Coming soon, launching spring 2021 – Come back for updates on this page very soon

Tricorn Book’s creative PACT

Portsmouth Cultural Triathlon
Short story competition with a difference

An exciting oportunity to to become a published author and join the ranks of Tricorn’s new authors – sell your book online, register with the worlds largest online retail outlets and  fulfil that dream, you have always harboured deep inside.

Be unique be original and be creative this is not an academic challenge but an oportunity to show your personality and personal vision of our island home… Portsmouth

We love books and cannot wait to see your contribution and support you through to possibly winning this awesome prize.

The Competition

Features three elements and is the toughest challenge of all:

  1. Short story or Poem/Prose
  2. Illustration (painting, photography digital desing or collage)
  3. Front cover design (final cover design including typography)

The overall winner gets their work published and printed as a book. The winner of each age category will have their book published as an e-book.

Your short story should feature Portsmouth as a location or device. It’s up to you how much the setting features in your story; consider Portsmouth as a point of inspiration. Local research can provide a creative spark and give you plenty of ideas. It should be up to 2,900 words and can be in the form of text, diary, dialogue, txt message – up to you.

A poem needs to be embedded into the story. It should be a minimum of four stanzas, be relevant and contextualised within the story. The format could be Haiku, rap, free verse, ballad, acrostic; again it is up to you.

And finally, we are asking you to produce artwork for the front cover. This might be a painting, illustration, photograph, digital image, typography, collage … you’re the creative in this challenge! Text for the cover should be supplied separately.

There will be three age categories:

Younglings 6+
Adults 16+

The competition is open to any new author from around the world. There is no entry fee for this competition.

The closing date is ……… Winning entries will be announced on ……..… and published on the Tricorn Books website.

Submission Guidelines

 All submissions should be in electronic format as follows; typed or printed material will not be accepted:

1. Short story text up to 2,900 words; poem at least 4 stanzas. Microsoft Word doc only.

  1. Front cover design as 300 dpi jpg. Text should be supplied separately in Microsoft Word doc only.

Files can be submitted using Large files, we transfer, Drop box, Google drive to

Rules of entry
All judging decisions are final.

The winner will be contacted via email. If you do not respond to the email within one week of receipt, your prize will be void and we will select the runner-up.

The overall winner will receive a publishing deal with Tricorn Books that includes: Design, Print ready artwork, ISBN registarion with bibliographic society – 10 printed copies listing with Gardners books, upload to amazon Print on demand and Free Kindle version

Winner of each both categories will have their book published and produced as an ebook

The winner’s name and entry will be published the Tricorn Books website.

All submissions must be the author’s own work.

There will be no cash alternative.

flash fiction taken out also microfiction. … Flash fiction is a style of writing which involves producing very short pieces of fictional literature. This is quite different to the concept of a short story, which is usually several pages long and can notch up thousands of words.

  1. What is flash fiction?

Flash fiction is a medium of brief and enclosed stories. Its average word count ranges anywhere from five to 1,500 words, but the consensus is that the maximum tops out at 2,000.
Also called short shorts, nanotales, micro-stories, postcard fiction, or (a personal favorite) napkin fiction, flash fiction isn’t just a pared-down short story. Its focus isn’t necessarily on plot or characters, though it should still have both. Instead, the emphasis is placed on movement: each sentence must peel back a new layer that wasn’t visible at first. If a line (or even a word) doesn’t progress the story or reveal more about a character, it probably won’t belong in this medium.

2 Prose or Poetry

Samuel Taylor Coleridge defined the two, prose is ‘words in their best order; poetry – the best words in their best order.’ If one requires less attention from a reader to achieve what one has to say, one can safely use prose; if, however, one is keen to transmit an exact and intense experience, one tends to move towards the poetic end of the spectrum.


