The Yeovil Literary Prize

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Recent Successes

Read about our most recent successes.

2024 YCAA Book Group

The YCAA book group meets in Yeovil in the Westlands Entertainment Venue's Lounge every second Tuesday of the month from 12 noon until 2pm. We read a wide selection of books as suggested by people who come along. You would be welcome! Details can be found on

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2017 Results

For full details of the results, choose a category:

Results Table Report Novel Short Story Poetry Writing Without Restrictions

Novel Category

FIRST PRIZE - Beena Kamlani

SECOND PRIZE - Gabriel Griffin

THIRD PRIZE - Kelly Van Nelson


Short Story Category

FIRST PRIZE - Gillian Brown

SECOND PRIZE - Jez Hodesdon

THIRD PRIZE - Lindsay Fisher

Poetry Category

FIRST PRIZE - Django Wylie

SECOND PRIZE - Alice Herve

THIRD PRIZE - Elizabeth Tate

Writing Without Restrictions

FIRST PRIZE - Marion Molteno


THIRD PRIZE - Peter Burgham

The Western Gazette Best Local Writer Award

The Western Gazette Best Local Writer Award has been won by Peter Roe, of Bridport, Dorset. His entry, War of Words in the Writing Without Restriction category, was longlisted. Congratulations Peter! You can meet Peter at the Yeovil Literary Prize Past Winners' event at the Yeovil Literary Festival where he will receive his prize.

Report for 2017 Yeovil Literary Prize

"I can't thank the organisers and judges of The Yeovil Literary Prize enough for giving international writers in every corner of the world a platform to share work and hopefully shine!"

We are very proud to share that quote from one of our winners this year, because it is our aim to encourage all forms of writing, and to give opportunity to aspiring writers everywhere. From a local heartfelt aim we open our arms to the world of writing. The word ‘international’ has certainly been confirmed this year. When the long lists emerged from the pleasurable task of judging the four categories, details of the authors generated a sense of pride in our competition.

The written word enables authors to conjure scenarios wherever they happen to be in the world. Lists are generally avoided by writers as they tend to distract from the story, but we thought we should share a list of where our writers live whilst juggling their winning words. Shall we start at the bottom of the world and work up with New Zealand, Tasmania, Australia, Pune in India, Cameroon in West Africa, California, Bulgaria, New York, North Vancouver, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Eire, England, Scotland and Norway? We have been delighted to see the rise in entry numbers, and the parts of the world from which they have come.

We learn so much from the voices writers create to people novels and short stories; the places in which you set your stories and the cultural differences telling a story in a slightly different way. We are always left wondering where novels will take the readers, and inspired by the myriad styles of writing in our Writing Without Restrictions category.

Thank you to everyone who entered this year and we hope you continue to find our international writing competition is the place for you to share your work and to try for the highest goal possible, publication. We know agents watch our site and we are pleased to be instrumental in bringing the writer and the publisher together. Our SUCCESS tab will show you who has taken that step and what happened next.


Brianna Beerhler was certainly a superb find for our novel category judge. She had probably the hardest decisions to make this year as the standard was so extremely high and the genres so diverse. There were the top three, but another novel kept jockeying for position so Brianna made it Very Highly Commended.

She said “It has been a pleasure and an honor to judge the novel category for the Yeovil Literary Prize. From the moment that I learned about the Yeovil Community Arts Association in Richard Booth’s Bookshop at the Hay Festival two years ago, I knew that I wanted to be a part of this organization and its commitment to discovering and encouraging new voices.

All of the short-listed novels examine the tenuous line between pain and desire, the idea of “home,” and the moments in which these thresholds are irrevocably crossed. From these the winning novels were selected based on their ability to sustain and develop those ideas, creating works that keep the reader turning (and returning to) pages, well and deep into the night.”

Thank you Brianna. In each of our novels this year it was noticeable how important the ‘voices’ of the main characters were; dialog moves a story along but the reader must believe in the characters and be moved enough to want to know what the future holds for them. The strength of a novel is the needing to know what happens next; the page turning urge that keeps us involved.

