Short Story Competition
ends 23 December

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** deadline December 23, 2020 **

If you love a creepy story, or would like to try your hand at writing one, our competition gives you the chance to continue the narrative of a ghostly mystery story, with the opening lines already provided for you by professional writer Mark Baxter.

Our competition is open to two age categories, under and over-16s; aspiring writers only please – no published authors. Harness your creativity and let your imagination run riot for a maximum of 2000 words, either in a short story or narrative poem format, submitted as an attachment via email. Need a little advice and inspiration? There are some helpful tips here.

Prize for both age categories is £100 in book tokens (£50 for runners-up). If you’d like to enter, get busy – the closing date is midnight on Wednesday 23 December. Scroll down for full terms and conditions and details of how and where to send your entry.

Here’s your opener to copy and paste into your first page, created by writer and film-maker Mark Baxter, who will also be the judge of the competition. Mark has been a feature film and documentary maker since 2008, and has been a published author since 2004, in both fiction and non-fiction. He lives in Camberwell. Find out more about Mark’s work at his website here.

The Face at the Window of Number 16

Standing on a quiet corner, situated within a Victorian square in south London, a one-time four storey family home now stood empty. A couple that had married as the Second World War ended raised five daughters there. Then one by one over the years, family members left, never to return. This once-vibrant, noisy house now stood empty for the first time in seventy-five years.

Only, sightings of a little girl dressed in Victorian clothes standing at a window at the top of the house began being reported to the office of the landlord, old Mr. Capon. Removal men sent in to collect the last of the furniture that had been left behind, and many of its neighbours, swore they had seen her in the last few days.

Mr. Capon knew it must be nonsense. However, he also knew he just had to see for himself…

Tell us the Story Competition Rules

  1. Your entry must be in English and submitted as an attachment via email to
  2. Submit your entry document in either Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx), a Google doc or PDF (.pdf) in a traditional font such as Times or Arial. Please use spacing of at least 1.15
  3. Please give your full name and age on your submission email so that we know if you’re over or under 16. No corrections will be accepted once entries are submitted, but you may withdraw your entry by emailing
  4. All work submitted for consideration must be your own original writing, and not published or accepted for publication elsewhere. We won’t accept entries from published authors – aspiring storytellers only please.
  5. Entries to be a maximum of 2000 words (excluding the title and the opening lines provided by writer and judge Mark Baxter – see above).
  6. Entry is free, and you may enter up to three stories per household.
  7. The closing date for entries is midnight, 23 December 2020. We’ll notify winners and runners-up within approximately 3 weeks of the closing date.
  8. By entering the competition, Fest(ive) Norwood has once-only permission to publish the winning stories on its website.
  9. The results of the competition will be posted on the Fest Norwood website and the What’s On West Norwood and South London Theatre Facebook pages
  10. Entries will be judged anonymously by writer Mark Baxter according to values of enjoyment, originality and characterisation.
  11. The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  12. Your personal information is subject to data protection rules and won’t be used for any form of marketing or communication – other than connection with the competition – nor passed to any third party without your permission.