Discovering a New Country – that’s the suggested (but not compulsory) theme of this year’s BCSA writing competition. It’s prompted by the 100th anniversary of the publication of Karel Čapek’s Letters from England (Anglické listy). Write about that great writer if you wish, but he needn’t feature at all in your entry -– it could be something on a much more individual, personal or local level. The new country could be anywhere – as long as your entry fulfils the requirements set out in the next paragraph.

As stated, this theme is not compulsory. What is compulsory is that entries must deal with either (1) the links between Britain and the Czech and/or Slovak Republics, at any time in their history, or (2) society in those Republics since 1989. Entries should be original writing, in English and not more than 2,000 words long. Fiction or fact – either is welcome. The first prize is £400 and the second prize £150.

The closing date is midnight on 30 June 2024. The two prizewinning entries will be published in the British Czech and Slovak Review.

Entry is free. Submissions are invited from individuals of any age, nationality or educational background. Entrants do not need to be members of the BCSA. An author may submit any number of entries. The competition will be judged by a panel of experts.

Entries should be submitted by post to the BCSA Prize Administrator, 24 Ferndale, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN2 3NS, England, or by e-mail to

Administrator’s tip:

If I could pass on one lesson from recent years, it is to read the instructions: in recent years several entries were disallowed (no matter how well written) because they did not deal with the prescribed subjects. Enjoy the writing!

Submission guidelines

All entries must be in English, prose, typed with double-spacing and no more than 2,000 words in length. If submitted by e-mail, entries should be in Microsoft Word or a compatible program.

To ensure objective and anonymous judging the writer’s name must not appear anywhere on the piece itself.

The title must appear on the first page of the entry.

All entries must be accompanied by a cover sheet, which should include the following information: * the writer’s name, address, home telephone number, e-mail address, date of birth (optional), and brief biography (not more than five lines in length); * the title of the piece and the word count;

* a signed statement verifying that the submission is an original piece of writing by the writer and has not been previously published, and that any citations are complete, correct and acknowledged in due form;

* a note of how the entrant learned about the competition.

The BCSA’s decision on the winning entries will be final. Entries are subject to the rules of the competition, which are available free on request from the BCSA Prize Administrator at the addresses given above. Copies of these guidelines are also available free from the Prize Administrator.