This year we have seen two past entrants succeed by having their novels published. David Young has seen the second of his six-book publishing deal, Stasi Wolf, follow the success that his first book Stasi Child, which came third in the Yeovil Literary Prize, enjoyed.

Another published novel we applaud is Under the Pipal Tree by Anjana Choudhury. You can meet both David and Anjana at the Past Winners event at the Yeovil Literary Festival on Friday 27 October at 10am in the Johnson Studio of the Octagon Theatre.

Short Story

We love everything that our judge, Anna Wilson, writes. She judged the YCAA’s children’s short story competition last year and we were delighted when she became our judge for this short story category. Anna told us that it was tough to judge and added, “Stories were written in different tenses and from varying points of view; different styles and forms of story-telling were used and the themes and ideas were all distinct and original. I feel honoured to have been asked to judge this excellent competition. Keep writing, everyone!”

Thank you Anna, and with that encouragement we must now pick up our pens and venture forth into a story that will suddenly appear. Writers are asked where ideas for stories come from, and I’m sure most of us can honestly answer that we don’t actually know; they materialise, and the seed starts growing. This category is far harder to perfect than people realise, so mastering the craft of the short story is challenging for any writer.


This year there were just under 400 entries and our judge, David Wheatley, read and judged them all. We were delighted to have such a highly regarded published poet as part of our competition. David commented “…The best poems I read combined romantic rapture and a mindfulness of the ordinary world in which these raptures have their roots. Above all, they achieved the moment of lift-all in which true poetry achieves its being, whether in the artful line-break, the revelatory image, the startling rhyme, or the startling last line.”

All poets have that succinct perspective by using a few words to convey so much, making them and their words admired the world over. Thank you David for being such a knowledgeable and talented judge.

Writing Without Restrictions

What a pleasure it has been to have Kiran Millwood Hargrave as our judge for this category. Kiran won the poetry category of Yeovil Literary Prize and then went on to become a best-selling, award-winning novelist. Her debut novel The Girl of Ink and Stars must surely be a children’s classic. Her range of writing made Kiran the ideal judge for our wide-open Writing Without Restriction category. Thank you for being the perfect judge.

We receive amazing comments about this exciting opportunity for every style of writing to be entered, and were overwhelmed by the variety and superb quality of writing in every genre possible. Freedom to write is vitally important and must be nurtured for all age groups. As children we usually start with a diary; we then explore poetry and write extremely short tales; we end up as novelists, poets and writers, that is the spirit of the written word. Texts and blogs are fun and another expression of words.


It is always a pleasure to read the entries and we are looking forward to your sharing amongst writers everywhere details of this important, international writing competition. Use social media – tell the world. We hope agents and publishers who read our website will give those who are recognised a further chance of success. We know writers are good at spreading the word among their writing groups and friends, so feel free to carry on the good work.

2018 Yeovil Literary Prize

Our 2018 Yeovil Literary Prize opens on 1st January, so start those ideas and plots developing, and always look for that piece of excellent writing you were not sure what to do with, and you’ll be ready to enter.

Our novel category judge is Annie Burrows. Annie is well known for her Ivy + Bean series for children; she has also had success writing for young adults, and in addition she is the co-author, with her aunt Mary Ann Shaffer, of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which was a New York Times best-seller. Her next novel The Truth According To Us shows our choice of Annie as judge for our novel category to be a sound one. We met her in the Yeovil Waterstones and were immediately sure we had found our judge. Welcome Annie.

For the short stories our judge is the exceptional writer Victoria Hislop. We are delighted to have Victoria as part of our competition. We admire the amount of research, the detailed historical fact, and how her characters affected by circumstances beyond their control, are woven into a gripping story. Her collection of short stories is wonderful and after reading them we knew immediately that she would be our perfect judge. Welcome Victoria.

Poetry for 2018 will be judged by the experienced Irish poet Katie Donavan, Winner of 2017 Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award, she was also Shortlisted for the 2017 Irish Times/Poetry Now Prize. One reader responded to Katie’s latest poetry collection, “Off Duty” (2016) with “I cannot remember when I was moved so deeply by any writing”. Welcome to Katie who will be our perfect poetry judge for 2018.

