Love story competition: How Much the Heart Can Hold

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In November, Sceptre is launching a competition for a story about a concept of love to go in the paperback edition of the How Much the Heart Can Hold anthology

On 3 November, Sceptre is publishing How Much the Heart Can Hold: Seven Stories on Love in hardback. It’s a beautifully conceived and executed anthology that explores seven concepts of love though short literary fiction by award-winning authors Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, D.W Wilson, Nikesh Shukla, Donal Ryan, Carys Bray, Grace McCleen and Bernadine Evaristo.
To celebrate the launch, Sceptre is running a creative writing competition for an original, unpublished short story on the theme of love. The winning writer will be published in the paperback edition of How Much the Heart Can Hold, which will appear in June 2017. The writer whose story is chosen will also receive £150 and a two-hour consultation about their work with Emma Herdman, senior editor at Sceptre.
‘I’m looking for a story that takes full advantage of the format – that exploits the freedom and embraces the constraints of a short story,’ said Emma. ‘And something refreshing, something that surprises me in its interpretation of the brief.’
Another of the judges, literary agent at Aitken Alexander Associates Lucy Luck, said: ‘I’d love to read something that takes me by the eyelashes and won’t let go, that makes my heart feel heavy in my chest, that has me rooting for him, no her, no them all the way to the end. I want to be uplifted, down-sized and surprised, though not too much. I’d love to come out of the world on the page with a sigh and the satisfaction of time well-spent. It is a lot to ask but that’s what the best of short stories do for me and I look forward to finding that new confident irrepressible voice.’
Chris White, fiction editor at Waterstones, who is also a judge, said: ‘Primarily, I want to find something which is self-contained and suited to its form: a true short story, not a truncated novel. I’m looking for something which will make me think, ideally something which comes at its subject from a slightly different angle. If I’m lucky I hope to find something which will move me and stay with me for a while after I’ve finished.’
To enter, email original unpublished short fiction between 5,000 and 10,000 words based on a concept of love. Send text typed in 12pt font, double-spaced. Include your full name and age.
Entry is free. Each writer may enter only one story.
The competition launches on 3 November and closes on 14 February 2017.


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