Short story competition winners 2009

When we launched our annual short story competition in association with the Costa Book Awards back in May, we were delighted when hundreds of entries came flooding in. Here, we are pleased to announce the finalists and publish the winning entry.

The panel included Sue James (middle) and (clockwise from left) Costa Book Awards director Bud McLintock, author Marina Lewycka, w&h assistant editor (features) Victoria Young, w&h books editor Fanny Blake, director of LAW literary agency Araminta Whitley, and author Marian Keyes.

The Rain in Spain by Catriona Stewart

Catriona, 58, is retired from her job in local government and lives in Powys, Wales, with her husband Michael. She has four grown-up children.
The story: A thought-provoking tale of a couple holidaying in Majorca.
Judges say: A very atmospheric, visual piece of writing that is very well written. It explores a long-term relationship, without resorting to cliché, and ends on a moment of hope - without suggesting that everything is solved.

Spring Cleaning by Arleen McCombie

Arleen, 31, is training to be an archivist and lives near Aberdeen.
The story: An adult's emotional recollection of an unsolved murder that took place in her childhood.
Judges say: Very well constructed and complex; Arleen has the potential to be a published writer.

A Touch of Light by Nicola Warwick

Nicola, 45, works for her local council and lives in Ipswich.
The story: A stranger has an unexpected effect on a mother and her child.
Judges say: An ambitious take on a common theme.

In the Lap of the Dogs by Jackie Moffat
Jackie, 55, lives in the Eden Valley in Cumbria and runs a smallholding.
The story: A topical look at life after redundancy.
Judges say: Entertaining and draws the reader in.

From Here to Uncertainty by Sarah Letton
Sarah, 35, lives in Monmouthshire.
The story: Flirtations verge on dangerous.
Judges say: The writing had a nice, light touch.

City Break by Cathie Hartigan
Cathie, 53, is a creative writing teacher and lives in Exeter.
The story: A woman tries to escape her marriage.
Judges say: Original, with good metaphors.

Fragile by Cathy Bryant
Cathy, 42, is a performance poet and lives in Manchester.
The story: A relationship between an artist and client proves to be life changing.
Judges say: A well-paced, magic-realism-style story.

Turned Out For The Best by Anne Mould
Anne, 51, is a medical secretary and lives in Endon, Staffordshire.
The story: A humorous narrative of a schoolgirl.
Judges say: Evocative and well written.

A Hat with Pheasant Feathers by Janet Kipling
Janet, 42, a PR consultant and yoga teacher, lives in Exeter.
The story: A celebrity impersonator puts on a public appearance, but there's more to her than meets the eye.
Judges say: Lots of fun; charming and engaging.

An Unexpected Move by Ros Wallis
Ros, 42, works part-time for a local charity and lives in Bristol.
The story: A man walks away from the certainty of a relationship in this journey into the unknown.
Judges say: A bright story with a credible male character at its centre.





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