Short Story Competition results announced – guest judge Bel Mooney @fromewriters @FromeNubNews @FromeTimes #shortstory #writing

July 7, 2020 - Martin

The Frome Festival Short Story Competition organisers are delighted to announce the winners of the 2020 contest, chosen by our guest judge, author and broadcaster, Bel Mooney.


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 (writers living within 25 miles of Frome Library), chosen by Frome writer and tutor, Alison Clink:

First Place: Air Freshener and Jam, by Jill Warrener

Runner -up: Missing the Boat, by Vivian Oldaker


Many congratulations to our winners! The Short Story Competition organisers be getting in touch with those placed this week. A heartfelt thanks to all who took part and shared their stories.

If you would like to read winning entries from previous years, and for the long list please click here.

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. Finally 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:
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.
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.
There is a whole novel in miniature here – one which packs a surprise which leaves you in tears.

Signup to our Newsletter