Judging Word Factory Political Short Story Award

Word Factory Political Short Story Award

In memory of Uschi Gatward 

Mentor: Jacob Ross
Judges: Sam JordisonAmy SolisCathy Galvin, and Paul McVeigh
Submission window: 1 March – 31 May 23

[Writers are] there to help make sense of things, to keep notes, to bear witness, to offer a commentary and a critique, to add to the conversation, and to contribute to the permanent record.Uschi Gatward

In partnership with Writing our Legacy and Galley Beggar Press we are delighted to announce an important new mentorship to support a short story writer whose work demonstrates quality of writing with a strong political ethos. This apprenticeship has been created in memory of former Word Factory Apprentice Award winner Uschi Gatward, whose debut collection, English Magic, was published by Galley Beggar Press to critical acclaim in September 2021, the same month Uschi also received a diagnosis of cancer. Uschi’s spare writing style embraces an acute social and political awareness shaped by personal experience and observation. In her writing, and in her support of other writers, she is deeply missed.

Submission link coming soon.

Judging Word Factory Apprentice Award



Word Factory is open for applications to the Word Factory Apprentice Award 2021 in partnership with the Northern Writers’ Awards and the Society of Authors. Applicants must be over 18, of any nationality or descent but permanently resident in England, serious about developing their short story writing and passionate about working with the Word Factory team. 

The judges will select two award winners, one of whom must be based in the north. We are delighted that this year our mentors are Toby Litt and Catherine Menon. The award will be judged by co-founders Cathy Galvin and Paul McVeigh, joined this year by writer Leone Ross and New Writing North’s Will Mackie.

This is your opportunity to join the distinguished Word Factory Apprentice Award alumnae. Previous winners of our mentoring award have achieved industry recognition – including publication with independent and mainstream publishers such as Salt and Faber and awards and shortlistings including the Guardian BAME prize, Bath Flash Fiction Prize, Wasafiri and McKitterick Prize.

Apprentice Award winners will:

* Have one-on-one mentorship over a six to nine month period with a leading author + a bursary. 

* Be invited to read with their mentor at a Word Factory event, online or at a venue to be decided.

* Be offered additional support from Word Factory director Cathy Galvin.

* Have free admission to our salons and a selection of masterclasses. Our northern winner will benefit from writer-development activities offered by our partner, New Writing North. 

* Receive free membership to the writer’s union, the Society of Authors.

* Be promoted by us on our website and on social media.

In exchange, we expect dedication to the craft and ethos of the Word Factory. We are looking for writers who will contribute their time in helping us run and promote events, work with us online and offer their skills to the team.

How To Apply:

Please apply if you are working seriously on your writing and would benefit from our scheme at this stage of your career. You may have already had stories published or be at the stage of thinking about sending work out for publication. We will be looking for dedication and understanding of the art and craft of the form and for individuals willing to work within our team. Please Note: the scheme is not suitable for anyone with novels or collections already published or under contract (writers of self-published and non-fiction books may apply).

Writers living in the North of England, should apply via the Northern Writers’ Award and do not need to use this Eventbrite portal. If you live in the north, go direct to http://www.northernwritersawards.com where you will find the entry portal for the Word Factory Northern Apprentice Award. The northern application process deadline is February 18th 2021. 

To clarify what is defined as “the north” for the purposes of this award, please refer to this map: https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/sites/default/files/download-file/Map_area_boundaries.pdf

Everyone else living in England should apply here:

* Use this Eventbrite page to buy your ticket. The £10 fee covers administration and goes towards supporting our not-for-profit work. 

* After you have purchased your ticket, you will receive an email confirmation with an order number. Keep that number safe.

* Prepare your application: we need you to send us two things: a 400 word letter explaining how you will benefit from the award and how you will contribute to our work as a team. You will also need to enclose a sample of your work – a story or extract from a story no longer than 2000 words long. 

* Send your letter and your work to us at wfaward@thewordfactory.tvwith your Eventbrite ticket order number in the subject header and body of the email. Please also tell us where you live and it’s useful to know how you like to identify yourself. We are keen to support marginalised writers.

* Please note: it is a requirement of entry that the Eventbrite ticket order number is included in your application. 

* Applications OPEN: November 26th 2020.

* Applications (other than the north) CLOSE: February 28th 2021

* Winners are announced in June 2021 via the Word Factory and the Northern Writers’ Awards. 

Due to the high numbers of applications expected, we will not be contacting you if your application has been unsuccessful. 

If you can’t afford the £10 fee, write in confidence to us at wfaward@thewordfactory.tv and we may be able to offer you a free application or concession.

