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Young Writers’ Short Story Competition 2017 – Winners

After receiving 188 entries, totalling more than 550,000 words, we finally have our winners for this year’s Short Story Competition…

1st place (£150)

“Laboratory Angel” by Holly Kybett Smith

Laboratory Angel came from a mixture of places inside me. It’s my grudge against those who have the power to protect the environment and choose not to, teamed up with my everyday frustrations as a cashier dealing with disrespectful customers. It’s also a testament to my love for science and science-fiction. Writing it was a very cathartic experience, as it allowed me to channel my feelings into questions and, at the same time, try and find answers. I wrote this story largely to challenge ethics in science; to open conversations about what’s okay and what isn’t, based largely on who it hurts and who it heals.

2nd place (£75)

“Tom Ladd’s Run” by Matt George Lovett

The idea behind ‘Tom Ladd’s Run’ came from similar real-life incidents throughout early modern history. The tales of Florena Budwin, Malinda Blalock, Hannah Snell and thousands like them who had the sheer strength of character to fly in the face of everything society told them. The drive someone like that would have is almost unimaginable, and I found that extremely compelling to write about. The setting came from the 100th anniversary remembrances of WW1, and in particular the album ‘Centenary’ by folk group Show Of Hands. I’ve wanted to do a piece set in that period since that album was first released, and ‘Tom Ladd’ seemed the perfect opportunity. I’m deeply interested in using gender in my writing; playing with stereotypes and preconceptions to create unusual character dynamics. So with ‘Tom Ladd’ I wanted to keep that idea at the heart. To see how readers would understand that central character, and how that understanding would change between the tale’s beginning and end.

3rd place (£25)

“The Brave Rainbow” by Malaeka Kazmi

A highly emotional tale of friendship and courage in a war-torn country.

We would like to thank all our entrants. There were some excellent submissions, across many genres. Some were terrifying, some were hilarious and many were thought-provoking. It’s encouraging to know that there is such abundant young talent out there.