From LGBTQ+ With Love

The Writers’ HQ Fight Back Flash Fiction Competition


Dearest compatriots, collaborators, friends, foes, gentlepeople, unicorns (both sparkly and plain), folkingtons, allies and everyone in between and either side and up and down and diagonal and round and round the whole glorious spectrum of humanity.

Welcome to our flash fiction competition.

In typical Writers’ HQ style, we’re launching this with absolutely no prep or planning but here’s a bullet point list direct from our collective brain that will explain some things. GOOD LUCK TRANSLATING OUR BRAIN DRIBBLE:

  • We won’t amplify it with links but we all know about that rather unpleasant exclusionary flash fiction comp. Not just exclusionary, but implying members of the LGBTQ+ community are somehow comparable to scenes of graphic violence or torture. I mean, just what the actual? (It also excludes swearing, lol, fuck that.)
  • You cannot fight hate with hate. The answer is love. Only love and always love. Whatever damn kind of love you’re into. Because love knows no bounds, people.
  • And so. We’re running a flash fiction competition on the theme: From LGBTQ+ With Love, with all proceeds going to MindOut, a mental health service for LGBTQ+ people.
  • Specifically, we want your LGBTQ+ stories, your stories of love, grace and compassion (and most importantly your creative swearing).
  • Word limit is 500 words. Think flash. Think pash. Think Hulk smash.
  • Deadline is the end of November. All rules down below.


£100 plus 12 months Writers’ HQ membership, 3 free retreats* (cash value £450), a massive gold star and a pat on the head

£50 plus 6 months Writers’ HQ membership and 3 free retreats* (cash value £270), a medium gold star and a pat on the back

£25 plus 3 months Writers’ HQ membership and 3 free retreats* (cash value £180), a small gold star and a kick up the bum


[*Note: we currently only run writing retreats in the UK, but if you’re not a UKer we’d be happy to switch up the retreat aspect of the prize for a critique instead]


Paul McVeigh

Super cool judgey person
Paul’s debut novel The Good Son won The Polari First Novel Prize and The McCrea Literary Award. It was shortlisted for The Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award, the Prix du Roman Cezam in France and a finalist for The People’s Book Prize. Paul’s work has been performed on radio, stage and television, and been published in seven languages. Paul co-founded the London Short Story Festival, is an associate director at Word Factory and an ambassador for the BBC National Short Story Award. He has judged the Edge Hill Short Story Prize and the £30,000 International Dylan Thomas Prize.

Kirsty Logan

Super cool judgey person
Kirsty Logan is the author of the novels The Gloaming and The Gracekeepers, short story collections A Portable Shelter and The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales, flash fiction chapbook The Psychology of Animals Swallowed Alive, and short memoir The Old Asylum in the Woods at the Edge of the Town Where I Grew Up. Her books have won the Lambda Literary Award, Polari Prize, Saboteur Award, Scott Prize and Gavin Wallace Fellowship. Her work has been translated into Japanese and Spanish, recorded for radio and podcasts, exhibited in galleries and distributed from a vintage Wurlitzer cigarette machine. She lives in Glasgow with her wife.


  • 500 words max (not including title)
  • Deadline 30 November 2018 (midnight GMT)
  • This contest has a couple of parameters. We are ONLY interested in the following:
    • Stories with swearing and/or profanity (blasphemy optional)
    • Stories on an LGBTQ+ theme
    • Stories about love, acceptance, charity and grace
  • Entry is FREE (because yay inclusivity), but you are very welcome and actively encouraged to make an optional donation to LGBTQ+ mental health charity MindOut if you can
  • Judging is blind so please don’t put any identifying details (name, email etc) on your story document
  • Submit your entry using the form below as a doc, docx or pdf attachment. Any questions or general chat please email to [email protected]
  • Ten shortlisted stories will be selected by our readers and passed to the judges to choose the three winning entries
  • The judges’ decision is final but we’re totally here for the flailing because IT’S SO UNFAIR if you don’t win
  • The author retains all rights at all times
  • 1st prize: £100 + 12 months Writers’ HQ membership and 3 free retreats
  • 2nd prize: £50 + 6 months Writers’ HQ membership and 3 free retreats
  • 3rd prize: £25 + 3 months Writers’ HQ membership and 3 free retreats
  • Honourable mention: £25
  • Due to an AMAZING anonymous benefactor we have now been able to add cash prizes! LOVE = LOVE YOU GUYS!
  • All shortlisted and winning stories will be published on our website (and possibly one day in a paper anthology…)
  • If you’re not in a retreat region you can donate your retreats to a local writer who otherwise can’t afford to attend (we’ll figure out the logistics of that at a later date…) OR we can offer you a critique of up to 3,000 words
  • According to the laws of the internet, someone, somewhere, is going to find this whole competition offensive. If you feel the need to contact us about it, we suggest you use your time more wisely by go fucking yourself.


Hello. We’re not being dicks about this but if we have 300 entries and they’re all called ‘whq-comp.pdf’ we’re a bit stuffed. Follow these simple instructions and you’ll be fine:

  1. Do not include your name ANYWHERE on your story.
  2. Please ensure a header or footer with the story title and a page number on every page.
  3. Your file name should be this: YOUR-STORY-TITLE-LGBTQ-WHQ-COMP.pdf (or .doc, or .docx). This is very simple to do. Please do not ignore this instruction. We will not read your story if the filename is anything else.
  4. Double check your name isn’t anywhere in your document.
  5. Send us your motherflapping story.