Short story competition

We're delighted to announce our winners

West Sussex Mind is delighted to announce the winners of its first short story competition. The winners are:

1st: Kestrel by Helen Butlin

2nd: Tea Maven by Alexis Woolfe

3rd: The Nostalgia House by Patricia Mullin

The prize for the best story from a West Sussex resident is Circle Dancing by Cherrie Taylor.

Congratulations to all our winners and shortlisted writers, whose names and story titles can be found below.

Shortlist judge Rosanna Ley, said of Helen Butlin's Kestrel: "I liked the opening of this story and the description of the bird. The dialogue is confident, and there is a good use of strong verbs which lift the story. The connection between the characters is also well-handled. It is a simple story but the themes are thoughtful ones: nurturing, freedom, growth, letting go. The open and metaphorical ending is both authentic and bitter-sweet. Well done!"

About our winners:

Helen Butlin

Helen Butlin said: "I am so excited to win this competition which supports a fantastic charity! Having worked in the mental health and well-being field for the last 15 years I know how important this work is. Like many people, I coped with the stresses of this year by turning to creativity and started writing regularly again. I have always loved short stories and poetry, the way they can distil something truthful about the world. Thank you for reading Kestrel and I hope 2021 brings us all opportunities for more creativity and connection."

Helen has an Instagram account for her writing which you can find at @hbwriter_

Alexis Woolf

Alexis Woolf is a writer living in Berkshire with her family. Her short stories have been published in various anthologies and she enjoys entering writing competitions.

Patricia Mullin

Patricia Mullin is a former designer. In 2007 she graduated from the MA Writing the Visual from Norwich University of the Arts - exploring the relationship between creative and critical writing and visual culture. Patricia lives in rural Norfolk where she leads site-specific writing courses linked to iconic buildings, exhibitions, and remarkable collections. She writes novels and short stories and has appeared on several shortlists, including The Bridport Prize on three occasions. She is delighted and encouraged as The Nostalgia House is the first story placed in a competition.

Cherrie Taylor

Cherrie Taylor moved to West Sussex at the age of five. The coast and seashore are important parts of her life. She was told that some of her first words were written in the sand! Cherrie has enjoyed writing stories and poetry since childhood. Her knowledge and writing were extended in 2102 by attending local classes and she then went on to study Creative Writing with the Open University. She has some of her work published in magazines and anthologies – including stories and poems in Coast Lines, West Sussex Writers (2017), and Shoreham Wordfest Anthology (2020.)

The full shortlist:

Kestrel, Helen Butlin

The Pattern Cutter, Zofia Duszynska

Loose Threads, Libby Jones

Nostalgia House, Patricia Mullin

Manhole 1995, Ann Ridley

To Be An Artist, Tamara O’Brien

The Edge of Winter, Hilary Park

Circle Dancing, Cherrie Taylor

Away From the Herd, Sue Whytock

Tea Maven, Alexis Woolf

We’d like to congratulate and thank everyone who submitted their work to the short story competition. It was wonderful to read such a diverse range of writing.

Special thanks, too, to Rosanna Ley – our fantastic final judge. Rosanna’s latest book From Venice with Love, was published by Quercus Books June 2020.

Funds raised through the short story competition will help West Sussex Mind continue providing mental health support to local people.

Read the winning story by downloading it here

Download Short story competition

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