Birmingham Book Festival – Short Story Competition Winners

I’ve been reading the winning stories from the Birmingham Book Festival’s short story competition.

The theme was ‘Clocks’ and this was another of those competitions that I had every intention of entering but then… well, I ran out of time. Ha ha.

I loved the winner, ‘Wheel On The Wall‘ by Richard Stokes. It’s gripping from the very first line and – well, read it for yourself and then see if you agree with what the judge Judith Allnatt has to say about it and indeed, the runners-up too, here.

I didn’t think the runners-up were quite as good. They felt a little stylised and self-conscious. I was too aware of the writer ‘writing’ them and trying too hard. But you might like them, or even prefer them to the winner. See what you think.

The main thing is, all of those writers actually made they effort. They wrote something and submitted it. And well done to all of them. It’s more than I did.

Which reminds me of a recent quote from Louise Doughty, moderator (and competition judge) of the Telegraph Short Story Club.

She recalled, in a recent post on the Telegraph website, the ‘five rules an English professor gave me when I told him I wanted to be a writer’:

1. Write
2. Submit what you write
3. Keep on writing
4. Keep on submitting
5 Keep on writing and submitting

Wise words!

If you live in or around Birmingham, you might be interested in going along to the prize-giving ‘Short Story Competition Celebratory Reception’ on the evening of 19th April, at which the winner and runners-up will be reading from their stories. It’s a free event, run by Writing West Midlands.

You just have to book your place here.

This entry was posted in Competitions, Events, Short Stories, West Midlands and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Birmingham Book Festival – Short Story Competition Winners

  1. JohnY says:

    Helen, OMG, Richard Stokes,,what a great story, superbly written a well deserved winner
    made me want to protect that little boy and as for his father,,, ooh!( rest deleted)

    • John – glad you thought the same as me! There was so much left ‘unsaid’ in that story, wasn’t there? And because the reader was able to fill in the gaps, it was much more engaging and affecting, than if we’d been told everything. A worthy winner indeed.


  2. Agreed – that winning story was fantastic!

  3. Maggie May says:

    What a gripping story. Emotionally powerful. I also love being able to imagine the outcome of the story myself.

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