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New Book From First-time Author, Wendy Breckon

Launched just a month ago, Under the Hen’s Bottom is a delightful collection of tales from the talented pen of Wendy Breckon.

They are packed with nostalgic, quirky short stories that will transport you to a place that you can smell, see and breathe!

These imaginative missives unravel engaging happenings from Wendy’s childhood and they’re guaranteed to leave you with smiles and have you in stitches at some points too.

Wendy is embarking on a round of talks and is certainly worth dropping a line to if you have an enquiry along these lines. Her upbeat and cheerful disposition leaves audiences completely fulfilled that they’ve had the whole author experience!

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Winners: Poetry Award Magic Oxygen Literary Prize 2017

Tree Banner for announcing winners of the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize 2017 Poetry

The worthy drum roll continues, as we reveal the winners in the poetry category in this year’s Magic Oxygen Literary Prize.

We hosted the awards ceremony last night at the Woodmead Halls in Lyme Regis and were delighted to be joined by a handful of the amazingly talented folks who were on our shortlist, we even had a few of the top five winners too.

Susan Rogerson 1st Prize Magic Oxygen Literary Prize 2017: Poetry1st Prize £1,000

21st Century Mermaid by Susan Rogerson from England

It’s always a pleasure to pen a few lines about the poem that won our judges over and bagged the top spot. Susan Rogerson nailed it this year with the 48 dynamic lines of 21st Century Mermaid. She did it with poetic flourish, laconic style and sobering precision as she waxed lyrical about the woeful state of the world’s oceans. Leonardo da Vinci once said, ‘Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history’ and I think he might agree that this high performer found the Zeitgeist bar and jumped over it. Susan met the challenge of stitching the right words together to portray this horrifying global reality with the mermaid’s watery attributes and there wasn’t a cliché in sight – I was hooked through to the final cry. Susan’s scant use of similes and metaphors accomplished their mission and I could almost see this creature making her silent statement to the world; that’s surely what every focused poet should aim for. Visually stimulating, audibly punchy and very worthy; asante sana!


Rachel Plummer 2nd Prize Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Awards 2017: Poetry2nd Prize £300

Iris, the Strongest Granny in the World by Rachel Plummer from Scotland

Rachel’s highest placed entry in MOLP3’s top ten was bursting with robust internal logic and bagged her an esteemed 2nd prize and £300 along with it. I think she made a courageous decision to enter two water-based poems but as I’ve said many times, we don’t search for deliberately diverse entries. If the content is exceptional, the cream will rise to the top, and it did. Iris, the Strongest Granny in the World sounds like a precursor to a comedic ode, yet once you dive into its varied, irregular metre you find yourself enraptured by astutely concocted lines – not giggling. It was as vividly stimulating as a Roald Dahl and every bit as impossible in its absurdity, which made it a captivating pleasure to digest. This talented poet’s bravery has been suitably rewarded.


Dee Barron 3rd Prize Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Awards 2017: Poetry3rd Prize £100

Christmas Eve by Dee Barron from England

Christmas Eve achieved the worthy position of 3rd place. Whilst Dee made good use of every available line with delicious line breaks, she made them cogitative and chose to keep their length short and sweet, with no added syrup. The brevity worked well and this impactful piece didn’t need to move beyond its simple setting of a living room. Yet her captivating words did a remarkable job of transporting me to a noisy dance hall, filled with laughter and perfume, in the same way James Cameron did during the closing scenes of Titanic. A fully engrossing poem through to the very last line and statement; great visualisation.


Lisa Reily Highly Commended Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Awards 2017: PoetryHighly Commended

My Mum The Wild Indian by Lisa Reily from Australia

My Mum the Wild Indian was one of the most effective pieces at getting under my skin and carving a direct route to my tear ducts. Within 9 lines in this challenging medium, Lisa exposed the relationship between the characters so convincingly, I felt I could hear the voice of the speaker. The initial resentment from the daughter melted and morphed into the love of a mournful child with great narrative and relative ease. This highly commended piece is worthy of a couple of re-reads to digest the powerful, skilful word-play she adopted.


