2020 Long-list and past winners


And here are the winners:

Main Competition
  • First Place: Peace Offering, by Elizabeth Pratt

  • Second Place: The Prodigal Robin, by Louise G Cole

  • Third Place: Missing the Boat, by Vivian Oldaker

Local Prize
  • First Place: Air Freshener and Jam, by Jill Warrener

  • Runner -up: Missing the Boat, by Vivian Oldaker

Judge’s comments
As we are unable to hold an awards ceremony this year, our judge, Bel Mooney, has kindly shared her comments on the winning stories and on the demands of the short story form:
Thank you for the honour of judging the 2020 Frome Festival Short Story Competition – which I can assure you was not easy. Reading and re-reading these stories took me back to the days when I wrote many short stories myself and had them published in magazines – and understood what a difficult craft it is.  They are now on my website – and I look at them now as critically as ever. The short story form is much tougher than people realise. In a novel you can stretch your limbs and wander about, but a short story has to get to the point. A high jump rather than a cross country event. 
 ALL these entries [the shortlist] are highly commended and I can find words of praise for every single one.  They all display that ‘imaginative sympathy for all living things, sinful and righteous alike’ which was deemed essential by the poet W.B.Yeats. And to be on the shortlist means they are all well-written. So a good entry – all congratulated by this writer who gave up writing her own short stories and novels a while ago but is an avid devourer of the work of others! 
My winners are as follows:
First: PEACE OFFERING
I award this first prize because the scenario is tantalising, the dialogue vivid, and the development enigmatic until the last paragraph – at which point the penny drops, and you are sent back to read the whole narrative again, admiring an economy that can contain so much.
Second:  THE PRODIGAL ROBIN
Here we have a universal human experience – that of the prodigal’s return – which will touch anybody who understands the potential agony of parent-child relationships. It encompasses ageing and change and anger and forgiveness – and was generous enough to offer a little flicker of hope at the end.
Third: MISSING THE BOAT
There is a whole novel in miniature here – one which packs a surprise which leaves you in tears.

Here is the short-list for the 2020 competition.

Air Freshener and Jam

At The Hotel Du Moulin

Father and Son

Flowers for Miss Havisham

Missing the Boat

Peace Offering

The Prodigal Robin

The Snake

The Uncle and the New Aunt

The Visitors

2020 Long-list

The following stories have been long-listed this year

(in alphabetical order)

A Family Gathering
A Lesson from a Turkish Cat
Air Freshener and Jam
At the Hotel du Moulin
Books do Furnish a Room
Cephalopod
Cherry Red
Dark Determination
Don’t Forget your Dancing Shoes
Eternal Vertere
Faking it
Father and Son
Fever
Flowers for Miss Havisham
Hands
It’s Later than you Think
Lost for Words
Missing the Boat
No Time to Dance
Old Man Henson
Painting over the Pictures
Peace Offering
The Bears of Mill Beach
The Gobbledygook
The Horse
The Prodigal Robin
The Real Fake News
The Snake
The Tiger
The Uncle and the New Aunt
The Visitors
The Wooing Group
Where’s Lisbeth?

Congratulations to all the writers.

Previous Years’ Winners

2019

First Place: Clare Reddaway – A Long Way From Home
Second Place: Richard Hughes – Is this the Fussen train?
Third Place: Jessica Fabrizius – Trapped in a Box

2018

First Place: Julie Evans — The Artist’s Last Model

Second Place: William Hillier — I am not Elena

Third Place (and local prize): Suzie Lockhart-Smith — Colouring in

2017

First Place:  Rhiannon Lewis – The Jugs Stay with the Dresser

Joint Second Place:  Jo Else – Mr Reginald’s Last Encounter

Joint Second Place: Mark Johnson – Hedgehopping

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