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2007 Results

For full details of the results, choose a category:

Results Table Intro Novel Short Story Poetry

Novel Category

FIRST PRIZE - Rachel Moses

SECOND PRIZE - Alun Williams


Short Story Category

FIRST PRIZE - Alison Theaker

SECOND PRIZE - Sian Hughes

THIRD PRIZE - Anna Reynolds

Poetry Category

FIRST PRIZE - Gabriel Griffin

SECOND PRIZE - Bill Greenwell

THIRD PRIZE - Anthony Watts

This year, as always, the judges have been struck by the originality and diversity of the short story and novel entries. We have applauded the quality of the entries and been in turn, moved, amused, caught up in tension, and transported to other worlds. It has been a privilege to read your work. For your information there were 178 novels, 297 short stories and 236 poems entered this year. And as always it was difficult to arrive at a conclusion, but we did. How? For the Novels and Short Stories it was the fiction that stayed with us longest, that had an integrity, an originality, an emotional depth, plus writing to die for, that gathered up the prizes. With Poetry, there are some poems which immediately make a favourable impression and others whose qualities are much slower to make themselves known. Some you warm to despite their flaws; others, in spite of their obvious virtues, leave you cold for no reason you can really put your finger on. There are specific reports on the placed entries, but what of the others? Why didn’t they quite make it to the top of the pile?

Many Short Stories and Novels were crafted to perfection but just missed on that indefinable ‘something’ – that inspirational voice that lifts the fiction to another level. It will come. Some had original voices that have soared, but which failed structurally. For instance, in several there was no theme, just a story, and fiction needs that deeper level of meaning, that human problem or experience which the story explores, to truly engage, and make the fiction worthwhile. Some aspiring writers had not yet achieved the ability to empathise with their characters, and create living breathing protagonists, antagonists and mentors. Empathy is essential in order to draw the reader into the world the writer is creating. It’s hard because a certain lack of inhibition is needed for the writer to truly engage in the created characters, to BE them, and feel what they are feeling in any given situation.

What is special about a Poem sometimes only emerges when you have lived with it for a while and really got to know it. What makes a poem a winner is a combination of originality, craft and something much more difficult to define, which has to do with a feeling of emotional truth and integrity, a sense that the poet has taken a risk and it has paid off. Titles are important. A good one adds something to the poem, catches the reader’s interest and makes them want to read on, but many struggled to find an original and appropriate title. Many were flat and uninspired, often a single word or short phrase lifted from the poem. Some poems tried to do something original, but couldn’t quite pull it off. Some poems were well crafted, but the subject matter seemed trite. Some treated serious themes, but were let down by essentially prosy language or an uneven structure or a moralising or sentimentalising attitude. The winning and commended poems improved with each reading. New layers of emotion and meaning revealed themselves. They proved truthful, authentic and complete.

