Writers’ workshops, competition results and new books out

We’ve been discovering that there’s a lot of writing talent in our local area of Fenland in Cambridgeshire. On 19th June we ran our ‘Prose to Print’ workshop, which was supported by Market Place; 24 people came along to find out more about traditional publishing, self-publishing and indie presses. In the afternoon we were joined by authors Sue Welfare, Jon Lawrence and Darren O’Sullivan who shared their experiences, answered questions and gave tips. It was a fantastic, if tiring, day. Thank you so much to the wonderful participants for their enthusiasm and to the authors for their inspiring and uplifting talks.

The Writers’ Panel at Prose to Print


If you missed it or you live too far away to attend, fear not! We were delighted that local film maker David Johnson of DMJ-Imagery came along to record the afternoon panel session. The videos are still in post-production, but as soon as they’re ready we’ll let you know and you’ll have the opportunity to watch all three speakers give their talks and see the Q&A session that followed. They’re incredibly interesting to all, and invaluable if you’re a writer; they really are not to be missed.

At the end of the day we announced the results of our inaugural Short Story Competition. Open to writers in our local area, we asked for stories of no more than 1500 words on the theme of birds. It was judged by Sue Welfare and Jon Lawrence and the results were:

In third place, Song of the Blackbird by Rosemary Westwell. The judges said Rosemary’s story was ‘vividly written with a great sense of place and a nice rhythm and pace to it.’

In second place, Seasons Past by D S Benjamin, which the judges thought was a ‘mature, poignant and beautifully written exploration … Beautifully paced and observed.’

And in first place, The Last Moa by Gemma Wells. The judges both picked Gemma’s story as a clear winner, commenting that it was ‘beautifully composed and written…We get a fabulous sense of place and the two voices are rich and distinctive. I love the casual and appropriate use of the Latin and indigenous names – not talking down to us as readers, nor explaining, but giving us context which allows us to understand, while also giving as a vivid glimpse into the world the writer has created. Fabulous!’

Congratulations to all! You can read Gemma’s story in full here

Are you a writer? Would you like the opportunity to work on your creative writing skills with other writers? Building on the success of Prose to Print, we are currently developing a series of workshops on creative writing for novelists. If you are within striking distance of March in Cambridgeshire, and you think this sounds like it could be for you, please email us to express your interest. There’s no commitment.

We’re still busy on the publishing side too. A Home Education Notebook came out on 27th June to a great reception and 5* reviews. Huge congratulations to author Ross Mountney! We’re just putting the finishing touches to Ross’s new book, The Wrong Adventure, which sees Harry from Who’s Not In School? up to more mischief! Once again illustrated by the talented James Robinson, it will be out soon. You can buy all these books from our shop.

Bird’s Nest Books at the St George’s Fayre in March, Cambs. – Sunday 24th April

Pick up a free book as part of World Book Night, enter our Short Story Competition or find out about our writing and publishing workshops at the St George’s Fayre in March, Cambs. on Sunday 24th April. Our stall will be outside the library and Jane Levicki and Claire Upton will be there to tell you all about the titles we’re publishing this year and the exciting events we have planned.

WBN logo in headline

World Book Night Giveaway



As part of World Book Night, we’ll have FREE copies of Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig to give away.


Short Story Competition

Short Story Comp logo

Find out how to enter the inaugural Bird’s Nest Books Short Story Competition. Open to adults (aged 16 and over) living in or near Fenland, this is a competition to write a short story with a maximum of 1500 words on the theme of ‘Birds’.

There are three prizes and the deadline for entries is 20th May 2016.

Come and have a chat to us at the Fayre or read further details here, then go and put fingers to keyboard – we can’t wait to read your stories!

Writing and Publishing Workshops

We’ll also have details of our forthcoming workshops, including:

  • Publishing Your Book (traditionally or self-publishing)
  • Comic and Graphic Novel creation
  • Creative Writing

Or if there’s something else you’d like to do, please do come and tell us!

Books For Sale

We’ll have our own books for sale, plus books by local authors  (cash only please) 

Authors and Illustrators

Lastly, if you’re a writer or an artist and would like to find out about the opportunities for working with us, come along and have a chat, we’d love to meet you!


Are you an illustrator or a book cover artist?

We are happy to announce that we are currently taking submissions from illustrators and book cover artists. We would love you to send us your portfolio or some examples of your work. Whether you are a published artist or someone who just has a passion for sketching, we would like to hear from you.

Submitting your portfolio will not necessarily guarantee you work but it will mean that you will be entered into our database so that we can match artwork with manuscripts awaiting publication. Thus putting you into the runnings to have your work commissioned.

To submit to us or for more information please email us at info@birdsnestbooks.co.uk

We also highly recommend signing up for our newsletter, as you will be the first to know when submissions are open (or closed), events, book releases, workshops and many more exciting things.

Happy Sketching
Claire x

Do you have a novel inside of you?

If you do, please let us know! We’re absolutely flat out working on our current titles so we’re afraid that at the moment we’re closed for submissions, but we’d be happy to hear your plans and let you know if it’s something that would fit our lists.

We’ll be opening again in a few months’ time…

– please sign up for our Newsletter so that we can let you know when.

When we do open we’re going to be looking specifically for fiction titles for adults and for young adults. Maybe you’re a budding crime writer, or you have an idea for a great thriller. Perhaps romance is more your scene, or something totally different…

As a social enterprise…

…we’re particularly looking to publish books Writerthat feature groups and communities traditionally underrepresented in fiction, and to support new or emerging writers, or writers from our local area – Fenland in North Cambridgeshire. It’s fine if your book appeals more to a niche market than the wider public, as long as it’s well written and engaging.

If you’d like to check whether something you’re working on might be of interest to us, you’re welcome to contact us and ask, but please don’t send any samples at the current time.

We’re very excited about the books we’ll be bringing you over the next few months, and really looking forward to opening again for some more wonderful submissions.

In the meantime, we best crack on. These books aren’t going to publish themselves!