We’re happy to announce this year’s winning stories for the inaugural Leicester Writes Short Story Prize 2017. The winning stories were chosen by our esteemed judging panel, which includes writers Rebecca Burns, Divya Ghelani, Nina Stibbe, and Grace Haddon as well as bookseller, Debbie James.

The winning stories in this year’s competition are:

1st prize: Aunty by C. G. Menon

2nd prize: Switching Off the Metronome by Siobhan Logan

3rd prize: We Went There by Debz Hobbs-Wyatt

Highly commended: Five by Lynne E. Blackwood

Over 100 entries were received from across the UK in the first year of the Leicester Writes Short Story prize, open to published and unpublished writers, for a short story of up to 3000 words on any theme or subject. All entries were judged anonymously.

On selecting Menon’s story Aunty as the winner, Chair of judges, Rebcca Burns said. ‘The story felt so real to me – I couldn’t see the seams where one scene moved into another, and the pacing was perfect.’

The judges remarked on the quality of writing, the range of styles and ideas, as well as how much they each enjoyed reading the longlist. The Kibworth Bookshop owner, Debbie James said. ‘What an absolute pleasure it has been to read these stories. I have been blown away by the quality of ideas and writing.’

Twenty short stories which featured on the longlist will be published in an anthology by Dahlia Publishing and launched during the annual Leicester Writes Festival of New Writing in June.

1st prize winner (Aunty)

C. G. Menon has won The Asian Writer prize, The Short Story award and the Winchester Writers Festival short story prize. She’s been shortlisted for a number of others, including the Fish short story award. Her work has been broadcast on radio and published in a number of anthologies. She is currently studying for an MA in creative writing at City University. See: https://cgmenon.wordpress.com/

2nd prize winner (Switching Off the Metronome)

Siobhan Logan‘s poetry & prose collections Firebridge to Skyshore and Mad, Hopeless and Possible are both published by Original Plus Press. They have been performed at Ledbury Poetry Festival, the British Science Museum, National Space Centre and British Science Festival. A hypertext narrative Philae’s Book of Hours was published by the European Space Agency in 2016. Her short fiction appears in anthologies Lost & Found, A Tale of 3 Cities and the forthcoming Mrs. Rochester’s Attic. Her story Bodywrapped was choreographed by Belgian dance company Retina. Logan lectures in Creative Writing at De Montfort University, Leicester and blogs at: http://siobhanlogan.blogspot.co.uk/

3rd prize winner (We Went There)

Debz Hobbs-Wyatt lives and works in Essex as a full-time writer and editor. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Bangor University and has had over twenty short stories published in various collections. She has also been shortlisted in a number of writing competitions, including being nominated for the prestigious US Pushcart Prize 2013, one of two UK writers on the short list of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2013 and winner of the inaugural Bath Short Story Award 2013. While No One Was Watching her debut novel was published by Parthian Books.  She sees herself as a writer, above all else, and writes every morning. In the afternoons she dons her editor’s hat and critiques and edits professionally. As well as private clients, she also critiques and mentors for Cornerstones Literary Consultancy. See http://www.debzhobbs-wyatt.co.uk

Highly commended (Five)

Lynne E Blackwood is in receipt of a second Arts Council grant to complete a short story collection based on her Anglo-Indian family history. She appears in the Closure Anthology alongside well-established authors. Her character-driven crime novel set in contemporary Republic of Georgia is in submission and she is on the INSCRIBE programme, developing her poetry for a chapbook. Apart from writing and editing, Lynne is learning to play the piano and panders to the needs of two cats and one granddaughter. Lynne recently visited Andalusia and explored wheelchair Flamenco for further performances of her work at festivals and events.



We’re delighted to announce this year’s shortlist for the inaugural Leicester Writes Short Story Prize 2017. The shortlist was chosen from 20 long-listed stories by our esteemed judging panel, which includes writers Rebecca Burns, Divya Ghelani, Nina Stibbe, and Grace Haddon as well as bookseller, Debbie James.

