Visit Stanthorpe – it’s unusual, it’s different!

VISIT STANTHORPE: Swap the city hustle for a country escape and live the good life for a day, or stay for longer in the pretty little town of Stanthorpe and surrounds, just 90 minutes south west of Brisbane. The area is well known for its breathtaking natural landscapes, excellent wine experiences, and fresh local produce (particularly stone fruit and apples) THE STANTHORPE VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRE has a great range of information and assistance to visitors travelling throughout the Stanthorpe and Granite Belt area. You’ll find it at 28 Leslie Parade, Stanthorpe. Give them a ring on (07) 4681 2057 to find out if anything you want to see has been impacted by the drought or water restrictions – but given that everyone has rallied around (including the State Government), the town is operating pretty well as normal. Open all year (except Christmas Day) from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Visit the area’s website on (Photo by L.J. May)


On these pages you will find competitions and other opportunities for authors, performance writers for stage and screen, illustrators and filmmakers. See entries below the quick list for more detailed information.  

In this section we list competitions open to writers of prose and poetry. Detailed information poetry is listed below. Entries are in date order and those with deadlines looming are highlighted in red.  

  • MYSTERY WRITER ALERT! Entries for the CWA’s MARGERY ALLINGHAM SHORT MYSTERY COMPETITION are now open for unpublished mystery stories. Entries must be submitted in English, but the author does not need to be resident in the United Kingdom. Entries close on Saturday, 29 February 2020.
  • CRIME WRITER ALERT! The CWA Daggers are the most coveted awards in crime-writing and entries are now open for the CWA DEBUT DAGGER 2020. Crime writers from across the world are welcome to enter. Could you be the next winner? Only unpublished authors are eligible to enter this competition. Self-published authors are welcome to enter as long as they have never had a traditional publishing contract for a full-length novel. Deadline is Saturday, 29 February 2020.


Who: The Crime Writers Association (CWA) UK.


Entries close: 6.00 p.m. (UK time), Saturday, 29 February 2020.

Contact: Visit the website at Margery Allingham Short Mystery Competition for details on how to submit, and please read the terms and conditions of entry here.

Cost: The entry fee for 2020 is £12 and this should be paid via PayPal. Online entry is a two-stage process. First you must pay the £12 submission fee. Once your payment has gone through you will receive a receipt with a transaction ID from PayPal. You may then return to submit your entry at any point until the submission deadline. You will need to submit your PayPal transaction ID along with your entry so they can confirm that all entries have been paid for.

What’s happening: The Rules. THE MARGERY ALLINGHAM SHORT STORY COMPETITION is now open for submissions of unpublished mystery stories. Margery Allingham was an English Golden Age crime writer best known for her detective stories featuring gentleman sleuth Albert Campion.

The Crime Writers’ Association and the Margery Allingham Society run this competition in partnership to promote mystery writing and the elegant medium of the short story. This competition is not to be missed for lovers of the short story – and, like the Debut Daggers, being shortlisted brings attention and prestige to the writing CV.

This award is for a single, PREVIOUSLY UNPUBLISHED SHORT STORY of up to 3,500 words by an author aged 18 years or over on 1 January of the competition year. The international competition is open to everyone – both published and unpublished authors from all over the world. All that they ask is that the story has not been previously published anywhere, or shortlisted for this competition – so whether you polish off a dusty draft or craft a brand new idea is totally up to you.

The organisers’ mission is to find the best unpublished short mystery – one that fits into legendary crime writer Margery’s definition of what makes a great story:

‘The Mystery remains box-shaped, at once a prison and a refuge. Its four walls are, roughly, a Crime, a Mystery, an Enquiry and a Conclusion with an Element of Satisfaction in it.’

For the 2020 competition, the way a submitted story matches this definition will be awarded greater weighting in the score than any other criteria, so please – bear it in mind. The chronology is important.

How to Write a Winning Story

Go to for past winners and advice. The Crime Writers' Association asked a former winner of the CWA/Margery Allingham Short Story competition for 6 great tips and here they are: 

  1. Read the great short stories (not just crime fiction) and ask yourself what makes them great
  2. Don’t kid yourself that writing a short story is much easier than writing a novel
  3. Think about the effect you want the story to have on the reader
  4. The opening needs to arrest attention
  5. The end must leave the reader with a sense of satisfaction
  6. In between the beginning and the end – don’t waste a word.

The Prize: The winner receives a generous cash prize of £500 plus two weekend passes to CrimeFest 2020 and a selection of Margery Allingham-related books. The winner is announced at CrimeFest in Bristol and shortlisted writers can buy tickets just to the ceremony if they prefer, when the CWA Dagger longlists are also announced. Email


Who: The Crime Writers Association (CWA) UK.


Entries close: 6.00 p.m. (UK time), Saturday, 29 February 2020.