the Judging Team

(the final judging by Penny Deacon, crime writer; author of 'A Kind of Puritan' and 'A Thankless Child'.)
The total number of entries for this category was 178. Results are as follows:
First Prize
Rachel Moses Razzi Bazzi Bazaar UK
Penny Deacon comments: This is a winner for me because of its confident writing and individual voice. There is an emotional depth to the main character, Daisy, which made me want to know what happens to her. She is vulnerable and appealing without being weak or sentimental. I also loved the author’s ability to use the small details which create a cultural divide. The writer has an acute sense of place and the ability to show this without a heavy burden of description, and without any resort to stereotypes. The writer’s willingness to use a range of tone and colour, from the seriousness of grief and growing up to the comedy of communication failures is admirable. This assured opening convinced me that there was a real story waiting to be told which would require the full length of a novel for its exploration.
Rachel tells us that she grew up in various vicarages in the Midlands and South-east of England and, after working in Pakistan and London for several years, now lives in a market town near the Yorkshire Dales. She works part time with pupils with learning disabilities and when not writing loves digging her allotment and walking in the hills near her home. She began Razzi Bazzi Bazaar seven years ago when her daughters started school. It is her first novel. She is working on a collection of short stories; one story, ‘The Birthday Party’ was published in an anthology this year.
Second Prize
Alun Williams Tales from a City Asylum UK
Penny Deacon comments: The synopsis for this novel led me to expect self-indulgence and I was both delighted and surprised by the quality of the writing I actually found. There is a mix of humour and pathos and a very real sense of the individuality of the narrator. The use of domestic details (not just the music) anchor a story, which could have wallowed in whimsy, in a very real time and place in America. Concrete details, a lack of ornamentation and over-writing, engage the reader and made me care about what would happen to the narrator. I finished this opening feeling confident that the writer would handle the complex series of relationships suggested in the synopsis with sympathy and wit.
Alun tells us that he is 52 and lives in North Wales. He has 6 children (not much to do here!) although only one is left at home, and also 1 grandchild. Most of his writing has been on Internet forums such as East of the Web, Zoetrope and Critters Bar (which he strongly recommends where new members are always welcome: check it out at He has had several shorts published in Cambrensis, Bonfire, The Write Side Up and Secret Attic. He loves the stories of Charles Bukowski and also Salinger and Raymond Chandler. He recently came second in the Kings Lynn Writing Competition with "Postcard from Cairo". He will now put some effort into finishing "Tales from a City Asylum".
Third Prize
RV Jones The Bella Archipelago UK
Penny Deacon comments: The central idea behind this story is a delightful and subversive concept. It is inventive and original and shows a sharp insight into the language and structures of a certain sort of popular women’s fiction. I laughed aloud at some of its absurdities. The tone of the writing made it very readable but eventually it becomes a little predictable in its knowingness. Perhaps the story should reach the level of political satire more quickly – as it stands the idea does not have enough depth to sustain a full-length novel.
Highly Commended
David Evans Something Forbidden UK
Jackie Gingell EEE EYE ADDYEO UK
Jessica Gordon The Geometry of Heaven UK
Tanya Gupta The Amaryllis Season UK
Chris Hill The Longing UK
Kathryn Allen The Salt Factory UK
Donald P.H. Eaton Faith USA
Lily Garth The Company of Blondes UK
Penelope Gingell Amor UK
Sara Jane Green A Tale of Two Sisters Australia
Janet Hancock The Door of Darkness UK
Helen Kitson Bad Blood UK
Angela Lett The Keepsake UK
Lorraine Mace Bad Moon Rising France
David Manderson Lost Bodies UK
(the final judging by Elizabeth Buchan, bestselling international author whose latest novel is the acclaimed 'The Second Wife'.)
The total number of entries for this category was 297. Results are as follows:
First Prize
Alison Theaker Road Trip UK
Elizabeth Buchan comments: I think this had a daring about it. Again the ease and confidence of the narration was impressive. Kerouac's On the Road is somewhere there in the background as the mentor of this piece but not slavishly so. Its cool immorality, its willingness to take risks, its subversive humour, and its first class dialogue mark it out as - not necessarily as likeable as The Darras - but in a higher class.
Voice - 9,   Technique - 9
Alison tells us that she has wanted to be an author since she was 7, but a well meaning teacher advised her to do something more lucrative. She worked in journalism and public relations and has taught in HE for the past ten years. She has lived all over the UK and also in the US and likes to use her travels as background to her writing. Road Trip was inspired by a 4000 mile drive she took across the US, when she moved back to the UK in 2004. She lives in Devon with her husband Rod and children Aaron and Ella. She won the Devon Life short story competition in December 2005 and the Frome Festival short story competition July 2006. She is now working on her third (unpublished) novel set in Victorian Brixham.
Second Prize
Sian Hughes The Darras UK
Elizabeth Buchan comments: This was excellent. Hugely atmospheric and skilfully evoked. Both adults and children had real substance. There is a suggestion of menace/tragedy from the word go and the writing displays an ease and confidence which allows the reader to relax into the story. It manages to do what a good story always does - which is to frame around the narrative - the drowning of Harry - a wider point or revelation. In this case, the death of a child's trust and innocence in an adult.
Voice - 8,   Technique - 8
Sian tells us that she has a degree in English and Philosophy and is a journalist, formerly with the Mirror group, later freelancing. Lives in London, and has worked in London and in New York. Is married, with two daughters and a grandson. Turned to fiction writing (short stories) ten years ago, after a course in creative writing at O.U.D.C.E (Oxford Department of Continuing Education).
