Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Bloody Parchment 2014 is officially open

While the anthology of last year's winners is still in production, I hereby am pleased to announce that the 2014 short story competition is officially open. Do check out our existing volumes. Volume 1 (available as a free read at Goodreads), 2 (Hidden Things, Lost Things and Other Stories) and 3 (The Root Cellar and Other Stories).

The aim of the Bloody Parchment short story competition is to help develop talented, fresh voices in the horror, dark fantasy and weird genres, by offering a platform and signal boost for finalists. Every year we assemble a kick-ass panel of judges who are all movers and shakers in the publishing industry, with such notables as Sarah Lotz, Joe Vaz, Cat Hellisen and others who have helped in the selection process during the past. While we’re yet to announce which publisher will be picking up where eKhaya left off, there is a fantastic first prize up for grabs for the winner: a comprehensive round of edits and manuscript assessment. The two runners-up are each awarded a round of comprehensive edits and assessment of a short story or novella-length work. The winner, runners-up and finalists then have the option to be included in the short story anthology to be released mid-2015.

What are we looking for? 
Bloody Parchment is looking for short stories of up to 3 500 words in length, in the horror, dark fantasy and weird genres. Yes, this includes flash fiction. Yes, you may enter multiple stories. Yes, we like flash fiction too. LGBT authors of genre fiction are welcome. Stories set in locations other than the US or Europe would tickle us pink. We love diversity. We want to know what moves you, what mysteries fascinate you, what frightens you… So long as your story clearly falls within the horror, dark fantasy and weird genres, you’re good. We want to be unsettled

What we DO NOT WANT.
Fan fiction with the serial numbers filed off: When the Saw movies were popular, my inbox was flooded with torture porn; during 2012 it was various permutations of popular zombiepocalypses. 2013 for some reason saw gratuitous violence against women used as a cheap literary device. Mercifully vampires seem to have gone into remission. Please folks, I know you’re excited by whatever’s currently trending on your Twitter feeds, but if you absolutely MUST play with the tropes, DO put a fresh spin on your offering that will be amazeballs. We want you to dig deep and find something that is truly your own. Content that is clearly aimed to deliberately shock for the sake of wiggling your jollies will be rejected out of hand.

In addition, stories that do not follow the brief will be rejected too, so no, we do not want your Christian inspirational fiction, 30 000-word novellas, chick lit or poems. (Every time an author doesn’t follow the submission guidelines, a small gremlin curls up and dies.)

Right, now that we have that out of the way, this is how you enter: mail your short story saved as a .doc file (not exceeding 3 500 words) to nerinedorman@gmail.com before October 31, 2014. Remember to put “BLOODY PARCHMENT 2014” in the subject line. In the body of your email, please give me your real name, pen name, nationality and word count. Good luck! And if you have any questions, feel free to drop me a mail. I don’t bite…much.


  1. What a challenging contest! I’m pretty sure writers specializing on that genre tried their best to comply with the standards and produce a winning piece. I wonder what happened to the contest, Nerine. Can I read the winning piece? I hope you’ll be able to share some of the entries submitted to you. Thanks for sharing! More power to you! :)

    Michelle Scott @ Skild