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The Fourth Floor

Didcot Writers was born at Cornerstone Arts Centre in the middle of Didcot. We still regularly use the cafe there for writing sessions, it’s a building most of us know well. But…

Have you ever been up to the fourth floor?

The fourth floor is a fictitious place where anything could happen. Your story could be rooted in reality or venture into science fiction or alternative history. For example, your character might have a job interview in the arts centre offices, they might be trying to find a quiet rehearsal space before their debut on the theatre stage, or they could step out of the lift into a parallel life, an alternative universe, or their own past or future.

Your character will enter the lift at Cornerstone, press the button for the fourth floor and… the rest is up to you!

This anthology is open to any writer anywhere in the world. The submission window is open until 30 April 2023. Full guidelines are below. We will be holding feedback events and editing entries during 2023, with the aim of publishing the book with Enliven Press in print and as an ebook in time for Christmas 2023.

Please Follow this site, or join the Didcot Writers mailing list, to be the first to hear further news about the anthology.

Other anthologies

In the future we plan to release an anthology of competition entries. To be considered for this anthology all you have to do is enter one of our competitions (or to have done so in the past). Details of the themes, and the guidelines for entry can be found here.

You can find out more about our previously published anthologies, including where to buy the books and ebooks, here.

Fourth Floor anthology submission guidelines

  1. Submit your entry via the google form linked under ‘How to Submit’ below. Please note the entry fee (£8; bursaries available).
  2. Your piece must be fiction, in English, and your own original work.
  3. You can submit as many works as you wish, but you will need to pay the entry fee for each individual entry.
  4. The word count should be between 800-3,000 words. (The word count is is not too strict, so if it’s say 50 words under or over, don’t stress.)
  5. There are no strict formatting requirements, but nothing too weird please.
  6. Please title your document with your entry title, and also put the title at the top of the work.
  7. Do not include your name in the document as entries will be read anonymously. Full credit will be given to the author if the work is published.
  8. No really bad swear words or explicit content, please.
  9. This is intended as a book for adult readers, but there is no restriction on the age of authors.
  10. We don’t mind simultaneous submissions, or if your entry has been published elsewhere in the past, but please make sure your work is copyright cleared for it to be published if chosen. (For example, if you need to include the line ‘first published in…’ to comply with a former publisher’s terms, let us know.)
  11. There will be no monetary payments to authors for work accepted as this is a non-profit competition run by volunteers.
  12. There will be an editing process for those stories accepted for the anthology. We will be in touch with successful authors about this when the time comes.
  13. We will keep your data in accordance with GDPR, and use your email address only to contact you about this and similar publication and feedback opportunities. You can unsubscribe at any time.
  14. A final tip (rather than a guideline) – we’re aware that most stories will feature a scene in the lift, probably towards the start. It would be to your advantage to think of ways to avoid the lift being too dominant in your story.

How to submit:

The submission fee is £8 per entry. (This is waived for first entries if you are a regular participant in our events – please contact Alice if you are in doubt about your status.) If you are unable to pay this fee email to ask about bursaries for low income writers.

Pay the entry fee via SumUp here (please select anthology in the dropdown menu). If you want to pay for multiple entries to the same competition you can do it as one transaction by increasing the quantity.

Submit your entry via the google form here (you will need to sign in).

Please make your document title the same as the title of your entry, and include your title in your document (it’s not counted in the word count). All this saves us a headache later.

Want feedback on your work?

If you would like feedback on your work (that is, a ‘track changes’ version to give corrections, comments and suggestions) one of our team can provide this for a £15 fee. You can pay via our SumUp store (please select anthology feedback in the dropdown menu), then email your work to

Please allow two weeks after payment to receive your feedback. We cannot guarantee that your story will be selected for the anthology as a result of our feedback, but we aim to provide supportive and constructive comments letting you know what’s good about your work, what our first response was as a ‘cold’ reader, where simple improvements can be made, and how you can make it shine!