The Writers Bureau Short Story Competition 2019
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2020 Flash Fiction Winners


First place - Gail Anderson with Grimm

Second place - Denny Jace with The Artist

Third place - Hilary Austin with The Last Visit


The Judges' Comments

This year we had a great shortlist (see below) but the top three were so close together that we had real difficulty deciding how to place them. Eventually we chose ‘Grimm’ because it was so slick.

Taking a fairy story and giving it a modern twist is a common writers’ group exercise and in every competition we see a few of these. To be honest, they’re often not particularly good. But this was an exception.

It managed to incorporate more than one tale, and it did this seamlessly. It also maintained the feeling of surrealism which is a prerequisite of all good fairy stories:

“The salon’s sign slid to block the door. The sinks smirked. The combs whistled. The blinds ran themselves down to the sills…” Definitely a winner!

As for ‘The Artist’ and ‘The Last Visit’ both are well written, but what put them on the winning list is the exceptionally well-executed twist-in-the-tale at the end of each. Managing to tell an interesting story and yet still achieve such an unexpected denouement takes some doing – especially when you’ve only got 500 words in which to achieve it.

So congratulations to all three winners and we hope to see the same high standard in the coming year’s Flash Fiction competition.

2020 Flash Fiction Short List

in alphabetical order

Gail Anderson - Grimm

Hilary Austin - The Last Visit

Ruth Clarke-Irons - Wrecked

Frances Colville - The Call of the Merman

Georgia Cook - Dance Partners

Dorothy Cox - The Teapot

Martin Cusack - Bridges End

Amanda Jane Davies - My House Smells

Rowena Fishwick - Beware of the Dog

Pamela Gough - The Spark

Denny Jace - The Artist

Anne Lawson - Expectations

Julia Marshall - Dressing for Dinner

Rose New - Social Anthropology

Garath Power - The Creeping Waves

Morgan Quinn - Janie McDonald's Inventory of Lost Things: 1983-1997

Anjali Ramayya - The Drowning

Chrissy Sturt - Radio Hack

Julia Thorley - Altogether Now


If your story didn't make the final 19 then take a look at these seven tips to help you identify where you may have gone wrong.



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