Carmel Summers Highly Commended Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Awards 2017: PoetryHighly Commended

Silence by Carmel Summers from Australia

Silence is a deftly crafted piece with the ability to alarm and transfix the reader right through to the final full stop. The poet’s vision was well delivered on subject matter as dark as the night at new moon. Carmel’s proficient use of enjambment makes it a thoroughly compelling read. Praise came from some of my fellow judges for the non-gratuitous narrative used to describe two barbarous events. As a reader, I felt tuned into the same wavelength as the protagonist, as she came to terms with the inevitability of her terrifying situation; thunderously chilling, highly commended.


Congratulations are also in order for the talented writers who made it through to our shortlist, in alphabetical author surname order they are: Old Man in the Garden by Vinita Agrawal, Woman’s Drawer by Jan Felmingham, Angels by Harry Gallagher, Deaf River by Rachel Plummer and Castle Neroche by Anthony Watts.

Our short story winners were equally amazing – click here to find out more about who scooped the top 5 coveted places. Click here to order the anthology and we’ll plant a tree for every one sold.

If your creative juices are all fired up, you might like to note that the doors to MOLP4 will be open on 1st October 2017.

It will run through to 31st December 2017 and we will look forward to receiving your entries in short stories and poetry once more.

The Magic Oxygen Literary Prize is the only writing contest where everyone wins, as we plant a tree for every single entry in our Word Forest and build classrooms in impoverished communities in Coast Province, Kenya too.

The positive impact that previous MOLPs have had, led to us starting The Word Forest Organisation, an NGO specifically founded to replicate the incredible reforestation and classroom building work we’ve done, throughout the Coast Province of Kenya.

If you’d like to support the project why not consider buying a few trees in our Word Forest, becoming a member, getting involved as a corporate partner, or simply spreading the word about it on your social media.

Time for a cup of tea I think!

The Team

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Winners: Short Story Award Magic Oxygen Literary Prize 2017

Tree banner announcing the winners of the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Awards for short stories 2017

It’s time for our seriously loud annual drum roll… drrrrrrrrrrr…

The Team are absolutely delighted to announce the winners in the short story category in this year’s Magic Oxygen Literary Prize.

We hosted the awards ceremony last night at the Woodmead Halls in Lyme Regis and were delighted to be joined by a handful of the amazingly talented folks who were on our shortlist, we even had a few of the top five winners too.


Colleen MacMahon1st Prize £1,000

Desideratum by Colleen MacMahon from England

I have to pre-cursor my thoughts on this winning piece with a clarification. I had absolutely no idea the writer of the short stories ranked 1st and 2nd, was the same person, yet once I was the other side of submitting my final judgement, I wasn’t surprised at all.

Colleen accompanied me on another journey packed with high emotion, with a powerful, yet astoundingly uncomplicated story line; less is most definitely more here. The end game, whilst predictable, was delicately told and laced with such an incredible bond of love and the practicalities she sprinkled through the story, helped me hold back a floodgate of tears. It wasn’t schmaltzy – this type of tale always runs the risk that it might be. The characterisation was entirely adequate, yet left room for enigma. They were believable souls who were ripped apart by their circumstances, and in a little over 3,000 words, I felt I knew who they were and what would happen beyond the close of their earthly time together. The simple narrative delivered comfort and consolation, their word-play was poignantly peppered with gentle realism and I was left contented and fully fed as a reader. Absolutely brilliant work, well done for nailing the top two spots; ultimate respect.

2nd Prize £300

Closure by Colleen MacMahon from England

Colleen’s top two winning entries are exceptionally finely constructed pieces of entertaining short fiction, both entirely different and linked purely by their excellence. Her 2nd place winner, Closure, was a tour de force that oozed great compassion. I imagine it is impossible to empathise with the main character unless you’ve been in that situation – and I hope nobody has – but I felt strongly convinced that the behaviour patterns were entirely believable. The writing transported me across the miles without effort, her descriptive powers were puissant and enduring and the ending wrapped this supremely dark tale up sufficiently for me to let go of the content and resolution; this writer is certainly one to keep an eye on.


