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Literary Prize Press Release

Magic Oxygen Literary Competition to Create a Tropical Word Forest

Writing competition closing dates punctuate the diary of many a creative writer and there’s little more tempting than a four figure 1st prize and the promise of going into print, to get the ideas flowing.

front_loresMagic Oxygen Publishing in Dorset, run by Tracey and Simon West, has just launched a new annual prize for literary excellence in short stories and poetry.

It has an impressive prize fund of £1,000 1st, £300 2nd, £100 3rd and two Highly Commended prizes of £50 in both categories, kindly sponsored by Coolio. The winners and shortlisted entries will also be taken into print.

As well as nurturing fresh literary talent, they also want the contest to help reduce the world’s carbon footprint with a four-pronged approach and one absolutely unique *eco-element:-

  • by judging electronically, doing minimal printing, conserving ink and paper
  • encouraging entrants to keep submissions on cloud storage, conserving their resources
  • producing a print on demand anthology in FSC certified paper and an e-book
  • * by planting a tree for every single entry received

For forestry expertise, they’ve teamed up with Ru Hartwell, founding director of Treeflights the first carbon offset planting project of its kind. He’s also actively involved in several other worldwide planting projects, including Size of Wales, Tree-Nation and Carbon Link amongst others.

Ru explains, The Word Forest will be near the Kundeni School in Bore, Kenya. It’s quite dry there so the trees will be drought resistant types like neem, gmelina and casuarina. They’re mostly grown for timber which is used for house building and is in high demand as there’s a an economic boom going on in the coastal resorts. Our Forest will allow the Bore community a share in the boom, which needless to say, they are largely excluded from at the moment, partly because there is so little of their original forest left.’

Tracey adds, ‘To the best of our knowledge this is the only competition in the world offering to plant a tree for every entry. Writers need notebooks and notebooks need trees; this is a wonderful way of creating an inspirational legacy and I hope the concept inspires other organisations to set up similar projects.’

Ongoing details about the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize and plans for the Word Forest will be posted on the Magic Oxygen blog. Click here to view the kinetic typography teaser trailer for the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize.


Competition In Brief:

Short Stories: up to 4,000 words
Poetry: up to 50 lines
Entry fee £5 per submission
Open for worldwide electronic and postal submissions, aged 16+
Open for Entries: 1st July 2014
Closing Date: 30th November 2014
Shortlist Announced: no later than 14th January 2015
Winner Announced: 14th February 2015


High res images and further quotes from Magic Oxygen and Ru Hartwell are available.


Simon West: Editor, Magic Oxygen Publishing
Telephone: 07896 884 114

Ru Hartwell: Magic Oxygen Word Forest Coordinator
Telephone: 07773 001 132

About Magic Oxygen

Magic Oxygen Publishing has been founded with proud green ethics and one of Tracey and Simon’s favourite stipulations is that staff and visitors are fuelled by locally sourced organic and Fairtrade food and drinks, the office is powered by Good Energy and that they plant trees for every new book published. Read their Environmental Policy for further details.

About Ru Hartwell and Treeflights

Ru set up Treeflights as a non-profit company in 2006 to give carbon intensive air travellers the chance to mop up some of their carbon with trees planted on a 7-acre site in mid-Wales. Together with generous support from all over the world, he created a 2,500-tree woodland, now busily withdrawing carbon from the atmosphere. With scientific evidence increasingly indicating that it’s our tropical forests, rather than those in temperate latitudes like the UK, that do the bulk of the global cooling, Ru has switched his focus entirely to supporting afforestation and forest conservation in tropical Kenya.

Quotes from Ru:

All humans share the one atmosphere and every time we fill up our car with fossil fuel, we increase the amount of carbon up there for everybody. Luckily, the reverse is true as well, so each time we plant a tree, a little bit of that carbon is removed. The planet’s tropical forests are now understood to be pivotal in keeping the Earth cool, so Kenya is a perfect place to plant trees if you want to slow down climate change.

This unique Word Forest will help keep us all a little bit cooler, provide a long term income stream for an African school, encourage tropical biodiversity and the initial sponsorship cash will help build a new class room for 300 Kenyan kids. Is this a good idea or what?

Links: benefits of planting near the Equator

Research on the importance of tropical forests in global cooling.