Writing competition showcases the best of City Short Courses talent


City, University of London is delighted to announce the six winners of the City Writes competition, its termly writing event which showcases the best of City Short Courses writing talent.  The winners will be celebrated at an online event on Thursday 1st April at 7 pm, held via Zoom.

Now in its third year, City Writes is hosted by longstanding short courses tutor, Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone.  It provides an opportunity for the best new writers from the City Short Courses community to read a 1000 word extract of their work, sharing the stage with one of our published alumni or tutors who will read from their new or award-winning publications.

This term, the winners will read their work alongside Visiting Lecturer Kiare Ladner whose debut novel, Nightshift, (Picador 2021), a tale of obsession amid London's night shift workers, came out this February.  Kiare will also take part in a short question and answer session with Rebekah.

Rebekah said the competition will once again introduce an exciting group of accomplished writers - all of whom have previously taken a writing short course at City - to a new audience.

“We had a fantastic selection of entries to choose from again this term and it was a pleasure to read the entries – thank you to everyone who took the time to enter.

“The competition winners should be particularly proud and at our event on 1st April we'll be following stalkers, witnessing the seismic shifts of history, rebuilding humans with computers, struggling to find the right words for garden parties and contemplating our mothers, all alongside our guest reader, the fabulous Kiare Ladner.”

Meet the winners of the Spring 2021 City Writes competition:

Sini Downing (Short Story Writing alumna) is a creative storyteller who loves to put pen to paper. In her day job, she champions great writing and truthful character performances in video games. Based in London, she needs a world map to keep track of her friends and family. Having attended various City writing courses, Sini is currently editing her first novel, Where You Left Me, and seeking representation. She’ll be reading 'The Opposite of Grace'.

Novel Studio alumna, Lara Haworth is a writer, visual artist and filmmaker. Her visual work has been exhibited internationally at places including Yokohama, Japan, Toronto, Canada and Chemnitz, Germany. Her writing has been published in magazines such as Visual Verse, Biography, LAKE, ACMEand Nōd. Her new film, All the People I Hurt with My Wedding was released on February 12, by Don’t Google It. Her debut novel, The Straits, is represented by Jo Bell at Bell Lomax Moreton.

Stephen Jones’ (Writing for the Theatre alumnus, course no longer running) career has involved various twists and turns between teaching and journalism. Until recently he worked as a columnist for the Times Educational Supplement and he currently teaches literature in a London further education college. He has been writing fiction for twenty years, but - despite attracting interest at times from publishers and agents - publication has so far eluded him. The writing bug though just won’t go away! He will be reading an extract from the longer work, 'Pearl'.

An alumna of the Memoir Writing courseAvril Joy’s short fiction has appeared in literary magazines and anthologies, including Victoria Hislop's, The Story: Love, Loss & the Lives of Women. Her work has been shortlisted in competitions including, the Bridport, the Manchester Prize for Fiction and Raymond Carver Short Story Prize in the USA. In 2012 she won the inaugural Costa Short Story Award. Her latest novel, Sometimes a River Song, won the 2017 People’s Book Prize.

Originally from Cardiff, K. Lockwood Jefford (Novel Writing Summer School alumna) is based on the Kent coast. She worked in NHS mental health services, took several City short courses and has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck. Her short story, 'Picasso’s Face', won the 2020 Royal Society of Literature’s VS Pritchett Prize. Her work appears in several publications including Prospect Magazine online and Brick Lane Bookshop’s 2020 Prize Anthology. She is working on a collection of short fiction and will be reading 'Driver'.

Vasundhara Singh lives in Bhopal, India and is a graduate of Journalism from Delhi University. Enrolled on City's Novel Studio, she aims to write a novel about people she has known, loved and sometimes, hated. She is a photography nerd and an occasional poet. She will be reading 'Feel, feeling'.

Meet Kiare Ladner

As a child, Kiare Ladner wanted to live on a farm, run an orphanage and be on stage. As an adult, she found herself working for academics, with prisoners and on nightshifts. Her short stories have been published in South Africa, where she grew up, and the UK, where she lives now. Nightshift is a debut whose depth of theme matches its searing plot.  Kiare is an alumna of City’s Novel Studio and you can read an interview with her here.

Join us

This term’s City Writes event will be held online via Zoom on Thursday 1st April at 7 pm.  All are welcome so please sign up here if you would like to join us.

Find out more about City Short Courses here.