Contact: For information about the Dagger go to See the CWA Debut Dagger Award Terms & Conditions and Submission Guidelines here, and go here to submit your entry. PLEASE NOTE that they do not allow pseudonymous entries: you must enter the CWA Debut Dagger in your own name.

The longlist will be announced at CrimeFest in June 2020 and published on the website. The shortlist will be announced during the summer of 2020 and published on the CWA website.

Cost: Online entry is a two-stage process from the portal accessed on the website. First you must pay the £36 (including VAT) submission fee. Once your payment has gone through you will receive a receipt with a transaction ID from PayPal. You may return to submit your entry (one file only, consisting of the novel opening and the synopsis) at any point until the submission deadline.

You will need to submit your PayPal transaction ID along with your entry so they can confirm that all entries have been paid for. If your name differs significantly from the PayPal account holder’s, please use the space PayPal provide to cite your name and the title of your entry. If you experience any problems with the process, please email us here.

What’s happening:The Rules. The CWA Daggers are the most coveted awards in crime-writing, and The DEBUT DAGGER is now open for writers to enter the 2020 competition!For over two decades the CWA has been encouraging new writing with its Debut Dagger competition for unpublished writers.

The submissions are judged by a panel of top crime editors and agents, and all shortlisted entries are sent to UK agents and publishers who take crime fiction. All shortlisted Debut Dagger entrants receive feedback from the judges about their entries.

The Debut Dagger is open to anyone who has not had a full-length novel published by a traditional publisher and who at the time of the competition closing on the last day of February has not got a contract with a publisher or literary agent. Independently published authors, provided they fulfil the criteria above, are eligible to enter.

The international competition is for the opening of a crime novel not exceeding 3,000 words and a synopsis of up to 1,500 words. You do not need to have completed the novel in order to enter. For encouragement and information, read about previous Debut Dagger successes and check out the very latest Crime Writing Tips.

Winning the Debut Dagger doesn’t guarantee you’ll get published. But it does mean your work will be brought to the attention of leading agents and top editors, who have signed up over two dozen winners and shortlisted Debut Dagger competitors. For their stories, see our Debuts web page – and visit the page for crime writing tips too. Several tips are written by the readers for the Debut Dagger competition so it’s worth getting ahead by taking a look.

Entering the Debut Dagger is more than just entering a competition. You can also join the community via the Facebook Group giving you the opportunity to ask questions, share your experiences and help out your fellow writers. You might also like to sign up to the Debuts mailing list to get regular information about events, authors, crime-writing process and competitions via the CRA Newsletter, as well as the fabulous ezine Case Files, showcasing the latest crime writing releases.

The Prize: Would-be crime novelists dream about winning this one. There’s no denying that even being shortlisted brings your work to the attention of literary agents and publishers. There is exposure in the national media and publishing industry as well as coverage of the extensive CWA digital network.

All shortlisted entrants will receive feedback from the judges about their entries. Do you win money as well as glory? Yes – there’s £500 for the winner. Copyright remains with the entrant.






VISIT STANTHORPE: Stanthorpe’s CHRIS and IAN TOBIN are helping out their neighbours during the drought and after bushfires destroyed five houses in the area. Following on from the world-wide FOOD IS FREE movement, Chris and Ian started up the FOOD IS FREE CORNER at THE SUMMIT, to help people whose lives were severely impacted by the drought and who often could not afford to put food on their table for themselves or their families. The aim was to provide their community with the feeling of comfort and trust that they will always have food available. The Food is Free movement’s motto is ‘Take what you need and leave what you don’t for others’. In addition to the privacy of being able to access food anonymously at the bottom of the Tobin’s garden, people can also find sanitary products, clothing, and a small free library so that both adults and children have something to read and return. Chris and Ian have been heartened by the fact that people have been turning up and donating food and goods for this project, and yes, if you’re heading for Stanthorpe you can help too. In this heat, non-perishable items are what’s needed – tinned vegies and fruit, cereal boxes, rice and pasta to make a meal (the family pets would appreciate some small tins of food as well). Packs of jelly would give people a treat, and coffee and tea are always welcome. At the moment they don’t need any more clothing – they got inundated after the bushfires by people wanting to help (the Stanthorpe Salvos would appreciate any clean, decent clothing though). Phone Chris and Ian on 0416 169 032 if you’re thinking of going up there with a donation, just to check it’s what they need. You’ll find them at 19 Church Road, The Summit (about 8km north of Stanthorpe), and they are on Facebook at The SALVATION ARMY THRIFT STORE in Stanthorpe also will be very happy to receive clothing, crockery, and other things like towels – anything really. You’ll find them at 49 Maryland Street, Stanthorpe – if you’d like to take them something, give them a ring on (07) 4681 4600 to find out when they’re open and what they need. Stanthorpe and surrounds have had a hard time of it for the last couple of years, but it helps to know that people care. (Photo by L.J. May)