A photo of bare trees in a field on a cold, sunny winter's day

Photo Competition Winners!

Congratulations to our seasonal photography competition winners:

Four Winter Trees at Eventide (Caroline Summerfield)


A photo of bare trees in a field on a cold, sunny winter's day
Four Winter Trees at Eventide (Caroline Summerfield)


Caroline is the author of the Gloucestershire-inspired play, 'The Tree Charter Tapestry', which celebrates our ancient woodlands and forests, and the deep connection which we all share with Nature. The recording of the production, at the Everyman Theatre Cheltenham, is available to listen to as a podcast on: https://anchor.fm/caroline-rose-summerfield

For further information about other plays going into production and touring, in 2021, please refer to the Natura Contemporary Theatre's website:


Gift-wrapped (Robin Barker)


A photo of a beautiful Regency house in Cheltenham with red ribbon outside like a christmas present wrapped up. There are trees outside full of Christmas lights.
Gift-wrapped by Robin Barker


'Photography is a hobby for me along with writing and travelling. I enjoy taking pictures…. it is a distraction from daily life, especially at the moment with the pandemic. I often find the best pictures I take are when I am on a walk ……… and can capture a scene or a moment in time. This one came gift-wrapped.'

Here We Come (copyright Rose Finch LRPS)


Photos of horses walking through a snowy field
Here We Come (copyright Rose Finch LRPS)


The photograph was taken during the recent snow but we were delighted to be told the background to it, a friendship with the horses that began in May last year. The picture of the foal (not part of the competition) was taken at that time.

Photo of a foalIt might appear, from first glance, that there is nothing exceptional about this image. But for me, it reminds me of a new discovery, be it in a very simple way.

It was taken on the 7th May, when we were in lockdown. Our outdoor activity was restricted to one precious walk per day, near home. I had discovered some common land, very close to where I live, which I had never walked or explored before. Spring had arrived and there were hawthorn bushes everywhere, in beautiful white blossom. The walk takes you slowly uphill to an old, rugged and lone tree. And looking back, there is a glorious view, leading to the Malvern Hills in the distance.

There were horses grazing here. I have learned since that they are Gypsy Vanners, whose history begins with the Gypsies of Great Britain, who sought a horse with strength and build to pull their caravans. They wanted a horse that was not only strong, but that was mild-mannered, gentle and easily trained. They are relatively small horses, but are broadly built and sport heavy feathering, starting at their knees and hocks. A long, full mane and tail are also common traits.

Knowing nothing about horses to that day, I was to embark on a very special journey, when I discovered a new-born foal. I watched as she lay so tiny, close to her Mum. She was beautiful, with a black and white coat. Always armed with my camera, which goes with me almost everywhere, I was very cautious, as I didn’t know how the mares would respond, so I kept a respectful and safe distance. I returned the next day and then became very excited when I realised that another foal had been born.

During the next few weeks, I watched their growth and development. I discovered that the mares were protective, but gentle and not at all worried about my intrusion. They became very used to this strange person with a camera, who photographed them constantly. One of the foals was much more confident than the other and quickly trotted to me when I approached, tentative at first, but then with increasing confidence. She seemed to welcome the human contact and would allow me to stroke and talk to her. Totally besotted, I relished this new experience. I didn’t take food, as I quickly learned that the adults would become very competitive for carrots and there was a definite pecking order. Being full grown mares, they were still big enough to knock you over, if they so desired.

Even several months later, they would still come to me, although they quickly grew in size and height. Observing their way of life, they seem to live a harsh way of life in some ways, though they have plenty of grassland and water. But they do not receive any real care or grooming, which is such a shame, as they are majestic creatures. And I wonder what they are bred for……

However, I feel privileged, to have witnessed the growth of a devoted family of beautiful and gentle horses. In the midst of the horror and worry of COVID-19, I have felt for the first time what every farmer must feel, that special connection with his animals……. . It is something I will always remember with joy!


Gloucestershire Writers’ Network Winter Photo Competition

Can you capture the essence of this time of year in a photograph?


We are running a fun competition to celebrate all that is beautiful, intriguing, interesting, quirky or unusual about our county at this time of year.

