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Mfest Short Story Competiton

in collaboration with Hajar Press

MFest Short Story Competition  

We’re excited to launch the MFest Short story competition Prize in collaboration with Hajar Press. The competition is open to unpublished, unagented Muslim writers of colour. 

The overall winner of the MFest Short story competition will receive a publishing contract with Hajar Press. 

  • Our judging panel Nikki Bi, Sameer Rahim and Leila Aboulela will choose 6 shortlisted writers. You can read more about our judges below. 

  • Shortlisted writers will have the opportunity to develop book proposals with the support of Hajar Press and writer development agency, Spread the Word.   

  • Hajar Press will then choose an overall winner to receive a publishing contract. The winner will also receive an Arvon writers retreat. 

  • We’re looking for unpublished, unagented Muslim writers of colour (16+). You can be based anywhere in the world. If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at short story writing or have entered short story competitions before, we would love to hear from you. 

  • We will not be accepting children’s books, poetry or nonfiction at the moment. 

 “We are incredibly excited to be working on a project that nurtures and encourages writers from our communities. In an industry known for its hierarchies and exclusivity, initiatives like this give writers the opportunity and platform to develop their work. We’re really looking forward to reading works that are politically engaging and formally ambitious by Muslim writers of colour.” - Hajar Press. 

How do I enter the competition? 

Submit to stating ‘Name, Surname - MFest Short Story Competition’ in the subject line by 11:59pm BST on July 7th 2021.  (Note: our previous deadline was June 30th, we have extended our deadline by 1 week.)

  • Submissions should be attached as a PDF doc using a 12 pt regular font, with page numbers and, at least 1.5 spaced.   

  • Do not put your name in the PDF or on the file title. 

  • Please include ‘MFEST SHORT STORY COMPETITION, FIRST NAME, SURNAME’ in the subject line of the email.  

  • Only send one submission email. 

Please ensure you read our rules and guidance on format before applying.  Any questions? Please see our FAQs here 

What kind of writing does Hajar Press publish? 

Hajar Press publishes ambitious and politically engaged works by writers of colour. We are interested in writing that embodies how politics are lived and that conveys the relations between structures and personal experiences.  We understand that history can reside in stories passed down through generations and want to provide a platform for writing that appreciates social memory and the spoken word. We are open to experimental writing, including work that bends and bridges different forms and genres. In short, we’re looking for any writing that moves and teaches us to see and think differently. 

Meet The Judges 

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Nikki Bi

Nikki is a Co-Founder as well as Programming + Participation Lead at Civic Square in Birmingham. She has 20+ years reader development experience in public libraries as well as literature events management. Nikki was the inaugural recipient of the national PPC Librarian of the Year Award and the inaugural Reader in Residence at Birmingham Literature Festival. She is also a Trustee at Writing West Midlands, the literature development organisation for the region. 

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Sameer Rahim 

Sameer Rahim is a British literary journalist and novelist, who is Managing Editor at Prospect magazine. He previously worked at the London Review of Books and at The Daily Telegraph, and his reviews of both fiction and non-fiction have featured regularly in other publications. 

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Leila Aboulela  

Leila Aboulela was born in Cairo, grew up in Khartoum and moved in her mid-twenties to Aberdeen. She is the author of five novels, Bird Summons, The Translator, a New York Times 100 Notable Books of the Year, The Kindness of Enemies, Minaret and Lyrics Alley, Fiction Winner of the Scottish Book Awards. Leila was the first winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing and her latest story collection, Elsewhere, Homewon the Saltire Fiction Book of the Year Award. Leila’s work has been translated into fifteen languages and she was long-listed three times for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Her plays The Insider, The Mystic Life and others were broadcast on BBC Radio and her fiction included in publications such as Freeman’s, Granta and Harper’s Magazine.

Guidance & FAQs

Please ensure you read our rules and guidance on format before applying.  Any questions? Please see our FAQs.

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