Writing Without Restriction is an inspirational category and requires a judge with far-reaching writing experience. This year we have Michael Jecks, who can quite rightly be called ‘the master of the medieval murder’. He is a prolific writer and understands the need to write in all of us. Having met Michael at a YCAA event, we know we have the perfect judge for our Writing Without Restrictions category. Welcome Michael.

Western Gazette Best Local Writer Award

We award an additional prize in this international competition to the best local writer who lives within the distribution area of our local, weekly newspaper The Western Gazette. We encourage good writing home and away, so start spinning your stories.

We look forward to reading all your work and watching new talent emerge into the literary arena.

the Judging Team

Novel category Report

We had 409 novels entered this year.

Our judge, Brianna Beehler, is a Provost’s Fellow in English literature at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, CA. She received a BA in English from Tufts University and studied English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford as a visiting student. In addition to teaching writing and literature at USC, she writes literary criticism on the nineteenth-century novel, narrative theory, and communication systems; her current research project considers dolls as information conduits in the Victorian novel. She divides her time between Southern California and Oxford, UK.

Comment from our judge Brianna Beehler

It has been a pleasure and an honor to judge the novel category for the Yeovil Literary Prize. From the moment that I learned about the Yeovil Community Arts Association in Richard Booth’s Bookshop at the Hay Festival two years ago, I knew that I wanted to be a part of this organization and its commitment to discovering and encouraging new voices.

All of the short-listed novels examine the tenuous line between pain and desire, the idea of “home,” and the moments in which these thresholds are irrevocably crossed. From these the winning novels were selected based on their ability to sustain and develop those ideas, creating works that keep the reader turning (and returning to) pages, well and deep into the night.

FIRST – Beena Kamlani from New York who wrote WHEEL OF FORTUNE
Brianna commented:
With great patience, Wheel of Fortune dwells on brief flickers of understanding between characters who inhabit radically different worlds. These characters all express a deep desire to know; however, this beautifully written work also shows the ways in which a person may be guarded, secretive, or unable to comprehend or explain. A teacher asks her student for a picture of a house, and the student––thinking of the hovel she calls home––draws a pot of marigolds.
Beena Kamlani

Beena Kamlani

Beena Kamlani was born in Bombay, grew up in England, and moved to New York City after obtaining her master’s degree (in European Literature Since 1850). She has been deeply involved with books—her first love—as a writer, editor, and teacher. Her short fiction won a coveted Pushcart Prize and has been published in several journals and anthologies. She has also been awarded fellowships and residencies at Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and Hawthornden Castle, among others. She’s deeply grateful to the cities—Bombay, Lagos, London, Mexico City, and New York—that have nurtured her, challenged her, and inspired her work. She is completing a novel and a collection of short stories.

Beena will be reading an extract from her winning novel at the Yeovil Literary Prize Past Winners’ event at the Yeovil Literary Festival on Friday 27 October.

SECOND – Gabriel Griffin from Italy who wrote Monastery of the Nine Doors
Brianna commented:
From the opening, when a lorry loaded with cheaply manufactured refrigerators crushes a car pulled off the motorway, Monastery of the Nine Doors is a skillful interweaving of historical intrigue, mystery, and humor. The result is a work of art as evocative as those which the characters seek.

Gabriel Griffin

Gabriel Griffin

Gabriel Griffin lives on the antique island of San Giulio, Lake Orta, Italy ( ), where, in 2001, she founded and organises Poetry on the Lake events and international competition ( Her poems have often been prized and published in journals & anthologies: Temenos Academy Review, Orbis, Scintilla, Aesthetica, Sentinel, et al.( and she won the Yeovil Poetry Prize in 2007. Author: Along the old way: a pilgrimage from Orta to Varallo in the company of Samuel Butler (Wyvern Works 2010); St Giulio’s Isle, (Wyvern Works 2015), L’uomo verde nel Cusio (Le Rive 2001), Videomanual (Hoepli 1980), magazine articles.

THIRD – Kelly Van Nelson from Australia who wrote The Pinstripe Prisoner
Brianna commented:
At turns insightful, disturbing, and wrenching, The Pinstripe Prisoner is a deeply psychological portrait of one young man’s attempt to cope with a horrific event and its aftermath. While the present moves at a catastrophic speed, the narrator’s touching memories of his brother allow the reader to pause, reflect, and find peace.

