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.



Deadline: 30th November 2024

Max word count: 2500

Entry fee: £12 submission only / £40 with feedback 


  • 1st: £250
  • 2nd: £150
  • 3rd: £75
  • Shortlisted: £20

Theme: Light

Judge: Nod Ghosh

Nod Ghosh is the author of The Two-Tailed Snake, which publishing with Fairlight Books in September 2023. Nod was born in Birmingham, UK, and currently lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, where she works as a medical laboratory scientist specialising in the diagnosis of cancers. Her short stories and flash fiction have been widely published in journals and anthologies, and her work has been listed for awards including the Bath Novella-in-Flash Award and the New Zealand National Flash Fiction Day competition. She has had four previous novellas published: The Crazed Wind (2018), Filthy Sucre (2020), Toy Train (2021) and Throw a Seven (2023).

Anthology publication: February 2025

See more info on our website:



Deadline: 31st July 2024

Max word count: 1000

Entry fee: £9 submission only / £30 with feedback 


  • 1st: £200
  • 2nd: £100
  • 3rd: £50
  • Shortlisted: £15

Theme: Dream

Judge: Amy Barnes

Amy is the Co-Editor at Gone Lawn, an Associate Editor at Fractured Lit and was a reader at Retreat West for several years. She is also the author of three collections:  Mother Figures (ELJ Editions, 2021)Ambrotypes (Word West LLC, 2022), and Child Craft, (Belle Point Press, 2023). Her writing has been nominated for Best of the Net, the Pushcart Prize, Best Microfiction, longlisted for the Wigleaf Top 50 in 2021 and 2022, and included in The Best Small Fictions 2022. Read our interview with Amy here.

Anthology publication: September 2024

More info and other categories here:

Ends on £6.00

WestWord Past Times Prize

This annual competition is for historical fiction stories. Each year we will reveal which time the stories should be set in.

Deadline: 31st August 2024

Words: Up to 500 (excluding the title)

Entry fee: £6 submission only / £21 with feedback


The winning and shortlisted stories will share 61% of the entry fees (after Submittable fees are deducted) .

  • 1st: 35%
  • 2nd: £30%
  • 3rd: £25%
  • 7 shortlisted stories: 3% each

All winning and shortlisted stories will be published in WestWord in November 2024.

Get more info here:


WestWord 1000 Word Picture Competition

A picture paints a thousand words and this annual edition of WestWord we want stories of 1000 words exactly inspired by the image prompt. 

Deadline: 31st December 2024

Word count: 1000 words exactly (excluding title)

Entry fee: £6 submission only / £23 with feedback 


The winning and shortlisted stories will share 66% of the submission fees (after Submittable fees are deducted) .

1st: 20%

2nd: £15%

3rd: £10%

Shortlisted stories (7 max): 3% each

All winning and shortlisted stories will be published in WestWord in February 2025.

See the picture prompt here:

You can submit as many stories as you like but each submission must be made separately. All stories are read anonymously so please don't include your name in the document you upload or in the submission title.


December 2024 Edition

THEME: Identity

We charge a small submission fee (£5) in order to pay writers and cover our production, design and admin costs. We understand that this will be unaffordable for some people so we have 4 free submissions available in each period. Contact us to get one. No need to provide any explanation or evidence, just ask. They are allocated on a first come, first served basis.

If you would like to sponsor a submission so we can increase the number of free submissions available, then you can do that here.



  • Short Stories: up to 3000 words
  • Flash Fictions: up to 1000 words
  • Micro Fictions: up to 350 words

Author Payment

For each edition, the writers we publish will share 50% of the submission fees received (after Submittable fees are deducted). All stories selected for an edition will receive the same payment no matter the length of the story.

We will also nominate stories for prizes (Best of the Net, Best Small Fictions, Best Microfictions, etc.).

Submission Guidelines

  • All submissions must be sent through Submittable and we cannot accept email submissions. Anything sent via email will not be read.
  • Please submit no more than one story per category in each submission period. If you are submitting to more than one category then each submission must be made separately and the submission fee paid each time.
  • Please use a legible, easy-to-read font of 12pt or 14pt.
  • All submissions must be previously unpublished (never published in print or online, including a personal blog) and in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format ONLY.
  • Simultaneous submissions are fine but please withdraw your submission via Submittable if it is accepted elsewhere.
  • Our submissions are open to all adult writers worldwide. All work must be written in English.

Please do not send us stories with racism, sexism, homophobia, religious hatred or any other kind of bigotry and hate. Any sex must be relevant to the story. Do not send us graphic stories of rape, incest, child abuse, bestiality, or gratuitous violence. We won’t publish it and we do not want to read it.

To find out what kind of stories we like, read our previous editions.

Authors will retain all rights and copyright to their works. WestWord requests one-time, non-exclusive rights to publish your work.

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