Green Alphabet Writing Prize

Flipside, the East Anglian literary and arts festival, is launching a writing competition for writers of all ages in a search for inspirational writing about the environment.

Here’s what you do. Choose any letter of the alphabet and use it in any way you like in a piece of writing on a green theme. Your submission can be a poem or a piece of prose, and could include some visual art. Whatever it is, it should refer to the environment and how to care for it.

First prize: £500 adults (16+); £200 for under 16s.

All entries will be considered for inclusion in an anthology. Poems should be no more than 40 lines, prose no more than 500 words.


Jackie Kay MBE is the Scots Makar,(poet Laureate) award winning poet and Chancellor of the University of Salford

Jon Canter is a novelist and playwright, his work is often to be heard on Radio 4.

Blake Morrison is a poet and Professor of Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths College London and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature

Submit your entries online via or by post to Flipside Green Alphabet Writing Prize c/oEllen McAteer, Beccles Library, Blyburgate, Beccles NR34 9TB

The deadline for entries is 31st July 2017. Entry fee £3 per piece (under 16s free).

Your submission should be separate from your name, address, email and telephone number. Cheques should be payable to Melton and Rutland Friends of the Earth or pay by BACS to the Melton and Rutland FoE account no 50570098 sort code 08 90 77 using your surname and GAWP as the reference.

Writing Tips

Be exciting and original, play around with the theme, think about what the environment means to you.

Remember that non-fiction doesn’t have to be a serious piece of informative writing; it can include all manner of things – memoir, reportage, polemic, satire or biography.

You’ve got a limit of 500 words, but you don’t have to use all of them!

The great late novelist John Fowles advised, "At heart write always for yourself, not for family and friends, for admired teachers, for reviewers or publishers; but make sure you write from your real self, not that one besotted by vainglorious dreams of a future self. One day you will realize that the true rewards of writing lie inalienably in the writing itself."

Novelist Jon Canter, one of the judges, describes what he is looking for:

I’ve been a professional writer for more than forty years. That certainly hasn’t helped the environment. I can’t tell you (though you can tell me) how much paper I’ve wasted. For decades, I wrote in that pre-digital time when writers - in their environment-unfriendly way - not only failed to type on both sides of the paper but shamelessly wasted sheets with ten words on them, by crumpling them up and throwing them in the (non-recycling) bin. Every film about a writer contained that wretched image, which was always followed by a shot of the writer at their desk, clutching their head in frustration, then bringing a glass of whisky to their lips, followed by a cigarette. Why oh why, just to get away from cliché, could they not clutch someone else’s head?

No waste please. And no clichés.  As a judge of the Green Alphabet Writing Prize, those are my requests. Don’t waste words, don’t waste time and don’t waste your energy telling us how much you care.  We know you care. You wouldn’t have entered GAWP if you didn’t. It’s what you do with your care that matters. Turn your care outwards, applying your technique and talent and passion to producing something that engages your readers in an original way, because there’s no doubt which letters of the alphabet will be on the mind of the judges: F for fresh, and D for daisy. Good luck.

Terms and Conditions:

All entries are judged anonymously: do not include your name on the entry, only on the covering letter/email.

Entrants may submit one entry only.

Entrants may withdraw entries from the competition by notification in writing.

The deadline date for entries is 12 midnight (UK time) on 31st July 2017 (postal entries postmarked 31st July but received later will be accepted).

Entries must be no longer than 500 words for prose and 40 lines for poetry but can be less.

Entries of fiction or non-fiction prose or poetry will be accepted.

FlipSide cannot guarantee publication as a result of this competition.


The competition is open to writers of any nationality writing in English.

Entrants in the under 16s category must not have reached their 16th birthday at the time of entry. Entrants in the Adult category must be 16 or over at the time of entry.

Entries must be entirely the work of the entrant and by submitting you are confirming that the work is your own.

Entries must never have been published, self-published, published on any website, blog or online forum, broadcast nor winning or placed (as in 2nd, 3rd runner up etc) in any other competition.

You must inform the FlipSide Festival immediately should your entry be published or win a prize elsewhere.


Entry fee £3 per piece (under 16s free).

Entry Format

Entries must be in English.

Entries must show no name, address or identifying marks other than the title.

The filename of online entries must be the title of the entry.

Entries are not returned; please keep a copy.

Amendments cannot be made to entries after they have been submitted, nor substitutions made. No correspondence or discussion about the results will be entered into.

Please ensure that you use the correct postage. If insufficient postage is used, GAWP! will not pay the additional postage required and the entry will be returned by the Post Office.


Worldwide copyright of each entry remains with the author, but the FlipSide Festival will have the unrestricted right to publish the winning entries, (including second place) and credit the author in any relevant promotional material.


The judges' decision is final and no individual correspondence can be entered into.

Judges are unable to comment on individual entries.


Under 16s: First Prize £200, Second Prize Waterstones Voucher

16+: First Prize £500, Second Prize Waterstones Voucher

The prize money will be presented to the winners by Jackie Kay during her event at the  FlipSide Festival at Snape Maltings on 7th October 2017.  All shortlisted entries will be notified two weeks before the presentation with full details of the ceremony.

The shortlist will be announced publically on 1st October at The Cut, Halesworth. Those who have been shortlisted will be invited to read their work. Coffee and cake will be available.....entry by donation to FlipSide


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How to enter

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Writing Competition