Kelly Van Nelson

Kelly Van Nelson

Kelly Van Nelson was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne and she lived in London, Edinburgh, and Cape Town, before immigrating to Australia with her family. Her work has been inspired by the beauty and diversity of these parts of the world. In addition to writing, she is also on the executive team managing operations for a global HR, Staffing, and Technology Solutions provider. Her publication successes include poems, short stories, magazine articles, and reaching number one in the online charts. Her first novel, The Pinstripe Prisoner, was longlisted for the 2016 Exeter Novel Award and Kelly is thrilled her manuscript has now won third place in the prestigious 2017 Yeovil Literary Prize. She is represented by The Newman Agency and is currently working on her second novel. You can follow her on Twitter@kellyvannelson

VERY HIGHLY COMMENDED is Jackie Bateman from North Vancouver with Strength
Brianna commented:
Strength’s Scottish setting is a mix of “stale radiator air, carpet dust, and the lingering smell of boiled eggs.” From this bleak environment emerge the voices of Robbie and Kat, whom the author introduces with detail and intimacy, deftly balancing their voices and perspectives with the world in which they live.

Jackie Bateman

Jackie Bateman

Jackie Bateman lives in North Vancouver, an author and copywriter with two published novels in Canada. Her first novel Nondescript Rambunctious won a national first book competition, and has since grown into a trilogy of psychological thrillers. The second in the series, Savour, was shortlisted for the 2015 Relit Awards. The explosive finale, Straight Circles, will be published in Canada in Fall 2017. All three books are being translated into Dutch and French, and have been optioned by Calypso 35 Films for a multi-episode TV series. Strength is her debut novel in the YA genre.



SHORTLISTED (in no particular order)
Naomi Gibson (England) I, Henry
Claire Buckley (England) The Girl and the Icon
Jill Parker (England) The Beauty of Stayers
Rachel McHale (England) Eleven Bodies
John Kennedy (England) The Trauma Game
Sahlan Diver (Eire) Secret Resort of Nostalgia
LONGLISTED (in no particular order)
Luke Bramley (England) Lights Out at the Electric
Zoe Green (Switzerland) Ostlanders
Lorna Riley (England) Locusts
June Whitaker (Spain) Gabriel
Lynn McEwan (England) Nature of Dust
Margaret Callaghan (Scotland) This List of Things To Do.
Desmond Truscott (England) Skin of His Teeth
Timothy Heath (England) Off With Her Legs

Short Story Report

The number of short story entries this year was 365.

Our judge, Anna Wilson, started her career as a picture book editor at Macmillan Children’s Books and went on to be an editor at HarperCollins. She also freelanced for several years as a fiction editor for Bloomsbury and Puffin children’s book publishers.

Her writing career began once her children were born. Since then she has written and published over 35 picture books, short stories, poems and young fiction series. Kitten Chaos was chosen as a World Book Day book in 2010. Monkey Business, was shortlisted for the 2012 Hull Libraries Award and Summer’s Shadow, a book for young teens, was shortlisted for the 2015 Lancashire Book of the Year Award. The Parent Problem was chosen as a recommended read for the 2016 Summer Reading Challenge.

Anna’s latest book is Vlad the World’s Worst Vampire which will be published in September 2017. It is a comedy for middle-grade readers.

As well as writing, Anna gives talks, runs writing workshops in schools and teaches at Bath Spa University on the BA and MA creative writing courses. She will be a tutor on one of the prestigious Arvon Foundation courses in spring 2018.

Comment from our judge Anna Wilson

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this wide-ranging selection of entries for the Yeovil Literary Prize. There is clearly a lot of talent in the area and it was therefore very tough to judge the writing! Stories were written in different tenses and from varying points of view; different styles and forms of story-telling were used and the themes and ideas were all distinct and original. I feel honoured to have been asked to judge this excellent competition. Keep writing, everyone!