Dan Bernard

Liz Bourne

Gail Baird


Terms and Conditions


1. This competition is promoted by Tricorn Books, Aspex 42 the Vulcan Building, Gunwharf Quays, PO1 3BF.
2. The first prize for this competition is a publishing contract with Tricorn Books. ‘Winner’ means the winner of the first prize.
3. There will be five shortlisted entrants who will each receive a written critique of their submission from our editor.
4. The first prize will be awarded for the most original and exciting work of fiction of any genre, with Portsmouth as the concept.
6. Entrants are asked to submit a one page synopsis and the first 800 words of their unpublished novel, which needs to be a completed work of at least 3,000 words. If selected for the LONGLIST you will be asked to submit a full manuscript.
7. Entrants should submit the first 800 words of their unpublished novel, double spaced, 12pt, plus a one page synopsis, AS ONE DOCUMENT.
8. This can be work that has previously been written by the entrant but MUST be unpublished.
9. Submissions must be in English and must be double spaced. Submissions should be in Word format and the name of the document should be your own name, followed by HQ Prize. Submissions must be made to
10. Submissions will be judged on the originality of the writing. Judges will not be looking for a perfectly polished piece but for something that shows imagination and writing skill.
11. A longlist of up to ten submissions (the ‘Longlisted Submissions’) will be chosen from entries received in accordance with these Terms and Conditions by members of Tricorn editorial team.
12. Longlisted entrants who are asked to send in a complete manuscript will be judged on the originality and quality of the writing, and the potential based on their synopsis for a full-length book. The editorial team at Tricorn will choose a shortlist of five submissions (the ‘Shortlisted Submissions’).
13. The Shortlisted Submissions will be submitted to the judges Tricorn Director Dan Bernard, Gail Baird and Liz Bourne
14. The Judges will then select the Winner.
15. The winning submission will be the one that best meets the Content Criteria, has the best quality of writing and the most potential to be a full-length book, and is from an entrant who meets the Entrants’ Criteria. The Judges’ decision is final.
16. The Winner will be offered a publishing contract with Tricorn Publishing for publication in ebook and print. HQ may, if it chooses, offer a contract for publishing in print as well as in ebook.
17. Tricorn Books reserves the right not to select a Winner from the Shortlisted Submissions if no suitable entry meeting the Content Criteria can be found.
18. By submitting their work entrants undertake and warrant that their submissions will consist of their own original work and will not infringe the intellectual property rights of anyone. If a third party’s material is used – such as lyrics of a song – the entrant will secure the necessary permission and will provide it to Tricorn Books on request. The entrant further warrants that the work will not contain any material which is defamatory, private or confidential or which is unlawful in any way. Any submission in breach of this clause will be disqualified from being considered for the shortlist or by the Judges.
19. Submissions must be submitted via email to in Word format. Submissions may only be submitted between 12:01am BST on 27th June 2021 and 11.59pm BST on 30th September 2021. Any submissions received outside these specified times and dates, and any submissions that do not meet the requirements of these Terms and Conditions, will not be eligible for entry to the competition.
20. The Winner will be announced on 6th August.
21. The competition is not open to employees of Tricorn Books or their families, or to anyone professionally connected to the competition or to the Judges either themselves or through their families.
22. An entrant may only submit one submission. Further submissions will be disqualified. Submissions will not be accepted via agents, third parties or in bulk.
23. Tricorn Books is not responsible for contacting or responding to entrants who provide unclear or incomplete information or for submissions that are lost, misdirected, delayed or destroyed.
24. Tricorn Books reserves the right to cancel the competition and to alter the details of the prizes or judging panels without notice. No cash alternative or other alternatives to the prizes will be provided.
25. The names and email addresses of entrants (‘Information’) will be collected by Tricorn Books and will be used in accordance with GDPR rules and Tricorn Books’ privacy policy, which can be found at Information will not be shared with anyone outside Tricorn Books without an entrant’s permission.
26. Entry to the competition is free.
1. By entering the competition, each entrant agrees that the entire Entrants’ Criteria have been met and agrees to be bound by these Terms and Conditions. Any entrant failing to meet the Entrants’ Criteria will be disqualified.
2. These Terms and Conditions and any disputes or claims (including non-contractual disputes or claims) arising out of these Terms and Conditions shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of England, whose courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction.


Scroll to top