounded brilliant – I must find the notebook I jotted its name in – and is now winning awards. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that McSweeney’s publishes work others shy away from, so if you have a book that doesn’t seem to easily fit a commercial category they may be the folk for you. This is pretty much all they say about the process, I guess you’ll find out more if you go to their Submittable site, the link for which you’ll find at the bottom of this entry.



While submissions are open, please send along manuscripts that meet the following criteria—we remain, as always, incredibly excited to read your work. And please note that we only accept electronic manuscripts. Poetry submissions are addressed further down this page, and do not belong on our Submittable site. Because we are a very small organization with an even smaller editorial department, it often takes us a long time to respond to our submitters. We appreciate your patience with us as we work on getting to your manuscript. If you have a query about your submission, please email

There are no guidelines for length.

Complete manuscripts only, with the exception of cookbooks—we are happy to accept cookbook proposals or full manuscripts.

Please do not submit illustrated works. Multiple submissions are fine, but if your manuscript is accepted elsewhere, please withdraw your work from our system. If you’ve read all the above, please continue to our Submittabl

So that’s the first Writer Opps Wednesday post on this, my new, site. If you’d like to see others you’ll find them here.

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