Free short story competition to raise awareness for those suffering from depression

Circalit, the UK-based writer network, has teamed up with publisher Little Episodes for a free short story competition centered on the theme “Broken Identities.”

The goal? To put mental health issues on the table and raise awareness with writing. Little Episodes regularly makes it a mission to do so beyond the page, too, by putting on public events featuring art, music, readings and even stand-up comedy.

Entries submitted via the peer-review network can be read and ranked by anyone, and author Kasia Boddy (The American Short Story Since 1950) is set to pick the top winner, which will be published in Little Episodes’ second anthology, An Expression of Depression.

As Lucie Barât, Little Episodes’ founder, said in a release, “It’s not just about having a single winner, it’s about getting the public involved by reading submissions and voting for their favorites. Circalit and Little Episodes have the same ethos: We want to give talented artists who haven’t had the break that they deserve a platform from which to make themselves heard and get some exposure. We both hope that this will be a good opportunity to raise awareness for mental health issues through art.”

The word limit is 2,500, and the deadline is Sept. 15. For more on the competition, check out Circalit here. A regular (unrelated) Promptly prompt follows. Happy Wednesday!

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WRITING PROMPT: Doppelgänger
Feel free to take the following prompt home or post a
response (500 words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring) in the Comments section below.
By posting, you’ll be automatically entered in our
occasional around-the-office swag drawings.
you’re having trouble with the
captcha code sticking, e-mail your piece and the prompt to me at, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and I’ll
make sure it gets up

You’re out and about, and you see a mirror-image clone of yourself. Write about what happens after you decide to follow the clone around.

Want more writing prompts and exercises? Brian Kiteley has packed more than 200 wildly original ones into his 3 A.M. Epiphany. Check it out here.


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4 thoughts on “Free short story competition to raise awareness for those suffering from depression

  1. Fatima Dramani

    I always thought I was a twin.

    This feeling of solitude and loneliness. There had to be another. There had to be another me.

    ”Mum.” I cried pulling on her apron. ”Where is she?”

    ‘Where is who?” Mama replied chopping onions.

    ”My twin, Mama. The one who looks like me. We were separated at birth, I know.” I squinted and glared at my Mama. ”I know this because I have seen her in my dreams. And she speaks to me.”

    ”Ok sweetheart”. Mama patted my head. ”Run along now and go and play with your friends, can’t you see they’re waiting out there for you?”

    I peered out the window and see my friends throwing stones at birds. One blonde haired friend makes faces at the others and chases them around. Unrelenting I turned to my Mama. ”Where is my twin?!" I cried.

    Sat in front of the mirror Mama smoothed over my hair. ”There you go sweetheart, there’s your twin”. She stroked my hair, smiled and walked out. I stared at my reflection. Yes, she does look like me. Same smile, same face shape, same eyes. I walked away ready to hold hands with the one that I had craved for.

    I stood back in front of my mother. Face twisted, I glared.

    ”You ok sweetheart?” Mama smiled still chopping onions.

    ”Yes, I am.” I smiled sweetly. I took the knife from her hand and threw it across the room. ”But she was not my twin!” I screamed.

    Mama’s face was fearful as she cowered in the corner. I walked over to her turning my head to look out the window as I heard my friends laugh looking through.

    ”Sorry Mama” I crooned softly stroking her hair. ”Please forgive me. I wasn’t myself.” Mama smiled and took my hand and kissed it. She was familiar with my moments.

    ”That’s OK sweetheart. You go run along now”.

    My friends and I walk along the high street. They giggle and laugh.

    ”What’s the joke?” I ask. They smile and preen and clap hands and giggle.

    Then I stop. I just saw her. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her. The one that I had been searching after all my life. My Twin. In the shop mirror I stare at myself. I wouldn’t be a fool twice. Mama made me aware that the one that stared back was not the one.

    I saw her, hair flowing, blowing in the wind. I run after her. Weaving in and out of the crowd. Across the road, I glimpse her, I run ahead. Car horn honks and I dodge out of the way.

    There, right there, she is across the road. I run. A hit. Sirens, police cars, lights going off.

    My twin, my doppelganger, lying across the road, legs akimbo, body askew.