Inaugural Word Factory Writer-In-Residence

“It is a huge delight to be working with award-winning novelist and short story writer Paul McVeigh as our inaugural writer-in-residence. At a time of such distance from each other, we wanted to be able of offer you the chance to work either one-to-one or in small groups with one of the most powerful voices in contemporary literature. With just a few places left, don’t miss his workshop on making abandoned ideas work on September 22nd. One-on-one slots are also available over the next few months.”

You can check out all the ways to get involved here.

Me, Kit de Waal, Lucy Caldwell & Eimear McBride

News Flash: Book one of Word Factory’s Summer events (here: https://bit.ly/2Wjzjc9) and email your booking info to cathy@thewordfactory.tv and they’ll give you a place at our FULLY BOOKED Irish Embassy event in June featuring Eimear McBride, Kit de Waal, Lucy Caldwell and Paul McVeigh. More info about the event here: https://bit.ly/2GHtZbv

Hurry – this offer is limited to 20 tickets!


Being Various: New Irish Writing at the Irish Embassy

Readings and conversation with Eimear McBride, Kit de Waal, Lucy Caldwell and Paul McVeigh

A fantastic opportunity to share an evening with some of the finest Irish writers of our time.

What distinguishes nationality? Lucy Caldwell addresses this key question as editor of Being Various, New Irish Short Stories(Faber). Her vivid anthology explores a multi-cultural country at a transitional point in history, depicting lives and a sense of belonging in Ireland and also relevant to us all.

Word Factory is delighted to celebrate the anthology at a wine reception hosted by the Irish Ambassador Adrian O’Neill and Cathy Galvin at the Irish Embassy in London on Thursday 27th June 6pm-9pm.

Please note: though the event is free, it is vital to book your place in advance so that your name can be added to our special guest list.



Interviewing Anne Enright

Anne Enright in Conversation

I’m excited to interview Man Booker Prize Winner Anne Enright for the second time, this time on home turf. The first time was in Waterstones Piccadilly for Word Factory earlier this year. We also sat on some panels together whilst at a literature festival in Morges, Switzerland.


Next February 9th, I’ll be interviewing her at the Seamus Heaney Homeplace, here’s the blurb…

‘Booker Prize-winning novelist Anne Enright is one of the most celebrated writers working in Ireland today. Her work is part of a great tradition of Irish writing that explores themes of family life, relationships, love, repression and memory.

Enright won the 2007 Booker Prize for her novel The Gathering, a story about the pull of family and the lure of home. Her first novel was The Wig My Father Wore and subsequent works have included What Are You Like?, The Forgotten Waltz and her most recent The Green Road. Her awards also include the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Encore Award and the Irish Novel of the Year.

From 2015 to 2018 she was the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction and we are delighted to welcome her to The Helicon where she will talk about her work and career with Paul McVeigh.’

Come along, it should be a wonderful night.

Interviewing Anne Enright in London

Last year I had the honour of sharing the stage with Anne Enright at Le Livre Sur les Quais in Switzerland last year. This St Patrick’s Eve I’ll be interviewing her live on stage in London for Word Factory. More info below…

anne enrighgt


SPECIAL EVENT – An Evening with Anne Enright

On the eve of St Patrick’s Day, meet one of the most celebrated literary figures of our age. Man Booker prize winner Anne Enright is the Laureate for Irish Fiction, an acclaimed novelist, short story writer and essayist. Her books include The Wig My Father Wore, The Gathering and The Portable Virgin. In this one-off London event, reading new work commissioned by Word Factory for the Change Maker series, Anne will explore the boundaries of short fiction in new work and her writing life, in conversation with Word Factory associate director Paul McVeigh. Paul, who lives in Belfast, is author of the acclaimed The Good Son, set in the Northern Ireland of the 1970’s.


Salon limited to 80 places.

Date and Time

Fri 16 March 2018

19:00 – 20:30 GMT

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203-206 Piccadilly



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Interview with Booker Shortlisted George Saunders

George Saunders has been shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize. I was lucky enough to interview George a couple of years ago. It was an amazing experience and a real ‘moment’ in my writing career.

George Saunders

George Saunders (c) Paul McVeigh

Recently I got to sit on a panel with for BBC Radio 3 thanks to New Writing North & Word Factory. We talked about the short story and read some of our work.
George and me BBC 3
George was up for another interview that day which we did thanks to Bloomsbury Books. You can read it over at The Irish Times where George talks about his debut novel, writing, Trump and his wife’s upcoming novel. I hope you enjoy it.