May writing challenge

 In Writing Challenge

This month’s challenge carries an exceptional prize: three books by members of our Allaboutwriting family, generously contributed by Pan Macmillan, Jacana, and Cactus Rain in the US.

The winner will receive Darwin’s Hunch by Christa Kuljan, The God who Made Mistakes, by Ekow Duker, and Under the African Sun by Gail Gilbride. All have attended our Creative Writing Course. Ekow’s book has recently been long-listed for the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize, and Christa’s for the Alan Paton Award for non-fiction. We’ll also include a copy of our anthology The Eleventh Month which includes stories written during our Short Story Weekend.


To qualify for this prize, we invite you to write a scene (as usual, no more than 250 words) about getting lost. You can view it literally or metaphorically, but treat us to a very short story in which someone… loses themselves.

Here are our Writing Tips for the month, which will hopefully help you lose yourself in your tale of getting lost:

  • Consider what your character wants. In every story, a character wants something badly.
  • Something stands in the way of their getting it. In this story, getting lost might prevent them from getting what they want or need. They might also not want or need very much – until they get lost. Then they want very much to be found. On the other hand, what they desperately want could actually be to lose themselves (perhaps metaphorically) in something or someone. But something stops them, or prevents them experiencing it in the way they long to.
  • That’s what creates your story’s arc. Your character starts somewhere, wants something badly, struggles to achieve what they want and and ends up somewhere else – perhaps literally, but certainly within themselves.
  • They might have reached their goal, or they might not, but they will almost certainly have realised something: about themselves and perhaps the world, which could be good or bad. This doesn’t have to be spelt out. It can be implicit.

I hope that helps you write the winning entry. Please paste your entry (of no more than 250 words) into the body of an email and send it to by midnight on 31 May.

We look forward to your stories.


P.S Please let us know if you’d like a copy of  The Eleventh Month, the collection of the stories produced during our McGregor Short Story Weekend in November, as well as four by our competition winners.

The book costs R120 plus postage and profits will be donated to Short Story Day Africa.

Saved by Christelle Connor
I Did What I Could by Darryl Boswell
Porsche Spyder by Gabi Thulkanam
He’s Not Your Father by Gail Gilbride
The Shed by Ian Cameron-Clarke
Happily Evan After by Ingrid van den Berg
Seasons of the Heart by Jane D’Abbs
The Wedding Troll by Jane Vink
A Thousand Tears by Kenosi Rakosa
Mortal Sin by Liz Dewing
Making Her Mark by Margaret Place
Girl in the Shed by Margot Wood
Discovery R by Merle Grace
The Dying Woman by Susan Newham-Blake
Death of a Leopard by Susan Hickey
Agenda by Thandi de Kock
Walking Accidents and How to Avoid Them by Yvette Wilsenach

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