FIRST - Gillian Brown from France who wrote PLAYING WITH FIRE

Anna commented: This emotional piece crackles with tension. The use of present tense places the reader slap-bang into the scene and allies us with the narrator’s experience. The voice is convincing and well rendered, bringing the main character of Oliver sharply into focus. The dialogue zings along and gives the reader a clear sense of the psychiatrist and Oliver’s perception of him. The spare style keeps the tension building and the description is well crafted and not over-wrought. The presentation of this piece is very professional with a high standard of punctuation, grammar and syntax. This piece stands out for me, which is why I would like to recommend first prize to this writer. I feel this could be a sample from a novel. I would like to know more about Oliver.

Gillian Brown

Gillian Brown

Gillian Brown is Scottish by birth, yet has lived half her life in France. Her two major passions are writing and travel. Hence, her first successes came with travel writing, her articles being published in various UK publications, in particular Destination France and France Magazine. This takes a back seat now, as her heart lies in fiction.

Her short stories have been published in Writing Magazine, My Weekly, in anthologies and online, and she has won and been shortlisted in several competitions. She has entered the Yeovil competition once before and got nowhere, so is over the moon with this win, and could be celebrating for a very long time!

Much of her writing success is due to the help and support from members of her expat online writing group, Writers Abroad.

SECOND - Jez Hodesdon from England who wrote YANNIS’S DILEMMA

Anna commented: This story has a timely premise – that a Greek man has lost everything in the financial crisis that has overwhelmed his country. The use of “close third” point of view helps the reader to connect with Yannis and see things through his eyes. The description of setting and emotions is convincing: the reader can easily visualise the scene. The build-up to the shocking reveal is well handled. This writer has a good sense of pace. The resolution breaks the tension in a gratifying way and the ending is satisfying. This writer has a good sense of story structure. Perhaps some of the backstory to Yannis’s current situation could be cut back or woven into the story with a little more subtlety as at times the reader feels a little overwhelmed with detail. Otherwise this is a strong piece.

Jez Hodesdon

Jez Hodesdon

Jez was deputy head teacher at Sherborne Learning Centre for eleven years, working with teenagers at risk of permanent exclusion or permanently excluded. His role also encompassed teaching GCSE English literature and language.

He found that to re-engage young people who had no interest in literature he had to be good at telling tales; using their world as a starting point to hook them.

On retiring he found he had a real need to tell the stories of those people at the edges of rural society.

An avid reader from an early age he only started to write once he retired: enrolling on a creative writing course at Weymouth College.

Plato's maxim: 'tread gently for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,' is the thread running through his short stories.


Anna commented: This piece stood out because of the strong voice and characterisation of the narrator. It is hard to write using dialect as the writer risks making the voice tricky for the reader to follow. It is also often difficult to keep such a voice consistent. This writer has overcome these potential problems and has created a piece which flows beautifully. The character of “Chrissakes Charlie” is well drawn and the atmosphere and setting is clearly rendered. The slightly confessional tone of the piece is endearing. The turning point in which Charlie becomes a boy whom everyone envies is lovely and is produced with warmth and affection. The ending, though, falls slightly flat. The impact of the kiss might have been greater if the story had ended on this point rather than going on to “wrap up” the tale at the end. Alternatively, there could perhaps be some other stronger incident with which to finish this tale. A very enjoyable piece, nonetheless.

Lindsay Fisher

Lindsay Fisher

Lindsay Fisher has work in: ‘Stories For Homes’ (volumes 1 and 2), a charity anthology sold in aid of 'Shelter' who work to help the homeless; ‘For the Children of Gaza’ anthology; and in the Fish anthology 2016 and 2017. He was third in Fish's Flash Fiction Contest 2016, won the Fish Flash Fiction Contest 2017 and was placed third in Fish’s Short Story Prize 2017.

'Lindsay Fisher' is a pseudonym, and he wrote, “I should like to use the £100 prize to make a charitable donation to 'Vine Trust'. Vine Trust is an organisation that works to help communities abroad. I went on a working party with the Vine Trust to Peru some years ago, where they were working to rescue abandoned children from the streets - abandoned because families could not afford to feed them; abandoned to a life of prostitution and begging to survive. Vine Trust set up rescue points for these boys and built communities for them to live in. I was there making adobe bricks for the construction of such communities (houses, schools, health centres, etc). It was a life-changing experience. Vine Trust also fund a hospital boat that tours the Amazon communities and a second hospital boat that works on Lake Tanganyika to serve the communities in the Congo.”