If you feel you have a winner, send it to us by 31st December 2020, and the top 3, as judged by the GWN committee, will be featured on our website.

There is no entry fee, the prize is to share your talent and image with a wider audience.

The rules:
1. Photographs must be taken by the entrant.
2. Your entry will be published on our website with your name, subject to your permission.
3. Email your entries to pennygwn@gmail.com.
4. Don’t forget to include your contact details.
5. Your photo must have been taken in Gloucestershire in the 2020 winter season.


The Gloucestershire-based literary journal, Superlative, has selected its winners and contributors for its 2020 'New Beginnings' short story competition and journal.

Competition Winners

'Birdsong' by Lui Sit (Winner)
'Mockingbirds' by Faraaz Mahomed (Runner-up)
'Seven' by Richard Hooton (Runner-up)


Journal Contributors

'Born Standing' by Ed James
'And the Stone Rolls On' by Alex Blank
'Did I do Something Wrong?' by Harrison Lake
'Crow Overlooking' by M.M. Mancey
'Circular Breathing' by Becca Edwards
'I'll Never Leave You' by Asha Sutton
'Saving Skyler' by William Falo
'The Perpetually Dying Woman' by Mr Uku

Competition winners are published online here.

Back issues of the journal can be purchased here, and subscriptions can be purchased here.

Paper Nations Call for Contributions

Paper Nations is launching a new call out for contributions to its Writing for All Greenbook. We want to learn more about the UK’s offline and online writing community, to identify gaps, challenges and opportunities to help us to create a more inclusive environment for all writers.  We also want to know how resources – particularly new online resources developed in response to the pandemic – are being used by the writing community. The results will appear on our Dare To Write? Atlas and in our Writing for All Greenbook.

You can submit up to 250 words about your work via our website, by completing the online form or downloading the Word Document version.

Click here for more information.

Please submit your entry by Tuesday 1st September at 5pm. For more information and queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with researcher Christina Sanders on c.sanders@bathspa.ac.uk

Superlative Short Story Literary Journal

Superlative is an annual short story literary magazine: the 2020 submission deadline is Monday 31st August.

£100 cash prize and publication in the journal.

'We publish quality work by aspiring short story writers, in order to promote new, developing authors and the art of the short story to readers worldwide. We work closely with developing writers so that, when we publish their work, it is well-crafted.
By providing free editing services, we hope to nurture emerging talent and newly-established writers, and to keep writing alive for future generations.
Our journal is published annually, available each year from November.'


Click here for journal submission details.
Click here for competition submission details.

Shooter Literary Magazine

Shooter Literary Magazine's 2020 Poetry Competition is now open to poetry of any theme/style, up to 100 lines max.
Entry fee of £3 per poem or £8 for three.

All entrants receive an e-copy of Shooter's Winter 2021 issue, in which the winning poem will appear. Winner receives £150 and publication both in print and online; runner-up wins £50 and online publication. Deadline of November 1st, 2020; winners announced in December.

Click here for Guidelines and entry details.

Click here for general submissions for the winter issue, themed Animal Love.

First Prize for Christine Griffin

Congratulations to Christine!

Her poem, ‘Camera Obscura’, was awarded first prize in the Evesham Festival of Words Poetry Competition.

The George Floyd Short Story Competition

Nottingham Writers' Studio (UK) have recently launched 'Black Lives: The George Floyd Short Story Competition' to increase diversity in publishing and help elevate writers' of colour (no previous experience necessary). The event is open to all, but they strongly encourage anyone who falls into the BAME category to apply.

The event is free to enter and comes with a top prize of £250, plus publication in an upcoming anthology.

Click here for full details.

Buzzwords Poetry Competition

Situation depending, Buzzwords' monthly meet will not recommence until September at the earliest.

However, the Buzzwords poetry competition is currently live and accepting entries! Closing date 22nd August 2020.

Click here for more information.

Perspectives Magazine

Perspectives magazine, produced by Cheltenham Arts Council, has some fascinating articles about the arts in Cheltenham and the effects of Lockdown.

Click here to view the magazine online.