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Writing contest aims to give a voice to all

People of all ages and abilities are invited to express themselves in a new writing competition organised by English-speakers in France

Literary enthusiasts from the Dordogne are launching an English-language writing competition for people of all ages who want to have their say in the aftermath of the difficult months of Brexit and Covid.

Entries are now open for the Pen Nib International Writing Competition 2021, organised by a new association, Les Projets Bookstop.

There is a poetry section, a short piece section called Amuse Bouche and an essay section called A matter of concern.

Brenda Henderson - photo supplied by subject

Association president Brenda Henderson, 76, is a poet and screenwriter and also known for her Helping Hand coffee mornings for advice on Brexit issues such as residency cards.

She said she and like-minded friends wanted to give people something to look forward to.

“We decided on a writing competition, with everything, including the prize-giving to be online,” she said. “We want people to enjoy themselves and feel able to express themselves, especially if they have not always felt heard. We want them to know someone will read what they have to say, whether, personal, political or professional.

“It’s about looking ahead, acknowledging we’ve been through a lot and putting that experience to good use.”

Howard McCann - photo supplied by subject

Also involved, along with an experienced international panel of advisers and judges including The Connexion’s Liv Rowland who will judge the essays, is association treasurer Howard McCann, 52, of Bookstop bookshop and teashop in Brantôme.

He said: “I’ve known Brenda for years from author get-togethers in my shop. She felt naming the association after it would give it a physical presence. I hope this opens a window of opportunity for people, no matter what age and whatever style of writing they choose.”

To find out more email, visit or the competition's Facebook page.

Entries should be submitted by Novem­ber 15 and submissions for the essay section should be 1,500-2,500 words.

There will be a €6 per person/per entry fee, with an option to pay extra to have an assessment of your work.

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