Newsletter #5: Ham(net)ilton

Newsletter #5: Ham(net)ilton

Dear readers, 

I spent this weekend watching the filmed Broadway show of Hamilton on Disney+ and wowee. You should really consider doing the same. And when you love it, and realise it’s much more enriching than squashing into the pub with sneezy strangers without a face mask, you should consider signing this petition to save the UK theatre industry. 

I had the privilege of being in the room where it happened at Victoria Palace Theatre before the world turned upside down, and can say with a wary confidence (I’m no expert) that the cinematography will leave you satisfied (these are all Hamilton references so if you haven’t seen it, hopefully it drives you crazy with FOMO all the way to the Disney+ download button. There’s a 7-day free trial. And Frozen II is on there). Just to round off this little theatre praise-party, Lin-Manuel Miranda (the composer and star of Hamilton) did a Desert Island Disc and it’s a delight. Moana, the Disney animation musical he wrote songs for, is another for your “I heart Lin-Manuel Miranda” list. 

Lockdown is easing differently around the world, but after seeing how many people went to Soho last night for a pint, I would really prefer if everyone just stayed home, watched Hamilton, and wrote stories for the following submission deadlines. Deal? I’m so glad we had this chat. 

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell (or, I guess the pun could be for Hamlet, by the ole theatre bard himself William Shakespeare, if you have run out of things to read). The strikethrough feature (ie. Hamletilton) doesn’t work on subject lines, in case you were wondering.

Tip #5: Jill Dawson, author of Fred and Edie, The Language of Birds and more:“Dive in. Don’t wait. There’s no perfect moment. There’s no perfect sentence. You know, it will be rough. It will be bad. You have to just start”To hear the full advice from this wonderful poet and novelist who my Lockdown LitFest team had the pleasure of interviewing last week, watch the clipped advice on Twitter, download the audio version on our website, or enjoy the full interview on Youtube. 

I: Rogue Blades

You can’t exactly skip over a page that describes themselves as a “Heroic Literature Publisher”, can you? This submission is an interesting set-up. They’re looking for stories which are 2,000-9,000 words long, with the theme, “No Ordinary Mortals”. However, they only want you to submit the first 500 words – they’ll get in touch if they want to read the rest. 

Submission fee: Free

Submission deadline: 1 August 

Payment: $30

Submit here

II: Staunch Short Story Prize

I know these aren’t meant to be unpaid, but this one gets to break the rules. Initially, there was a cash prize of £200. However, in light of everything that’s going on, especially for creatives, the prize-runners have decided that instead of a prize for one winner, they would take away the entry fee for everyone. And the winner gets worldwide press exposure. The Staunch Prizes were launched last year for thrillers: however they cannot contain a woman who is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered. The fact that writing a thriller without violence against women is a challenge says a lot. I think what they’re doing is really interesting, and so do many media outlets, so for once I don’t think being “paid in exposure” is a load of hooey. Also, they usually pay – it’s just this time they’ve changed it up a bit. Entries between 500 and 3,500 words. 

Submission fee: Free

Submission deadline: 20 July 

Submit here

III: Channel

Scoop up your nature stories and send them to Channel for their third issue, a magazine born out of the climate crisis. They accept essays, short stories and poetry about human interaction with plant and animal life, landscape and the self. There are no strict word limits, but there are guidelines to comb through on the submissions page. They’re based in Ireland (hence paying in €), but accept submissions from everyone. 

Submission fee: Free

Submission deadline: 31 July 

Payment: €15/poem, €15/page of prose. Maximum of €60 for multiple submissions.

Submit here

IV: Manawaker Studio’s Flash Fiction Podcast

This flash fiction podcast is looking for stories for Season 5 of their podcast series, which is set to go out in November. It’s an ongoing project, so they’re accepting anything at any time, but they have mentioned that they’re running low on either happy/light-hearted stories, as well as sci-fi, so if you have any (or fancy writing any), those would be a good genre to pitch. It doesn’t pay a lot (like, really, who even counts in half-cents?), but it pays. And it’s free to submit. 

Submission fee: Free

Submission deadline: 31 July 

Payment: Half a cent per word (with a minimum payment of $3)

Submit here

V: Willow Springs Magazine

Willow Springs accept fiction and poetry between September and May, which gives you the rest of the month and August to get your stories sparkling for them. No themes often mean that it’s a big pool you’re dropping your story into, but I bet they can swim. 

Submission fee: $3

Submission deadline: 1 September – 31 May yearly

Payment: $100/long-form prose, $40/short prose, $20/poem

Submit here


Take one of the stories you’ve written, and write it from the perspective of another character. It doesn’t have to be someone from the story – it can be a stranger who sees them on the train, or the shop-teller they buy a loaf of bread from. It gets you out of your story, which is really helpful for going back and reading again.

Of course, I want as many writers to read this as possible. We’re all on the same team, and don’t let the competitive nature of the industry make you feel otherwise. So please: share this with all your writer-friends out there. If you are reading this email because it has been forwarded on to you, please subscribe here to receive future Have You Read This newsletters.

Please don’t reach out to me about further details – everything you could possibly need will be available on the links provided. They’re better equipped to answer your questions, anyway! 

Want to unsubscribe? Please do so by responding to this email, and if you have the time, let me know why. I hope it wasn’t something I said. 

Love and best wishes, 


If I was able to help you get published, or inspire your writing, please consider “buying me a coffee“. I don’t drink coffee, but you need a fancy membership on Ko-Fi to change the wording to “a bag of Percy Pigs”. Keep writing, everyone. You got dis.

Read Newsletter #2: 100 Beers Of Solitude