CFWA 2023 (1)

Creative Future Writers’ Award 2023: Q&A on the theme of ‘X’

17 January 2023

What’s the theme for the 2023 Writers’ Award?

Every year since the Awards began, we’ve put forward a theme for the competition—these have included Home, Chemistry, Tomorrow, How It Started and Essential. (You can see how past winners have responded to them in our Award anthologies.)

As 2023 is the tenth Awards, we’ve selected the theme of ‘X’. (…in part because the gift for a tenth anniversary is tin, and this would be a terrible theme.)

But what does ‘X’ mean?

The themes for the Writers’ Award are meant as a prompt to inspire or jiggle an idea. They’re always broad and open to multiple interpretations intentionally, as we want to receive a wide variety of work and not restrict people’s imaginations.

So ‘X’ could be the Roman numeral 10, a tick box on a ballot or form, a mark on a map, crossing something out, something lost or gone or unknown, something you used to be but are no longer, shorthand for kisses, something to solve for mathematically or otherwise, x-rays or xylophones or other things starting with the 24th letter of the alphabet, or something completely different jumping off from ‘X.’

So the title or subject of my entry has to be or relate to ‘X’?

Write what you want to, know and feel. Send us your best work. We’ve never had an entry get to long- or shortlist stage and say, ‘this is amazing and made me laugh and cry, but it doesn’t fit into the theme.’

You’re the writer. Write something!

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