Stories on this year’s shortlist include (in alphabetical order):

  1. Aunty by C. G. Menon
  2. Death and Biscuits by Bev Haddon
  3. Five by Lynne E. Blackwood
  4. Sans Lingua Franca by Thomas Welsh
  5. Suicide Vending Machine by Thomas Welsh
  6. Switching off the Metronome by Siobhan Logan
  7. The Man Who Wasn’t by Karl Quiqley
  8. We Went There by Debz Hobbs-Wyatt

On selecting the shortlist, the judges remarked on the quality of writing, the range of styles and ideas, as well as how much they each enjoyed reading the longlist. James, who owns The Kibworth Bookshop said. ‘What an absolute pleasure it has been to read these stories. I have been blown away by the quality of ideas and writing.’

The short-listed stories will now go through to the final round of judging. The winner will be announced on May 1st 2017.



We’re thrilled to announce this year’s longlist of 20 stories for The Leicester Writes Short Story Prize 2017. The longlist was chosen from 102 submissions received during our inaugural campaign.

Stories on this year’s longlist include (in alphabetical order):

  1. A Peculiar Circle by Matthew Rhodes
  2. An Evening Out by Asha Krishna
  3. Aunty by C. G. Menon
  4. Blackbird by Maureen Cullen
  5. Cinnamon Fletcher by Jon Wilkins
  6. Deadly by Simon Bland
  7. Death and Biscuits by Bev Haddon
  8. Five by Lynne E. Blackwood
  9. Inside out by Farrah Yusuf
  10. L’ile des Somnambules by Chad Bentley
  11. Metropolis by Marianne Whiting
  12. Real Love by Jack Wedgbury
  13. Suicide Vending Machine by Thomas Welsh
  14. Switching off the Metronome by Siobhan Logan
  15. The Chase by Amy Bell
  16. The Child Kingdom by Andrew Moffat
  17. The Man Who Wasn’t by Karl Quiqley
  18. The Pink Feather Boa Incident by Katherine Hetzel
  19. We Went There by Debz Hobbs-Wyatt
  20. Where to Stay, What to Do by Lindsey Fairweather

All the stories featured on our longlist will be published in our prize anthology. A shortlist will now be selected by our esteemed judging panel, including writers Rebecca Burns, Divya Ghelani, Nina Stibbe, and Grace Haddon as well as bookseller, Debbie James.

We aim to make our shortlist announcement on April 24, 2017.



These are the full terms and conditions for The Leicester Writes Short Story Competition 2017.

1. The Leicester Writes Short Story Competition 2017 is open to all ages and nationalities across the world. Both published and unpublished writers are invited to submit. The prize aims to encourage new writing.

2. All entries must be original unpublished prose, on any theme and no more than 3,000 words. The entry must not have been submitted or published the work elsewhere including other competitions.

3. Entries cannot be extracts from longer works or unfinished at the time of entry. We will not allow entries to be amended at a later date so please submit completed stories only.

4. Writers may submit more than one entry. Payment is per entry. Max. three. Payment must be made before submitting. The entry fee is £7 and £3 for those with a Leicestershire postcode.

5. Winners will be notified at the email address stated in their entry. You can follow updates on our website at www.leicesterwrites.co.uk, on Twitter (@leicesterwrites) and our Facebook page (Leicester Writes)

6. All entrants must complete the entry form online. This will help to verify your email address and payment. If you are entering more than once, please only use a single entry form. Short stories must be submitted via email to prize@leicesterwrites.co.uk with the subject heading: The Leicester Writes Short Story Competition 2017. Please include your email address and other contact details in the body of the email along with the title of your entry. Your entry must be sent as an email attachment with the title of the story only. Do not put your name anywhere on the entry. Please ensure your entry is sent in a Word document format. No other formats including wps, txt, or pdf will be accepted.

7. Your entry must be submitted before midnight on 3rd April 2017. Entries will not be accepted after this date. Please don’t leave it til midnight to submit your entry.

8. By submitting, the entrant grants Dahlia Publishing the right to publish their entry on The Leicester Writes website and in a published collection in the event of their work being longlisted and/or winning the competition. The copyright of the works will remain with individual authors.

9. Dahlia Publishing cannot accept responsibility for entries which are not received or which are received after the closing date due to technical failure or for any other reason.

10. Winners agree to participate in publicity events in connection with the competition.

11. Dahlia Publishing and the winners may enter into agreements which will grant Dahlia Publishing the publishing, broadcasting, serial and electronic rights in the longlisted and winning entries.