Third Prize
Anna Reynolds The Bleeding Heart UK
Elizabeth Buchan comments: I thought this had great atmosphere and a kind of intensity that drew you in. It is also very skilfully atmospheric. You can see this wedding and we have all attended them. The troubled, yearning woman and her needs are well suggested. Some of the shifts in POV are a little awkward. In the end, I was not sure the writer quite knew where it was going and brought to an end in a slightly cliched manner.
Voice - 7,  Technique – 6
Anna tells us that she has written over 15 stage plays that have been produced nationally and internationally. Her most recent work includes the opera Push!, 2006; the stage play Blue Sky State, for Colchester Mercury, 2006, and she is currently under commission to the Royal Opera House and Trestle Theatre Company. She has written for the Guardian, the Observer, New Statesman, and many other newspapers and magazines. She has had short stories published in anthologies and magazines, and a novel, Insanity, published by 4th Estate. She teaches creative writing online ( which she also co-founded and edits, and runs a variety of writing workshops in the community, working with anyone who wants to write and express themselves. She is the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Westminster.
Highly Commended
Rohn Hopper Metamorphosis UK
Sue Johnson You Sexy Thing You UK
Andrea Owen An Oral History UK
Dennis Patterson Winner Take All UK
Mark Wagstaff Too Much Jazz UK
Anna Abbott A Child of Circumstance UK
Isabel Bermudez Coming to Talk to You UK
Douglas Bruton Guilty of Dreaming UK
Vanessa Byham Marcel’s Last Wave UK
Lily Garth Love’s Jungian Dream? UK
Kate Kelly Triumphant UK
Kathleen McGurl The World of Michael O’Sullivan UK
James Muir Grief UK
Liz Pike The Economist UK
Bridget Shirley Johannes Australia
Simon Ward The Mystery Room UK
(the final judging by Chrissy Banks , whose career has spanned 20 years;
full collection 'Days of Fire and Flood' published in 2006.)
The total number of entries for this category was 236. Results are as follows:
First Prize
Gabriel Griffin Ipnos Italy
Chrissy Banks comments: There is a humane and quietly measured narrative voice in command here. It works through emotional understatement, reportage of closely observed details, and - Coleridge’s recipe for success – the best words in the best order.
Three stories run side by side: the farmer’s, that of his ox, Ipnos and the broader story of how creeping agricultural mechanisation made working farm animals redundant. The relationship between master and ox in this poem has been one of loyal interdependence. But change is coming. The poet tells it how it is and does not flinch. It is hard as the reader not to.
Gabriel tells us that following a childhood in Wales, she now lives on a tiny island on Lake Orta in north Italy and is the creator and organiser of poetry and literary events: among them the annual Poetry on the Lake spring international poetry competition and the autumn festival, both now in their 7th year and published in the Purple Guide to Turin and Piedmont, ( ). An annual anthology of selected poems is published. Past activities include events and seminars on community communication for the Venice Biennale, exhibitions and cultural events in Milan and Umbria. She is the author of handbooks on the use of video in communities and articles on folklore and local history and has been prized in poetry competitions and published in magazines and anthologies 1996-2007. Some of her poems can be found at:
Second Prize
Bill Greenwell X UK
Chrissy Banks comments: X made on me an immediate impact. This was clearly a writer who has lived with poetry and learnt the craft well. It is an inventive, original, playful piece, sometimes amusing, sometimes moving, as it reminds and informs us of the wide variety of identities of the letter x. Its historical and cultural reference points are many whilst the poet’s facility with form, language and style lifts the poem beyond a mere exercise in what x stands for. The tight structure employs skilfully run-on lines and satisfyingly effective rhyming couplets. I would like to see what this poet can do with a weightier subject matter.
Bill tells us that he was born in Sunderland in 1952, and is currently Lecturer in Creative Writing at the Open University. He was New Statesman's weekly poet from 1994 to 2002. His first poetry collection, "Impossible Objects", was published in 2006 by Cinnamon, and shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. He won the Mail on Sunday £5000 poetry prize in 2004. He lives in Devon, where he worked as head of Performing Arts and English at Exeter College for many years, until freelancing as a writer and teacher from 2001, including teaching online for the University of Exeter, and on the MA in Professional Writing at University College, Falmouth.
Third Prize
Anthony Watts Invasion UK
Chrissy Banks comments: The experience in this poem is in some ways a familiar one to most of us: a summer night, windows open and lights on. In flutter the moths and take up position on walls and ceiling. But this poet has had the curiosity and good sense to discover the names of these creatures: Blood Vein, Ruby Tiger, Rosy Footman among others, all beautiful and evocative. But the poem is not just a list of names. It works through a combination of specific detail, vivid images and skilfully constructed free verse. In the final stanza the moths are back outside, ‘believed in/having once been seen.’
Anthony tells us that he has been writing seriously for about 36 years. He has had several poems published in magazines and received a number of competition prizes. He has two published collections to his name: Strange Gold (KQBX Press) and The Talking Horses of Dreams (Iron Press). Rural Somerset has been his home for most of his life and he has no plans to leave it. His main interests in life are poetry, music and walking.
Highly Commended
Anna Wigley Soldier UK
John Wheway In Shining Armour UK
Sean Dagan Wood Potatoes UK
Pat Borthwick Bob-a-jobbing UK
Roy Hinks November UK
Njeri Massimo The African Woman UK
Lynn Smith Never less than white UK
David Mark Williams Shadow Child UK
David Mark Williams In a Railway Station UK