The YCAA will be delighted to support Lindsay’s charity.



SHORTLISTED (in no particular order)
Beryl Brown (England) Mud Race
Philip F. Latham (England) The Boy and the Bewick
Michael Callahan (Scotland) Blind Eyes Could Blaze
Tereza Murphy (England) Left behind
Chloe Turner (England) The Day You Asked Me
Julianna Fever (New Zealand) Slow Down
Tanya Aydon (England) A Prize Worth Winning
LONGLISTED (in no particular order)
Paul Barnett (England) Blue
Colin Reed (California, USA) The Vegan Rapper Inside
Sandra McElroy (Belgium) Husks
Dianne Bown Wilson (England) Get Along Without You Now
Dennis Harkness (England) Murder in Morrisons
Annabel Robertson (Australia) Cake Walk
Tim Luther (England) Never Mind the Bollards
Laura Wiley (England) Remembrance
Valerie Bowes (England) Playing Safe
Graham Anderson (England) Brasenose Two
Mark Winwood (England) The Risk
Raymond Acton (England) Taking Note

Poetry Report

This year there were just under 400 entries and our judge, David Wheatley read and judged them all.

David Wheatley was born in Dublin in 1970, and teaches at the University of Aberdeen. He is the author of four collections of poetry with Gallery Press: Thirst (1997), Misery Hill (2000), Mocker (2006) and A Nest on the Waves (2010); The President of Planet Earth is forthcoming from Carcanet. He has edited the work of James Clarence Mangan for Gallery Press and Samuel Beckett’s Selected Poems 1930-1989 for Faber and Faber. His critical study Contemporary British Poetry was published by Palgrave in 2015. His other publications include a short book on pubs, Dark and True and Tender (CB Editions, 2012), and a poetic study of Scottish ‘avant-gardening’, The Reed Bunting Unseen: A Camouflage Garden for Ian Hamilton Finlay (Wild Honey Press, 2013), and many articles and reviews for The Guardian, Times Literary Supplement, London Review of Books, Poetry, Poetry Review, Dublin Review and other publications. His writing has won various prizes, including the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Vincent Buckley Prize, and the Friends Provident (Irish) National Irish Poetry Competition. He was a judge of the 2015 National Poetry Competition.

On the Judging Process by David Wheatley

With its proximity to the Quantocks, I can’t help associating Yeovil with Coleridge’s ‘Kubla Khan’, that moment of pure romantic visionary intensity. Between exotic landscape poems, poems of conflict, and the occasional rhapsodic outburst, I felt I saw my share of contemporary successors to ‘Kubla Khan’ while judging this competition. Coleridge’s writing of that poem was famously interrupted a ‘person from Porlock’ knocking on the door, who some critics have chosen to identify with the obstinate demands of the everyday world reasserting themselves. The best poems I read combined romantic rapture and a mindfulness of the ordinary world in which these raptures have their roots. Above all, they achieved the moment of lift-all in which true poetry achieves its being, whether in the artful line-break, the revelatory image, the startling rhyme, or the startling last line. None of the winning poems features a shining pleasure dome or caves of ice, but in their own way the winning poets, and their readers too, can delight in their share of the ‘milk of paradise’.

I felt I got the ‘sunny
and the ‘ancestral voices prophesying war’.

FIRST – Django Wylie from England for his poem Ctrl+Z
Our Judge, David, commented:

“‘Ctrl + Z’ is a wonderfully elegiac, yet wry and good-humoured, evocation of lost love. Highly charged emotional images are offset with downbeat imagery – city bus windows, ashtrays, synthetic piano music – as the poem works through the logic of loss and mourning and, finally, something like understanding and acceptance.”