Jennifer Saxton 3rd Prize Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Award 20173rd Prize £100

After The Wave by Jennifer Saxton from England

Jennifer’s entry, After the Wave, won 3rd prize with style and had a shuddering impact on my psyche. Not wanting to give the game away, but this story had me in its comforting, motherly clinches until the intended reveal. It takes skill to pull off a twist this well – I’m reminded of The Sixth Sense – and Jennifer has it in good supply. The narrative between the characters was credible, the level of concern in the mother wasn’t exorbitant, yet the shrouded facts remained in clear view all the time and their camouflage held fast until the precise moment the author intended it to concede. A nefarious tale of Münchhausen syndrome by proxy exquisitely executed with beguiling finesse.


Jacqueline Bain 3rd Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Award 2017Highly Commended

Iradukunda by Jacqueline Bain from Scotland

As I traversed through the intensely daunting account of Iradukunda, I had no trouble allowing myself to become fully embraced by its heat, fear and mystery; it made the story all the more enjoyable for doing so. Jacqueline’s scenes were vivid, gorgeously graphic and well narrated, and the lead up to the outcome left me sharing the despair, anxiety, then eventual relief of the protagonist. Another very well crafted, startling tale of our times that could equally have been set 50 years ago or more. I hope by highlighting this horrific business in fiction, it draws us one step closer to it ending.


Louise McDowell Highly Commended Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Award 2017Highly Commended

Tempus by Louise McDowell from England

Tempus, oh Tempus, how you played with my head! Louise’s futuristic tale was horribly believable and had solid technical merit. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, in this very effectual ‘out of the ordinary’ tale. I found myself sidetracking to ponder where and when I’d go and what I’d pack if I had the opportunity. The degree of thrill delivered was more than sufficient, the persuasive plausibility of the basic premise was tremendous and a little bit terrifying too. I’m sure her other tales are equally packed with the unexpected and I could certainly imagine this one as a short film.


Congratulations are also in order for the talented writers who made it through to our shortlist, in alphabetical author surname order they are: Silver Harvest by Ali Bacon, Upali by Anoushka Beazley, The Fox by Mark Brandi, Tylluan Valley by Sarah Dixon and Captivated by Sarah Horton.

Our poetry winners were equally amazing – click here to find out more about who scooped the top 5 coveted places. Click here to order the anthology and we’ll plant a tree for every one sold.

If your creative juices are all fired up, you might like to note that the doors to MOLP4 will be open on 1st October 2017.

It will run through to 31st December 2017 and we will look forward to receiving your entries in short stories and poetry once more.

The Magic Oxygen Literary Prize is the only writing contest where everyone wins, as we plant a tree for every single entry in our Word Forest and build classrooms in impoverished communities in Coast Province, Kenya too.

The positive impact that previous MOLPs have had, led to us starting The Word Forest Organisation, an NGO specifically founded to replicate the incredible reforestation and classroom building work we’ve done, throughout the Coast Province of Kenya.

If you’d like to support the project why not consider buying a few trees in our Word Forest, becoming a member, getting involved as a corporate partner, or simply spreading the word about it on your social media.

Ahh… I can’t believe we’re the other side of our beloved MOLP once more… I think it’s time for a nice spot of afternoon chill and to curl up with a good book!

The Team

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Trish Vickers, Author of Grannifer’s Legacy, Passes Away Peacefully

Image of bird by the water from author Trish Vickers website trishvickers.co.uk
Trish Vickers and her daughter Heidi
Trish Vickers and her daughter Heidi

The ‘story behind the story‘ of Trish Vickers and her incredible achievement in writing the novel, Grannifer’s Legacy, has touched the hearts of so many people around the world, and completely and utterly captivated ours too.

We are deeply sad to pass on the news that she has just lost her valiant battle against breast cancer. She was surrounded by her loving family.

We were privileged to have spent some time with them last night, we made cups of tea and said our last goodbye to Trish, as she prepared to set off on her next adventure.

It was evident how important completing Grannifer’s Legacy and getting it published had been in Trish’s life. Everyone spoke with such pride and astonishment at her tenacity and determination to do so. Trish would often read back bits of the story to them as she sought comment and approval on the characters and story line. I think the very act of Trish writing it, gave people around her such a boost of confidence helping them believe they could achieve anything they set their minds to; she certainly made me feel that way.

