THE search is on to find the best poets and short story writers in time for this year’s PENfro Book Festival.

Hoping to build on the success of last year’s open poetry competition, PENfro is also launching an open short story competition for over-16s.

Top prize in each is £250, and the winners will be announced at PENfro 2014, which is being held at Rhosygilwen, near Cilgerran, in mid-September.

Chairman of the festival, Derek Webb, said: “Over three days in September PENfro will bring together a great variety of published authors who will read and talk about their work in a series of workshops, interviews, discussions and presentations.

“In addition, these competitions will enable us to showcase the fantastic creative flair of some of the huge range of as yet unpublished work that is out there.”

Guest judge for the new short story contest is Maria Donovan, whose work appears regularly in magazines and anthologies. Her collection, Pumping Up Napoleon, is published by Seren, and a set of very short stories, Tea for Mr Dead, by Leaf Books. She was a lecturer and senior lecturer in creative writing at the University of Glamorgan for nine years and is a founder member of the Welsh Short Story Network, dedicated to the promotion of the short story form in and beyond Wales.

Judging the poetry contest will be American Alan Kellermann, who now lectures in Creative Writing at Swansea University.

His first poetry collection - You, Me and the Birds – was published in 2012, and he is also poetry editor for Parthian Books.

The subject is open in both competitions, but there is a maximum length of 40 lines for each poem entered, and a word limit of 3,000 for the stories. Entry fee is £4 a poem, £5 a story.

The contests are open now and the closing date is June 30 for the story contest, and July 7 for the poetry.

For details, visit