Meet the Judges

Rebecca Burns

Rebecca Burns is a writer of short stories and fiction. Her work has been published in over thirty online and print journals. She has won or been placed in many competitions including the Fowey Festival of Words and Music Short Story Competition. Her debut collection of short stories, Catching the Barramundi, was published by Odyssey Books in 2012 and was longlisted for the Edge Hill Award. Her second collection, The Settling Earth (2014) was also longlisted for the Edge Hill. Her debut novel, The Bishop’s Girl, was published in 2016, and her third collection of short stories, Artefacts and Other Stories, appeared in 2017, both again published by Odyssey Books. Her second novel, Beyond the Bay was published in September 2018. Her latest collection of short stories, Kezia and Rosie was published in March 2022.

Rebecca Burns will act as our chair of judges.


Laura Besley

Laura Besley is the author of micro fiction collection, (Un)Natural Elements (Beir Bua Press, 2021), 100neHundred (Arachne Press, 2021), and flash fiction collection, The Almost Mothers (Dahlia Books, 2020). 

She has been listed by TSS Publishing as one of the top 50 British and Irish Flash Fiction writers. Her work has been nominated for Best Micro Fiction and her story, To Cut a Long Story Short, will appear in the Best Small Fiction anthology in 2022.

Having lived in the Netherlands, Germany and Hong Kong, she now lives in land-locked central England and misses the sea. She tweets @laurabesley

Reshma Ruia

Reshma Ruia is an award winning writer and poet. Her first novel, Something Black in the Lentil Soup was described in the Sunday Times as ‘a gem of straight-faced comedy.’ Her second novel, A Mouthful of Silence, was shortlisted for the SI Leeds Literary Award. Reshma’s short stories and poetry has appeared in British and international journals and anthologies and commissioned for BBC Radio 4. Her debut poetry collection, A Dinner Party in the Home Counties won the 2019 Word Masala Award. Born in India, brought up in Italy and now living in England, her writing explores the preoccupations of those who possess a multiple sense of belonging. She is the co-founder of The Whole Kahani-a writers’collective of British South Asian writers. Her short story collection, Mrs Pinto Drives to Happiness was published in 2021.