Thankfully, short story writing was unaffected by lockdown and stories arrived as usual from all areas of the UK and from overseas. Although restrictions were still in force — just — for the competition prize-giving, we were able to take advantage of the wet-weather canopy provided by the Festival for ECOS, Frome’s Merlin Theatre’s outdoor stage, to announce the results on Sunday July 11th.
Local author Frances Liardet judged this year’s shortlist. In saying how much she had enjoyed judging the shortlist, she commented on how the successful stories each contained a subtle shift in mood, or in a character’s attitude, which somehow altered the reader’s understanding. Frances awarded first place to ‘Your Call’ by Tony Peake, from Essex. Tony was unable to attend the prize-giving, but his story was ably read by Michael Hoskinson, from Frome Drama Club. Second place went to Arleen McCombie from Scotland with ‘North Ridge’ and third place to Jimmy Lowther from Bradford on Avon with ‘Kingfisher. Jimmy also shared the local first prize with Bath writer Stella Townson, with her story ‘Butch’. These and other ‘highly commended’ entries can be read on the competition website, www.fromeshortstorycompetition.co.uk .
Congratulations to our talented winners, but thanks also to all the entrants, whose support makes the competition possible, and to everyone involved in reading, shortlisting and judging the stories.