12. Dahlia Publishing reserves the right to change the rules of this competition without notice.

13. The winner of the competition will be notified in May 2017.

14. Any prizes offered must be taken within 30 days and is subject to availability.

15. The decision of the competition judges will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

16. Employees of Dahlia Publishing, and members of their immediate family, are excluded from participating in the competition.

17. We may, from time to time, inform you of new books and special offers that we think will be of interest.

18. Please send direct competition queries to f.shaikh@dahliapublishing.co.uk 

Do not send queries in the comments box on our website as these will be unanswered.


Meet the Judges

Rebecca Burns

Rebecca Burns is writer of short stories and fiction. Her work has been published in over thirty online and print journals, including The London Magazine, Words With Jam, Per Contra, and Controlled Burn. She has won or been placed in many competitions: Fowey Festival of Words and Music Short Story Competition, 2013 (winner and runner-up in 2014), Black Pear Press Short Story Competition (2014, winner), University of Sunderland Short Story Award (2016, longlisted), Evesham Festival Story Competition (2016, shortlisted) and Chipping Norton Short Story Award (2016, shortlisted). Her debut collection of short stories, Catching the Barrmundi, was published by Odyssey Books in 2012 and was longlisted for the Edge Hill Award, the UK’s only prize for short story collections. Her second collection, The Settling Earth (2014) was also longlisted for the Edge Hill.

She sits on the Steering Committee of the Grace Dieu Writer’s Group in Coalville. She has been profiled by the University’s Grassroutes Project as one of the 50 best transcultural writers in the county. She lives in Leicestershire with her husband and young family. Her debut novel, The Bishop’s Girl, was published by Odyssey Books in 2016.

Rebecca Burns will act as our chair of judges.

Divya Ghelani

Divya Ghelani is a writer from Loughborough, Leicestershire. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia and an MPhil in Literary Studies from the University of Hong Kong. She pens stories every day and has published in Litro: India, The Times, The Bookseller, BareLit, among others. Divya’s unpublished manuscript has been longlisted for the 2016 Deborah Rogers Writers’ Award, the 2016 SI Leeds Literary Prize and also received an Honorary Commendation in the Harry Bowling Prize for New Writing. Divya is the recipient of a Writing East Midlands Apprenticeship, a Literary Consultancy Mentorship. She is currently an Apprentice with London’s premier short story salon, The Word Factory and will be a 2017 Word Factory Writer in Residence at Waterstone’s Piccadilly.

Grace Haddon

Grace Haddon is a Leicester writer of fantasy fiction. She is currently in her final year of a creative writing degree at the University of Nottingham, where she was the editor of the class anthology, Vices and Virtues. In 2015 she won Malorie Blackman’s Project Remix competition, and has since been shortlisted for the HG Wells Short Story Competition. She is on the writing team of The Big Care Write-Up, a Leicester writing initiative which produces ebooks for charity. Her story Zenith was included in Dahlia Publishing’s Lost and Found anthology.

Debbie James

Debbie James graduated with a Bachelors and Masters in music from the university of Leeds and the conservatoire in Weimar, Germany before teaching and freelancing on orchestral percussion and drum kit. In 2007 she moved to Leicestershire to work for Premier Drum Company before deciding on a career as a bookseller. She opened The Bookshop Kibworth in 2009 and the shop has since won Regional Independent Bookshop of the Year, Vintage Independent Bookshop of the Year, Caboodle Bookshop of the Month and three James Patterson Awards for its work promoting children’s books. In August 2016 the shop doubled in size, moving into a second storey upstairs. Debbie has run the Kibworth Book Festival since 2013, been a judge on the East Midlands Book Award and is currently Leicestershire’s ambassador for the Booksellers Association’s Bookseller Network and sits on their Independent Booksellers Forum panel.


Nina Stibbe

Nina Stibbe was born in Leicester. Her first book, Love, Nina, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Book of the Year Award and won Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the 2014 National Book Awards, and was made into a television series for BBC1 and broadcast last year. Her massively acclaimed novel Man at the Helm, was shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction. Her third book, Paradise Lodge comes out in paperback in March 2017. She lives in Cornwall.