Grannifer’s Legacy will do that forever more now in its paper form.

In a few short weeks, there will be copies on the shelves of the British Library, the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford, Cambridge University Library, the National Library of Scotland, the Library of Trinity College Dublin and the National Library of Wales. When Simon told Trish we’d be sending them a copy, she held his hand tight and beamed a smile back at him; she was a proper author with a proper website and her own ISBN.

Continue reading Trish Vickers, Author of Grannifer’s Legacy, Passes Away Peacefully

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Grannifer’s Legacy by Trish Vickers: now released for print!

Image of bird by the water from author Trish Vickers website trishvickers.co.uk

Cover of Grannifer's Legacy, by Dorset author, Trish VickersWe are absolutely delighted to announce that Grannifer’s Legacy by Trish Vickers is now available in paperback and eBook.

As this has been such a special book for us to be involved with, we’ve decided that if you buy the paperback, you can have a download link to the eBook free of charge, so you can enjoy reading it on your electronic devices too.

A donation from the sale of each book will be made to the South West Dorset Talking Newspaper.

Continue reading Grannifer’s Legacy by Trish Vickers: now released for print!

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Trish Vickers Prepares to Launch Grannifer’s Legacy

Image of bird by the water from author Trish Vickers website trishvickers.co.uk
Dorset author, Trish Vickers, with her daughter, Heidi

Trish Vickers isn’t a lady to shy away from a challenge.

At 52, she sadly lost her sight through diabetes, but she had a burning ambition to write a novel and blindness wasn’t going to stand in her way.

She employed the most innovative way to achieve her goal and armed with a simple clipboard, she added rows and rows of elastic bands that acted as line markers. They gave her the framework she needed to put pen to paper, tap into her imagination and write out her story, Grannifer’s Legacy.

Her son Simon and friend Carole Head kindly typed up her handwritten manuscript until one day, a serious problem blighted her valiant efforts. 26 pages were written on as she continued to tell her story, but when her son looked at the paper she gave him, there was nothing on it; the pen had run out of ink.

It looked as though all was lost until someone came up with the idea of contacting the Dorset Police HQ at Winfrith to see if their fingerprint and forensics team could help.

The officers kindly got to work on the blank papers during their breaks and in a short space of time, they, ‘cracked the code’ and produced a digital copy of Trish’s missing pages. This incredibly uplifting article was printed in newspapers all over the world.

In the 11th April 2012 edition of the Bridport and Lyme News, Trish said: “I think they used a combination of various lights at different angles to see if they could get the impression made by my pen. I am so happy, pleased and grateful. It was really nice of them and I want to thank them for helping me out.”

She was absolutely delighted, because she could at last get back to writing her story, the process of which had become even more of a saving grace as she coped with the daily rigours of not being able to see. Being blind gave Trish a completely different world to live in, one where she enjoyed the journey deep into her own imagination.

Cut to the 16th February 2017, Trish was in the local paper again with a deeply tragic update and a heartfelt plea: she had finished her painstaking, gargantuan effort to finish writing Grannifer’s Legacy but had also been recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. Rene Gerrets from the Bridport and Lyme News reported that Trish’s daughter Heidi said: “Mum really wanted to see if she could get it published in time to present it to her mum who is 90 this May. But sadly we don’t know if she’s even got that long.”

Her friend Trevor Chambers, a Bridport Blind Club volunteer, regularly sat with Trish reading the story back to her. He also wrote a foreword for the novel and wants Trish to have her dream realised. He told Rene, “We were hoping that once the book was finished some of the publishers who were interested all those years ago would come back but no one’s pursued that avenue yet.”

Cover of Grannifer's Legacy, by Dorset author, Trish VickersThis article came to the attention of some of our local literary friends and in an update to the story published on the 23rd February, Rene Gerrets was at last delighted to report that there had been a flood of offers made to help Trish get her work into print. A crowdfunding campaign had been set in motion and the kind donations were really lifting Trish’s spirits and fuelling her hopes that it would finally happen. However, she was becoming weaker too as the illness continued to take its toll on her body. Time was absolutely of the essence now.

