BlackInk New Writing Competition 2021

BlackInk New Writing Competition 2021

Serendipity and Writing East Midlands are looking for creative writers from the African and African Caribbean Diaspora to submit short stories for the 2021 edition of BlackInk’s New Writing Competition.

For the 2021 edition we are delighted to announce that the judges will include Bolu Babalola, Pawlet Brookes (Serendipity), Henderson Mullin (Writing East Midlands) and Jacob Ross.

The initiative seeks to showcase new short fiction, applicants are invited to submit stories of up to 2,000 words for consideration.  Two winning short stories will be published in BlackInk magazine for Black History Month in October 2021 and each writer will receive £500 in prize money.

In addition, both writers will be given free entry to The Writers’ Conference, which is organised annually by Writing East Midlands to give new writers access to leading publishing industry professionals.


To apply for this competition applicants should:

  •  Complete the application form including a short biography.
  • Submit a finished short story, a maximum of 2,000 words. The story should be fiction, written as prose, previously unpublished and the applicant’s own original idea.
  • Deadline for applications: Monday 24 May 2021, 5pm (BST)

Submit your story here:

For further information and for full terms and conditions visit



Bolu Babalola

Bolu Babalola is the British-Nigerian Sunday Times bestselling author of Love in Colour (shortlisted for Waterstones Book of The Year)  and the upcoming Honey + Spice, out in July 2021.  As well as writing books, she is also a prolific culture journalist and a screenwriter, with pieces in esteemed publications such as Paper Magazine, Vulture and GQ, with several upcoming television projects on the go.  She considers herself a storyteller that focuses on narratives that centre dynamic women who lean into their power – who are both strong and soft – and the kinds of love that elevates them.

Jacob Ross

Jacob Ross is an award-winning author, his crime novel The Bone Readers won the inaugural Jhalak Prize in 2017 and his collected short fiction Tell No-One About was listed by the 2017 Bocas Literary Prize among the best Caribbean fictional works. His most recent crime novel Black Rain Falling was published in spring 2020.

Writing East Midlands

Writing East Midlands is the literature development agency for the region. We support writers at various stages in their careers, connecting them with opportunity, and helping them to help themselves.

We do this by running workshops and writing courses, arranging mentoring relationships and manuscript appraisals, offering one-to-one career development sessions, organising conferences and helping with festivals and events around the region.


Serendipity is an internationally connected arts and heritage organisation that actively changes the UK artistic and cultural landscape with an innovative and inspiring high-quality programme. Serendipity fosters innovative new work from artists, both emerging and established, bringing diversity to the forefront of cultural experiences for all.


Eligibility and Guidelines

  1. Two awards of £500 are available, winning stories will be published as part of BlackInk magazine in October 2021.
  2. As the award aims to redress the underrepresentation of Black writers, applicants must be from the African and African Caribbean Diaspora.
  3. Applicants must be over 18 years old.
  4. The competition is open to applicants internationally.
  5. The selection panel alongside representatives from Serendipity and Writing East Midlands will be responsible for choosing the winners. The organisers reserve the right to select different winners if those initially chosen do not confirm their participation within 10 days of notification.
  6. Only one submission per applicant is allowed.
  7. Entries received after the deadline will not be accepted.
  8. Submissions should be final drafts, in prose and written in English as the main language (the use of dialects and other languages as a narrative device or in speech is allowed).
  9. All short stories must be the entrants own original work, be 2,000 words or less and the story should be previously unpublished (this includes self-published).
  10. For the purposes of this competition, the definition of short story is a work of self-contained prose fiction. Entries of poetry, scripts, non-fiction and essays are not eligible for this competition.
  11. Writers will retain all copyright in your submission. Serendipity will retain publishing rights for the winners.
  12. By entering this competition, you are agreeing that, if you win, your name and entry may be a) used for the purpose of announcing the winner and/or distributed to individuals who request details of the winner and/or b) in any related publicity by Serendipity and its partners, without additional payment or permission.
  13. All data collected will be processed in accordance with privacy policies, available to view at By submitting your short story, you agree that Serendipity may share your submission with their affiliates for the purpose of reviewing it.
  14. Serendipity will not be responsible unless required by law, for any loss, changes, costs or expenses, which may arise in connection with this competition and Serendipity can cancel or alter the competition at any stage.
  15. Any dispute relating to the competition shall be governed by the laws of England and Wales and will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.


  • April 2021 – Applications Open
  • 24 May 2021 – Deadline for Applications
  • July 2021 – Winning Writers Confirmed
  • August 2021 – Winning Writers Announced