Writing Edinburgh competition

edinburgh Writing Edinburgh

From the Old Town, with its dark, winding closes and looming gothic spires, watched over by the castle perched on craggy cliffs, to the New Town with its elegant rows of Georgian houses, public gardens and dramatic vistas out over the Forth, Edinburgh has inspired countless writers.

We invite you to respond to this rich literary history and/or to Edinburgh’s geography and urban development, taking as your starting point either a map or a text. The style and genre of the piece are up to you, but submissions should be prose fiction up to a maximum of 3000 words.

The contest will be judged by a team of literary critics and published authors, led by Edinburgh-based novelist Doug Johnstone. The results will be announced at public reception in March and shortlisted authors will be invited to read at the reception. There will be one winner, who will receive a cash prize of £250. The winning entry will be incorporated into Palimpsest’s literary history of Edinburgh through publication on our website.

Doug Johnstone is the author of six novels, most recently The Dead Beat which was published by Faber & Faber in May 2014.

Doug Johnstone is the author of six novels, most recently The Dead Beat which was published by Faber & Faber in May 2014. Photo credit: Chris Scott.

The competition deadline is midnight on Friday 30th January 2015.

The competition is open to anyone over 16 years of age.

Entry is free but all entries must be accompanied by a completed entry form.

You can download an entry form here: Palimpsest Writing Competition – Entry Form.




Full Terms and Conditions


  • Entries are restricted to one entry per person and all entries must be accompanied by an entry form including contact details. Submissions will be acknowledged within seven days.
  • All work submitted for consideration can be on any subject, and written in any style or form, but must be fiction and the entrant’s own original writing, and should not have appeared in print or appear on a website (including blogs and social networking sites) or have been broadcast, or be submitted for publication or consideration elsewhere,
  • Entries must clearly address the brief, responding to historical or contemporary mappings of Edinburgh and/or to the city’s geography.  A collection of historical maps digitised by the National Library of Scotland is available here.
  • All work must be typed or word processed, clearly legible and written in English. Presentation (e.g. font) is at the entrant’s discretion.
  • The maximum word count for each entry is 3000 words (titles, pager numbers and blank spaces/lines are not to be included in the word count) and entries longer than 3000 words will be automatically disqualified.
  • Entries received after the deadline (given in UK time) will not be considered.
  • Entries will be accepted only by post or online via the competition email.
  • Amendments cannot be made to entries after they have been submitted; stories cannot be amended, corrected or substituted.
  • The organisers reserve the right to disqualify any entry if it has reasonable grounds to believe that the entrant has breached any of these terms and conditions.


  • Judging will be fair and unbiased: judges will declare any potential conflict of interest e.g. family relationship with entrants. All entries will be assigned a number and made anonymous upon receipt. Judges will not have entrants’ names during the reading and judging processes. Names will be reattributed to entries only after the short list and winners have been decided.
  • The judges’ decision is final and no individual correspondence can be entered into.
  • Judges are unable to comment on individual entries
  • Short-listed entrants will be invited to attend a prize-giving event in mid-March 2015. The winners will be announced at this event. Short-listed entrants will be notified by email or telephone before the end of February 2015, and asked to confirm attendance at the event. In cases where short-listed entrants are unable to attend the event, an extract of their entry will be read and they will be asked to submit a short written statement to be read out at the ceremony should they win.


  • Selected pieces may be printed in publications and journals in relation to the Palimpsest project and may appear in electronic format on the project website, or in other electronic forms. For this reason, entrants are deemed to grant to Palimpsest a non-exclusive, worldwide licence over each entry. The copyright in each story submitted remains with the author and authors are free to submit stories for consideration elsewhere after the competition has concluded.

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