This was the point where some of our mutual friends got in touch to see if we could help. At the time of first contact, we were completely and utterly drowning in words, producing the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Anthology 2017 but the story was just too heartbreaking and she was clearly a lovely soul and a talented author who was very down on her luck.

True to form, Rene from the Bridport and Lyme News popped an update to the story in today’s paper and as I write this, Simon and I are seeing who has drawn the short straw and which one of us is going to cook tea, while the other cracks on with typesetting the manuscript and building the website!

We should have some really good news for Trish in a few more days and we’re also busy pulling a book launch together for her. It won’t be in a shop as she’s just too poorly unfortunately – instead, we’ll be bringing a lovely book launch to Trish! I’m hoping to have representatives from a couple of local bookshops and I’m hopeful Rene will be there to cover it as well. I know it’s dreadfully sad, but this is actually a good news story, packed with hope and encouragement. The Bridport and Lyme News have done a wonderful job of giving it a positive boost in their paper and online. It has helped the final piece of the jigsaw fall into place.

Logo for South West Talking NewspapersTrish is now surrounded by family and friends and has some wonderful things to think about. She knows the power of positive thought when life continues to throw you, what seem like, insurmountable challenges and we are very proud to play a part in her story.

She’s one of the bravest souls I’ve ever met, a total optimist, a lovely woman and a realist. She is preparing to start her next adventure and she knows there’s a bunch of people pulling all the stops out to ensure she makes this dream come true first.

If you’d like a copy of Grannifer’s Legacy, you can have a sneak peek and pre-order it here.

Donations from the sale of each one will be made to the South West Talking Newspapers and do keep an eye on TrishVickers.co.uk – it should go live very soon!

The (Proud) Team

 

 

 

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Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Winners Revealed & Stand-Up Poetry Night!

Following hot on the heels of our last post, please consider yourself cordially invited to the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Awards Evening on Saturday 11th March!

Join us for a fabulous evening of stand-up poetry delivered by a talented bunch of Dorset and Devon poets, who’ll perform an eclectic array of pieces guaranteed to make you giggle, ponder and clap!

Rob Casey, the present Bard of ExeterAll things being equal, the line up should include the current Bard of Exeter Rob Casey and other entertaining odists like Ged Duncan, Tom Rogers, Izzy Robertson, Ninette Hartley, Richard Green, Sarah Acton, Sophia Mosley, the hosts Tracey and Simon West, and more.

It’ll make for a fantastic warm up for the main event of course; the announcement of the winners of the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize 2016-7.

Everyone is welcome to join us for this family-friendly evening which will be live streamed around the world!

The doors will be open at 6:30pm for a prompt 7:00pm start – don’t be late!

Hot and cold refreshments, vegan soup, savouries and cakes will be available too, so bring hungry tummies.

The latest Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Anthology will be available to buy, showcasing the 20 best entries from our shortlisters and winners, plus the winners of the Mini-MOLPs too. As if that’s not enough reasons to enjoy it, a tree will be planted in our Word Forest for every copy sold.

All you need to do now is click here to book your FREE tickets, tell your friends, pop the date in your diary and we’ll look forward to welcoming you literary lovers to the Woodmead Halls at 6:30pm on the 11th March.

The Team

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Magic Oxygen Literary Prize 2017: the exciting bits…

lady holding a Winner badge

There’s a wonderful sense of calm wafting through the office today, but like snow at the seaside, I doubt it’ll stay long enough to settle.

Last night, we sent the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Anthology 2017 up the wire to the printers and we all breathed a welcome sigh of relief. From the moment the contest closed at the end of December, right through to the moment we hand over the money to our talented winners, there is a palpable sense of urgency to tick all the necessary tasks off the big To Do list.

Judging the pieces is a joy, but a huge responsibility. Every single entry is sifted, graded and graded again with a process more finely tuned than at a premium quality flour factory!