Django Wylie

Django Wylie

Django Wylie is a writer and Teacher of English in East London. He is a recent graduate of the MA in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, and has previously studied poetry criticism and composition at UC Berkeley, where he developed a keen interest in the work of Ben Lerner, John Ashbery and the New York School. His short stories, poetry and journalism have been published by Dogear, The Huffington Post and Antlers Press, among others. Aside from writing poetry and teaching, he is currently working on the manuscript of his first novel. You can follow him on Twitter: @djangowylie and/or Instagram: @djangow.

SECOND – Alice Herve from England for her poem Rain, Mull, August

Our judge, David, commented:
“Rain, Mull, August is a noisily-orchestrated vision of the natural world, using the repetitions of the sestina form to convey the relentlessness of its island landscape. The waves are ‘magnetic’, and the liquid energies harnessed in these stanzas exercise a powerful and irresistible force.”

Alice Herve

Alice Herve

Alice Herve was born in Sri Lanka and lives in Bath. She has spent the last 30 years travelling as worldwide crew for an international airline. When not flying, she writes – short stories, poems and a novel that was short-listed and highly commended in the Yeovil Literary Prize 2014. When not flying and not writing she works as a volunteer for the charity Bath Welcomes Refugees. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University based on her prose work but would love to find more time for poetry.

THIRD - Elizabeth Tate from England for her poem Ferial
Our Judge, David, commented:
“In its vividly-drawn details, ‘Ferial’ conjures the art of J. M. W. Turner, sketching its landscape with quick and suggestive brushstrokes. Its mysterious details are alive with Hopkins called ‘instress’, delivering their own picture but also ‘the one you don’t see’ with vivid immediacy.”

Elizabeth Tate

Elizabeth Tate

Elizabeth Tate is an artist and poet living and working in the North-East of England.

She has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally. Her working practice covers a wide range of techniques and processes,within a site-related and installational field, wherein text and narrative play an increasingly fundamental role.

Her poetry has been published and performed in galleries, anthologies, magazines and periodicals.



SHORTLISTED (in no particular order)
Laura Thompson (Northern Ireland) Telling the Bear
Jacqueline Trott (Australia) Boneteeth Rattle
Hannah Bond (England) Tempering
Roger Elkin (England) Revisiting Shelagh's Way with Baked Trout
Laila Farnes (Norway) Wild Horses, Second Star to the Right
Julie Irigaray (France) Three Other Ways to Look at Venice
Gabriel Griffin (Italy) Languages Lost at Sea
LONGLISTED (in no particular order)
Valerie Bridge (England) Footprint
Sue Rose (England) The Ancestors
Julie Irigaray (France) Tales of the Woodcock
Daphne Martin (Spain) Abaie
Daphne Martin (Spain) On-And-On-And-On
Victoria Richards (England) Unthinkably, I Leave You
Mary Williams (England) I am Considering Ants
Peter Wyton (England) Enjoy your Trip
Elizabeth Tate (England) On How to Paint a Dead Mother

Writing Without Restriction Report

The number of entries in this open writing category has risen this year to 216. Our judge Kiran Millwood Hargrave was the perfect judge as she is an accomplished poet, and a rising literary star with her two best-selling books. We have been lucky to have Kiran part of our competition at the beginning of what is destined to be her burgeoning literary career.

Kiran Millwood Hargrave (b. London, 1990) is award-winning poet, playwright, and bestselling novelist. Her poem Grace won the Yeovil Literary Prize for Poetry 2013, and appeared in her third collection, Splitfish. Her fourth collection is forthcoming from Bloomsbury. Her bestselling debut novel The Girl of Ink & Stars was Waterstones Children’s Book of the Year 2017, won Best Children’s Book at the British Book Awards 2017, and has been shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize, the Branford Boase Award, and the Little Rebels Prize amongst others. Her second novel The Island at the End of Everything, is out now.

Comment from our judge Kiran Millwood Hargrave

It really was a hard task! Thank you for making it so, always a joy to find new voices to fall in love with. Congratulations to all the winners! And everyone shortlisted - a great list.

FIRST was Marion Molteno from England who wrote WHAT WAS ONCE A CITY
Kiran commented:
Instantly compelling, with a journalist’s eye for detail and a novelist’s ear for narrative, What was Once a City gripped me from first page to last. Voices are distinct, settings brilliantly realised in a few deft strokes. I would have loved to read more. A stand-out piece of writing and a worthy winner.