    ”Young lady” the officer says to her. ”Did you not know it was a red light?”

    Full of anxiety, I pull at him and scream ”No time for questions! My twin!”.

    CPR. Firsthand aid to try and bring back the one who is me. I look closely and see an oddity. I come closer. Her face, my doppelganger. Her face is coming apart. I pull and tug, and hold in my hand a mask. A face mask. and there I see my blonde haired friend.

    ”It was only meant to be a joke,” I hear my fiends say, out of breath catching up with us.

    ”We know how you wanted to be a twin, we made the mask to look like you”.

    They sob and wail as my blonde haired friend passes away.

    I sink to my knees, thankful, smiling, grateful, that my twin is still out there somewhere.

  2. Alex Salem

    I found him holding up the line at Starbucks, taking three minutes to decide to order the same Frappucino he always does. After the debit card exchange he just hovered around the bar, searching for the best posture to exhibit while he waited, and failing to check out the passing businesswomen with subtlety.
    When he dropped his keys on the way to the parking lot I jumped to the nearest table, afraid that he would spot me. If I let him see me I thought Doc Brown’s time paradox would activate and BOOM! So I laid low until I heard "The Spirit of Radio" start up, then I watched thin plumes of cigarette smoke follow his car out of the lot.
    My first impulse was to call my folks and tell them their son was doing fine. I would not mention that I thought he was kind of an asshole. Now I needed a cigarette.
    I think he wore the same shirt yesterday.

  3. Mark James

    Zac, Zac . . you make it sooo hard to stay away. . .
    Thanks for putting the highlight on circalit. It’s a worthy cause

    I’m not perfect, but I try to treat people right. You know, don’t kill the guy on the cell phone who cut you off in traffic so he could hook a turn into McDonald’s; don’t throttle ex-wives who run up your credit cards so high, it makes the national debt look good, and every year, I buy three boxes of those coconut-chocolate Girl Scout cookies. But I couldn’t just let this go. I mean, the guy was wearing my body.

    I followed me down into the subway. We got on the same train, got off at my stop, and went up the steps to my neighborhood. We went to my building, walked in, and I let him take the elevator to the twelfth floor. Not like I didn’t know where he was going. After a couple minutes, I went up after him.

    When I got off the elevator, he was standing in front of my door.

    “You have my keys.” He didn’t turn around. “I forgot to take them from you this morning.”

    He even sounded like me. “What do you mean ‘your keys’?”

    “This is my place, Sydney.” He was talking slow, patient, like I used to before I divorced my third wife. “I need you to let me in.” My walking reflection glanced at the door across the hall. “Unless you want Mrs. Hoffer to come out and start asking questions.”

    I lived across from the biggest busybody in the building. Neighbors called her 007. Easing past him, afraid something bad might happen if I touched him, I slid my key into the lock, went inside. He came in behind me, locked the door.

    “Sorry about this,” he said. “I thought you’d be down by now.”

    A jolt of memory rammed through me, made me feel like biting down on my tongue. I squinted, fighting the sudden stab of pain behind my eyes. “How come you look my reflection?”

    He threw himself onto the couch, just the way I did at the end of a hard day, put his feet up in the exact spot I would have. “You’ve got it wrong,” he said. “You’re the one who came through the mirror, not me.”

    “Get off my couch,” I said.

    “Clones are designed with holographic memories,” he said. “Enough to get by at a cocktail party. I should have left a termination order this morning. I forgot.”

    Adrenaline sloshed through my blood, made the sunlight coming through the wall-sized window hurt my eyes. “You’re wrong. I remember everything.”

    He pulled out a cell phone, gave me a curious look. “What was your third wife’s name?”

    I opened my mouth to tell him, but nothing came out. All I remembered was three divorces. Three women; no names, just beautiful faces.

    Maybe I didn’t have three ex-wives, and maybe that wasn’t my apartment, but the heart thudding in my chest, it was mine, and was going to do whatever I could to keep it beating.

    The lamp on the wood table beside the couch was so light, it felt like a toy. But the table was mahogany. I swung it at his head, turned my face so his brains wouldn’t splatter on me, then I ran.


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