‘Secret’ – 15 June 2017
We asked you to tell us a secret – and a huge number of you clearly had something you wanted to get off your chest. We were thrilled by the response and, as always, the judges had a difficult time choosing the winners.
You told us about infidelity, unrequited love and characters hiding a criminal past. We read about secret art classes, sinister lifelike dolls and offers that were too good to be true.
The judges particularly enjoyed Barbara Young’s ‘Behind the Smile’, the story of a hospital visit with a truly shocking sting in the tail. ‘Baby Bunting’ by Helen Kampfner was also a highlight, beautifully capturing her central character’s nerves as she prepares to meet her father’s secret second family. We were also impressed by Rowena Fishwick’s ‘Life with Roses’, a story where the distinction between secrets and lies is blurred as two girls take revenge on an unsuspecting stranger.
We’ve published four winning stories this time. While all very different, they all share an important quality – the ability to transport you to another place.
- ‘Ten Thousand’ by Melissa Jones is the beautifully-written story of a family coming to terms with serious illness. The judges were particularly impressed by the way Melissa carefully weaves together so many different scenes to craft a genuinely moving story. She is a worthy winner of our £100 first prize.
- ‘Love, lies and literacy’ by Frances Johnstone is truly a tale for austerity times. Carl and Netta’s struggle for the qualifications they need to earn a little more money working in the National Health Service is warm, funny and inspiring. Frances creates two wonderful characters and we are delighted to give her our second prize of £50.
We have published two third prize stories, which each win £25.
- ‘Corellas’ by Alex Hayman opens with a girl watching a boy play football. With vivid physical descriptions and a keen ear for authentic dialogue, Alex skilfully focuses on the events of just half an hour, leaving the reader wondering what will happen to his characters next.
- ‘Shuffle’ by Charles Benjamin Lovell is a mysterious and intriguing tale. The judges were impressed both by the author’s vivid imagination and the big ideas at the story’s heart. The narrator has a strong and unusual voice, one we had to give you the opportunity to hear.
Congratulations to all our winners. We hope you’ll be inspired to enter our next competition. Give us a kiss by 31 August.