Continue reading Magic Oxygen Literary Prize 2017: the exciting bits…

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MOLP 2017 Shortlist Announcement

It is an absolute pleasure to announce the shortlist for the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize 2017.

If your name is not on the list, we hope you’ll not be too disheartened; the competition was fierce again this year and the entrants put our judges through their paces.

The shortlist for stories is:

  • Ali Bacon
  • Jacqueline Bain
  • Anoushka Beazley
  • Mark Brandi
  • Sarah Dixon
  • Sarah Horton
  • Colleen MacMahon
  • Louise McDowell
  • Jennifer Saxton

The shortlist for poems is:

  • Vinita Agrawal
  • Dee Barron
  • Jan Felmingham
  • Harry Gallagher
  • Rachel Plummer
  • Lisa Reily
  • Susan Rogerson
  • Carmel Summers
  • Anthony Watts

You may wonder why there are only nine names on each list… remarkably, in each category, one person has two entries in the shortlist!

The entrants to MOLP are collectively responsible for tonnes and tonnes of CO2 and other pollutants being drawn down from the atmosphere and locked into acres of trees. Furthermore, they’ve built classrooms too!

We will be sending out the certificates for the trees with GPS co-ordinates very soon, once we’ve received confirmation they have been planted.

As in previous years, we will be making a worthy song and dance of things when we reveal the winners and we’re building the announcements around an evening of spoken word entertainment.

Please accept this as your cordial invitation to join us with your friends and family on Saturday 11th March in lovely Lyme Regis for the event – click here for details and to get your FREE tickets!

If you are unable to join us, the event will be live-streamed around the world too. We’ll post details of that nearer the time.

Our typesetting team are working on the new anthology where the entire shortlist will be featured along with the winning entries from the Mini-MOLP competitions which took place last year. Please place your pre-orders here.

All that remains is for us to thank everyone that entered and helped to spread the message on behalf of the people we’re helping in Bore in Keyna. Participation in our contest has resulted in life changing differences for their whole community that will affect generations yet to come.

The joyous call of, “Asante sana” is ringing out for them; it’s thank you in Swahili!

…and finally, please put 1st October 2017 in your diaries – it’s the day we will be opening the doors for entries to MOLP4.

With kind regards and great hopes to meet you soon,

The Team

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What Our Contest Has Done in Kenya, Via You!

The Magic Oxygen Literary Prize is so much more than a writing contest and yes, I realise I’m in danger of making this sound like a Marks and Spencer advert!

But it is!

Over the past 3 years, MOLP has helped reforest 71 acres of deforested land in the
Coastal Province of Kenya and it has just put a roof on the second, much needed
classroom at Kundeni Primary School too.

Take a moment to smile as you look at our update from Bore.

Kundeni Children

The children of Kundeni Primary School & the local community work hard to plant, care for, & protect the trees.

Bore Nursery

The nursery has been a hive of activity; planting new seeds, potting them up & preparing them for the Word Forest.

Word Forest Kundeni

At 71 acres it's growing tall & strong. It'll remove over 2k tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere & improve the air we breathe.

Our First Classroom

It may be sparsely furnished but it's a vast improvement from sitting & learning outside in the scorching Kenyan sun.

Education Is The Key

Children attend school more regularly & the register has expanded too; the children you helped have hope for their future.

What Next?

The whole community make decisions about how we can best support them; this meeting approved classroom number two.

Classroom Two Begins

Soon the 300 children of Kundeni will have another safe, protected space to study; everyone's excited!

Walls Up, Render On

The labour required to build the classroom was shared throughout Bore. Soon everyone will profit from it.

The Forest Centre

On the edge of the Word Forest, this will be a community learning hub & visitor centre too. A legacy education project.

Enter MOLP 3

This year's contest closes at midnight on the 31st December. Get your short story or poem in soon & we'll plant a tree for you!

Anthologies

Buy our fabulous anthologies, enjoy the brilliant winning entries & we'll plant another tree for every one sold!

 

Aside from the fact that MOLP has uncovered some remarkable literary talent, the impact of the actions above have been immeasurably positive for the children and community. Continue reading What Our Contest Has Done in Kenya, Via You!