Day of reckoning for the writers

WHEN they put the annual short-story competition into cold storage last year, organisers of Ipswich Arts Festival weren’t prepared for wails of anguish.

There was – admits Sara Newman, who’s behind Ip-art’s literature events – nothing short of an outcry. “I wasn’t really aware that it was such an important opportunity for writers in the region,” she admits.

“From the feedback, I learnt how difficult it was to have your writing heard: how important it was to be part of a wider circle when writing can be such a lonely occupation; what confidence it could give to a writer when shortlisted; how the festival provided a focus for literary energies and provided the spur to complete abandoned pieces.

“One newly-published writer told me it was a story being shortlisted that gave her the confidence to go on to write her novel.”

Not surprisingly, the competition – part of the festival since 2007 – was reinstated for this year . . . and drew a record 127 entries.

The winner will be revealed on Friday (June 29) by Norwich-based writer Sarah Hall. The author of short-story collection The Beautiful Indifference, Sarah is judging the shortlisted entries.

The theme for 2012 was “Recover”, with entrants limited to 500 words.

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Sarah will announce the results at the end of Friday evening’s Ip-art event in the Spiegeltent – a mirrored tent installed in Ipswich’s Christchurch Park for the summer.

The event will see Sarah and Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author MJ Hyland discussing plot, character and place with BBC Radio Suffolk presenter (and EADT allotment columnist!) Georgina Wroe.

The start-time is 6.30pm and tickets are �8 (concessions �6). Box office 01473 433100. Web: www.ip-art.com