Marion Molteno

Marion Molteno

My entry for the prize is a true story, that happened when I worked for Save the Children - a life-changing experience that took me to places I could never otherwise have got to. My latest novel, Uncertain Light, reflects similar experiences. It begins when a UN peace negotiator is taken hostage during a civil war in Tajikistan, and follows those closest to him as they try to come to terms with his disappearance.

I’ve been writing fiction for decades, mostly inspired by contact with people of many different backgrounds. My short story collection, A Language in Common, is set among first generation immigrant women from India and Pakistan - like those I got to know when running English classes for adults. A Shield of Coolest Air reflects the experiences of asylum seekers - what drives them to flee, and how they negotiate life in a new country. If You Can Walk, You Can Dance follows a young woman on the move across countries and cultures, between 1970s London and Africa, and is a celebration of the power of music. Somewhere More Simple is set on the Isles of Scilly – a place that has been a special part of the growing-up experience of my children and grandchildren.

I’ve been lucky that three of my novels have won prizes; but what matters to me most is the reaction of readers. I do a blog about once a month, on travelling with my books, and the people I meet on the way.

SECOND was Lisa Clark from Bulgaria who wrote LANDSLIDE
Kiran commented:
Like its subject, Landslide shifts the ground beneath the reader’s feet, making for unsettling reading. I loved the slow build and sudden reveal, and warmed instantly to the narrator. It’s always a good sign when I want to read on, and I found myself thinking perhaps there is a book in Phoenix’s story?

Lisa Clark

Lisa Clark

"Landslide" is the prologue to Fragments, Lisa Clark's yet-unpublished new adult novel about Phoenix and his disturbingly tattooed and pierced co-worker, Claire. Lisa Clark's work has appeared in various publications including After Effects: A Zimbell House Anthology, Best Modern Voices, v 2, The Alligator, The Gnu, Scarlet Leaf Review, Strange Fictions, and BlazeVOX. She's winner of the Glass Woman Prize for fiction and the Mia Pia Forte Prize for creative non-fiction. Bulgaria has been her home for over eighteen years. She's currently working on a YA novel about Virtual Reality.

THIRD was Peter Burgham from England who wrote TRIBUTE NIGHT AT THE SOCIAL
Kiran commented:
A sure-footed and witty take-off of a poet’s rite of passage: the open mic. The writer wonderfully ventriloquises poets from McGough to TS Eliot, with such skill I found myself wanting to know what their style was. Next time, perhaps the writer will enter the poetry category, and we will find out.

Peter Burgham

Peter Burgham

This category provides a wonderful opportunity to try something different, and it was amazing to have my quirky entry recognised in this way ! Thank you so much.

I work in IT, and write as a hobby. My regular stuff is mainly light verse that I hope will bring people a smile. Originally from Liverpool, I’ve lived for many years in Scotland and now York. I’ve travelled extensively in Europe and America, and all these places have helped to shape my ideas. But it’s perhaps the journey of writing that can take you to the most unexpected destinations...

Thanks again to all those involved at Yeovil for organising this annual event.

If you’d like to find out more about my ‘verse and worse’, please visit my website at



SHORTLISTED (in no particular order)

Highly Commended

Morgan Parks (England) Red Riding Hood, a Wolf and Reader’s Choices
Wanda McHamish (England) Pragmatic Christmas Pudding


Amber Jariwala (Pune, India) Headlights
Beverley Smith (Western Australia) Thoughts on Writing from the Voice in my Head
Janet Upcher (Hobart, Tazmania) The Idea of Love
Stephen Holloway (England) A Small Seaside Town out of Season
Sherri Turner (England) Just One
LONGLISTED (in no particular order)
Peter Roe (England) The War of The Words
Dave Wakeley (England) Eating Cornflakes with Patrick Moore
Edward Sergeant (England) Voices and Songs
Christine Mustchin (England) Symmetries
Louise Mangos (Switzerland) Hope Springs Eternal
Stella Townson (England) Bath Café Days
Nginya Gerard (Cameroon, West Africa) A Howl for Somalia
Bronwen Griffiths (England) Losing my Mother