Small Wonder Short Story Festival Writer in Residence

| by Daisy Leitch

British Council International Writer in Residence at Small Wonder Festival, September 25 – 1 October 2018

We are offering the opportunity for a non-UK based writer to spend up to one week in Residence at the Small Wonder Short Story Festival at Charleston in East Sussex, UK. The Small Wonder Festival will run over the long weekend of Friday 28 to Sunday 30 September, and will feature stories, poetry, essays and monologues from a diverse range of high quality authors.



The role would suit a non-UK based writer at any stage of their career who is interested in responding creatively to Small Wonder festival and the Charleston environment, and being immersed in the short story form. It is not suitable for writers who are solely seeking space and time to write; rather it is a professional development opportunity which we hope will boost your creativity and connections with the UK sector. We see the opportunities for the writer in residence at the festival to be:

  • to gain insights into the short form from leading UK and international practitioners
  • to make connections and network with participating writers
  • to connect with emerging writers from Sussex
  • to network with professionals from the wider UK publishing / arts world who attend the festival
  • the chance to contribute to festival blogs and to have a creative response to the festival published on the Small Wonder and British Council websites

The Resident at Small Wonder will benefit from a tailored programme according to their interests and needs, including:

  • opportunities for working with UK writers and literary professionals
  • the option to attend creative workshops during the festival
  • the potential for some mentoring following the residency

The Resident need not be writing creatively in English, although a good understanding of English and ability to communicate in the language is essential.

The Resident is required to produce a story or essay arising from the experience which is a response to the setting or the sense of place of Charleston, or which springs from the writer’s experience there.

Rights will remain with the writer, but the work will be available for Charleston or British Council to use in its promotional literature, websites and social media platforms. 

Click here to read about past international writers in residence at Small Wonder


About Small Wonder Short Story Festival

This will be the 15th year of Small Wonder, the foremost dedicated short story festival in the UK. Small Wonder attracts a dedicated and vibrant audience to this annual celebration of the short form.  Writers featured at the festival over previous years include Mark Haddon, Lionel Shriver, Ali Smith, Kei Miller and Elif Shafak to name but a few. Small Wonder events take place in the newly renovated Barns, seating around 200, with an independent book shop on site. We programme a variety of types of sessions, most of which include more than one author.

Small Wonder takes place at Charleston in East Sussex, the former home of the Bloomsbury artists Vanessa Bell (sister of Virginia Woolf) and Duncan Grant. Charleston is a very atmospheric, culturally resonant and rural setting in the heart of the South Downs National Park. In Autumn 2018 Charleston will unveil its new gallery and exhibition spaces. This marks the opening of a major new cultural hub for visual and literary arts in the South East, with Small Wonder Festival at the centre of its launch season.


Residency Details

What’s included in the residency:

  • Entrance to the entire Small Wonder programme, plus fringe events and workshops
  • A personalised programme of local visits and meetings tailored to the resident’s interests; this will include networking with local emerging writers and literature practitioners
  • High quality Bed & Breakfast accommodation close to Charleston for 6 nights
  • All UK transfers, sustenance, per diems and hospitality
  • A £250 stipend

What’s not included:

We regret that we are not able to fund international travel to the UK, however we can advise on potential sources of funding support for this purpose if necessary.


Selection Process

Previous unsuccessful applicants are welcome to apply. Selection will be carried out by representatives from the British Council and Small Wonder, and will include interview by telephone or Skype. We will also require evidence of published writing.

Key dates:

Deadline for applications: 21 May

Skype interviews for shortlisted candidates: 7 and 8 June

Successful candidate must confirm, and submit photo and bio for promotional material by 15 June. 


How to apply

Applications should be sent in English to Rachel Stevens, ( Senior Literature Programme Manager British Council London by Monday 21 May, 2018

Applications should include:

  • A biography (up to 400 words)
  • Links to two pieces of published work (if available in English)
  • A letter of application which should address the following questions (in no more than 800 words):
    • Why are you applying for this residency and how will it benefit your work?
    • What are you particularly interested in exploring as part of the residency? (please describe any specific themes, new connections, research that you are keen to undertake)
    • Do you have any current connections to UK short story writers, festivals or publishers?
    • Have you taken part in any other professional international creative writing residencies before?
    • Please confirm that you are available during the entire period 25 September – 1 October 2018 and that you will be able to obtain funding to cover your flights, visa and accommodation.

Selection will be a competitive process, based on letters of application. Final decisions will be made by a committee comprised of British Council and Small Wonder representatives. Priority will be given to applications which demonstrate the greatest impact to the writer and their work.


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