Retreat West is all about reading and writing fiction. Learn with great authors on residential writing retreats and online courses; get published and paid in the competitions; and improve your skills with the courses and editorial reviews.

Our Author Members also get ongoing motivation and inspiration via email; discounts on the courses and retreats; free entries to the comps and free copies of the books we publish; a supportive online community; and priority booking when new courses are launched.

Retreat West Books (Winner Most Innovative Publisher 2020 Saboteur Awards) publishes short story collections, novels and memoirs.


This festive season we'll be counting down to Christmas with the online publication of 12 seasonal stories.

The winning stories will be published in December - 1 a day starting 5th December - and in true advent calendar style the prizes will be revealed when the story is published. They will all be Retreat West goodies so a mix of courses, memberships, books, feedback and mentoring.

Entry fee: £6.

Deadline for entries: 03rd September 2023

Max word count: 1000

Stories can have been previously published as long as you retain the publication rights and the publication date was before August 2023.

Competition T&Cs

  • Submit stories written in English through Submittable by 23.59 GMT on the deadline date (sorry late entries will not be included).
  • Please include a word count on the story document
  • Maximum word count is 1000 (excluding title) but there is no minimum. Please do not submit stories above this word count as they will be automatically disqualified. Sorry!
  • Do not include your name on the story or the submission title – sorry but stories where we can see the writer’s name will automatically be disqualified as all entries are judged anonymously.
  • Stories must be your own original work and they can have been previously published as long as you retain the publication rights and the publication date was before August 2023.
  • By entering the competition you agree to your story being published on the Retreat West website.
  • If you enter the story elsewhere and it is accepted for publication before judging takes place then you will have to withdraw it and no entry fees will be refundable.
  • Stories can be in any genre apart from children’s fiction.
  • You can enter multiple stories but the £6 entry fee is payable each time and each story must be submitted separately.
  • The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

The new annual prize from Retreat West's WestWord journal. 

All winning and shortlisted stories will be published in the online anthology edition of WestWord.

Winners in each category will be chosen by the WestWord editorial team and will receive a cash prize.

See the categories, prizes and detailed submission info on the website:

Our monthly micro fiction writing competition has great prompts and prizes.

All reading and voting is done anonymously so no putting your name on your story or telling people which is yours if you’re shortlisted. We’ve recently had an issue with a shortlisted writer ignoring this rule and revealing her story title and lobbying for votes, which is why we have now changed the prizes and judging structure. Any writers found doing this in the future will be banned from taking part in all of the Retreat West competitions. Please honour the spirit of the competition and your fellow writers.

On the first Monday of each month (apart from August and December when we have time off) we post the prompt and you get a week to write and submit a story based on it. Four days after submissions close we announce the longlist and on the third Monday of the month we publish a shortlist of 10 stories in a blog.

Winners of the cash prize are decided by our panel of judges and the shortlist of 10 goes to public vote to win the People’s Prize. Voting remains open for one week and then the writer with the most votes wins the mystery prize, which will change each month and be announced at the same time as the results.

The prompts will be posted on our website each month.  We’re hoping to see some different takes on the prompts so don’t always go for the first thing it brings to mind…

Word count: 100 words exactly – the title is not included in the word count. We use MS Word to count for us and will give leeway of a word or two each way. Hyphenated words are counted as one but don’t use loads to increase the words available to you!

Entry fee: £5 or £17 with detailed feedback on the story you submit (if you book feedback and your story then wins a prize you can send a different micro story in for our editor to look at)

  • 1st Prize: 30% of the entry fees received for the competition (after Submittable fees are deducted) and your story published in our Flash Fiction area of the website.
  • 2nd Prize: 20% of the entry fees received for the competition (after Submittable fees are deducted) and your story published in our Flash Fiction area of the website.
  • People’s Prize: It’s a secret! This will change each month and be revealed with the results.
  • Shortlisted (but don’t win one of the 3 main prizes): Free entry to the next Monthly Micro Fiction Competition.

All winning and shortlisted stories are also published individually in the Flash Fiction area of our website.
Once the deadline for the competition closes, we’ll confirm how many entries we received and what the cash prize will be.

Find the prompt on our website.


From 2023, we have an ongoing Writer-in-Residence Programme for the Retreat West Community.

What does the residency entail?

It's a 6-month programme for writers of fiction who want to develop their teaching skills alongside their writing and be part of a friendly and welcoming online community. It's open to all writers around the world as long as they are fluent speaking and writing in English. We welcome applications from all regardless of gender, race, class, sexual orientation or religious affiliation.

During the 6-month period you will:

  • Teach two 1-hour Zoom workshops for community members on topics to be agreed with Retreat West founder, Amanda Saint. These will take place at 7pm UK time on a weekday evening so if you are in a different timezone please ensure this is doable for you.
  • Host four 1-hour Zoom feedback sessions for community members to get feedback on their flash fictions. These will take place at 3pm UK time on a weekday afternoon so if you are in a different timezone please ensure this is doable for you.
  • Write 3 craft development blog posts for the community site on topics to be agreed.
  • Be an active member of the online community - starting conversations and responding to other members' posts.

In return you will get a benefits package with a value of approx. £1275

  • A monthly stipend of £50, which will be paid once a month for the 6-month period. You will need to invoice for this. Value: £300 for the 6-month period
  • One year’s Community Collaborator membership to the Retreat West community. Value: £35
  • Tickets to all events we host, including the Flash Fiction Festival and our Saturday workshop series during the year of membership. If you can’t attend live you can get the recordings for them all. Approx. value of package: £405 (based on us running 3 Zoom workshops a month and 2 Flash Fest a year)
  • Monthly Zoom mentoring chats with Amanda Saint to help you further develop your writing and teaching skills; and learn about running a creative venture if this is also of interest to you. Value: £450
  • The email courses of Experiments in FlashThe Five Elements of Fiction and The Mindful Fiction Course to work through in your own time, at your own pace. Value: £120

You will need:

  • A publication history in fiction - this can be novels, short stories, or flash/micro fictions - and have been published in the past 2 years. You will need to provide links to demonstrate this.
  • To have taught at least 1 creative writing workshop previously and be able to provide either a link to watch a snippet of you teaching, or a recommendation from someone who has taken a workshop with you.

When does it start?

It is a rolling programme starting every 6 months.

  • Next start date: 1st September 2023 - 29th February 2024
  • Application deadline: 23rd July 2023
  • Application processing fee: £10

How to apply

  • Applications are via Submittable only and must be submitted by 23.59 (UK time) on the deadline date.
  • Send a 1-page writer CV and a 1-page covering letter detailing why you'd like to be the Writer-in-Residence and give a brief summary of a workshop you'd deliver and a craft article you'd write. Please include these in one document.
  • Links to publication history in the past 2 years.
  • A link to a video of you teaching, or you can include a recommendation from someone who has taken a workshop with you.

If you have any questions, please message us on and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

Retreat West