How you can become a judge of Lancashire Encounter story competition

Posted on - 11th September, 2018 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, City Centre, Preston City Centre, Preston News, What's On in Preston
The audience voting at the last Short Story Slam Pic: Alf Myers
The audience vote at the last Short Story Slam Pic: Alf Myers

An interactive short story competition is coming to Preston as part of the¬†Lancashire Encounter festival¬†– and it’s the audience who will decide the winner.


The Short Story Slam will see 12 writers read their work out, before the audience hold up coloured cards to vote for their favourite tale.

The slam, which is being held at The Harris, will be part¬†of Lancashire¬†Encounter for the second time. It’s being described as a chance for¬†both writers and audience members to participate in the creative arts.

Hosted by writer Garry Cook, the slam allows the audience to be part of the event while remaining in their seats.

Read more:¬†There’s a ‘Bull Run’ happening in Preston city centre

Cook said: “I’m not a big fan of performance events with audience participation – like a lot of people I get a bit¬†scared and I prefer just to sit back and be entertained.¬†But audiences enjoy the interaction of being part of this event, without any of the pressure of¬†performing – you don’t even have to get up from your seat. The audience absolutely loved the previous slam, not just listening to¬†the stories but being able to vote for their favourite.

“The event does not work without an audience and I’d encourage anyone who wants to¬†experience something amazing and different to come along, take a seat, be entertained and actually¬†be part of the event.”

The slam also aims to bring shy, reclusive writers out from behind the comfort of their laptops and into the unfamiliarity of a competitive live theatre-style space.

A writer performing at the last Short Story Slam Pic: Alf Myers
A writer performs at the last Short Story Slam Pic: Alf Myers

Cook continued: “It’s great to be able to promote writing and local writers by¬†encouraging them to be creative and experience something unique.¬†It’s a very unusual environment for them to be in. A lot of writers don’t show anyone else their¬†work let alone read those words out in front of strangers. It takes a lot of courage for them to do¬†this.

“The last winner, Charlotte Jukes, was a late entrant and very nervous about taking part, but her words lit up the room and she was delighted and stunned to win.

“It’s a hugely rewarding experience – not just because there’s a cash prize for the winner and two¬†runners up – but because writers who have taken part in the past talk about feelings of exhilaration¬†and feeling liberated.”

Read more: Preston parade route confirmed for Lancashire Encounter Festival

The slam takes place on Saturday 22 September from 7pm in the cafe space at The Harris. It’s free to attend. Tea, coffee and alcohol will be served at the event.

Find out more on the Short Story Slam Facebook page and the Lancashire Encounter website.

Will you be taking part in the slam – either as a writer or audience member? Let us know in the comments below.

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