Filter by:
Judge - Lemn Sissay

1st : Mary-Jane Holmes

Siren Call

Mary-Jane Holmes is a writer, teacher, translator and editor based sometimes in Co. Durham, UK and at other times on the Tex-Mex border of the USA. Her work has been published in numerous journals and anthologies including The Lonely Crowd, Prole, The Tishman Review, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts and Best Small Fictions 2016. She is the recipient of the Martin Starkie Poetry Prize (2017), the Bedford International Poetry Prize (2017) and the Dromineer Fiction Prize (2014). She has previously been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize both for poetry and flash fiction, the Doolin Prize for poetry, the Penfro Poetry Prize and recently commended in the Settle Poetry Competition. She is currently chief editor of Fish Publishing Ireland and also editorial consultant at The Well Review, an international poetry journal based in Cork, Ireland. She is currently completing a Masters in Creative Writing at Kellogg College, Oxford and her debut poetry collection will be published in 2018 by Glasgow based Pindrop Press.

2nd : Simon Murphy

River Climber

Simon Murphy lives and writes in Bristol, and enjoys exploring countryside, rivers, coastlines and the Pennines. In 2017 his poems have been commended in the Magma Judge’s Competition, and placed second in the Doolin Writers’ Competition. When not writing, he edits non-fiction.

3rd : Graham Burchell


Graham Burchell lives in South Devon. He has four published collections. He has an M.A. in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. He is a Hawthornden Fellow, 2012 Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year, winner of the 2015 Stanza competition, and runner-up in the 2016 BBC Proms poetry competition. He has been widely published in U.K. and U.S. poetry journals.

Highly Commended : Julia Bell


Julia Bell is a writer and course director of the MA Creative Writing at Birkbeck. She has published three novels, most recently The Dark Light (Macmillan, 2015). She is also the co-editor of the bestselling Creative Writing Coursebook (Macmillan). She is currently working on a memoir in verse and a collection of essays. She divides her time between London and Berlin.

Highly Commended : Claudia Daventry

Advice for Daughters

Claudia Daventry studied languages at Oxford and lived and worked in several European cities before moving to St Andrews to do a poetry MLitt with Douglas Dunn and Don Paterson. In between managing her Scottish steading, three daughters, two dogs, cat and various kinds of work to keep the wolf from the door she is inching towards finishing her PhD on translation in poetry. Her work has been widely performed and published, and she has won several awards and commendations – including the Bridport prize in 2012. This is her fourth poem in a Bridport anthology, and she’s delighted to be back.


Highly Commended : David Forest Hitchcock

Painting a Sunroom an off-white

David Forest Hitchcock was researching for his doctoral dissertation in History at the University of Chicago when he was derailed by chronic fatigue syndrome. His parents cared for him. An awe of the mysteries of life and his love of words came together in poems. Winning a Shakespeare Sonnet Slam, in Syracuse led to his taking small parts in community theatre, usually Shakespeare’s comedies. As his parents became frail with age, he cared for them. After his dad’s death, his mom was proud when one of his haiku was selected for the “Syracuse Poster Project” and another poem was chosen to be part of a commissioned work of new music. His mom wanted him to get his work “out into the world”. Since her death in 2015, he has done that. His poems have been selected for the long list in the Canberra University V. C. prize in 2015, the long list for the Ron Pretty Poetry Prize in 2015 and the short list for the Bridport Prize in 2015 and 2016. He was one of five short list finalists for the Ron Pretty Prize in 2017 and Highly Commended for the Bridport Prize in 2017. He is now caring for the lawns of neighbors and creating/organizing a collaborative multi-media performance piece.

Highly Commended : Isabelle McNeill


Isabelle McNeill is a lecturer in French and film studies at Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge. Writing poetry has been, until recently, a secret pleasure and private necessity. She is working on a collection entitled ‘The Living and the Dead’ and a poem from this collection was commended in the Ware Poetry Competition 2017. She is also working (very slowly) on an installation using poetry, textiles and film called (im)material.

Highly Commended : Charlie Mountford

I am Pig

Charlie Mountford is a humorist and poet. His family, originally from Birmingham, came to Canada early in the 20th century. He was educated at The University of Western Ontario (MA English) and The University of London (MA Librarianship). He has written books of humorous monologues and books of poetry. He has been a banker, a school librarian and a researcher of historical buildings. He has also written the librettos for five modern chamber operas which have been produced in Stratford. He enjoys performing his humorous monologues as solo shows.

Highly Commended : Michelle Lovric

niece comes out of the attic

Michelle Lovric is a novelist, journalist and editor, with particular interests in Venice, art and the history of medicine. She has edited numerous anthologies of poetry and prose. Her fourth novel, The Book of Human Skin, was chosen for the TV Book Club; her third, The Remedy, was long-listed for the Orange Prize. She is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow and writes regularly about her historical research on The History Girls website. For the past three years she has been a member of Robert vas Dias’s London poetry Seminar. She divides her time between London and Venice.

Highly Commended : Victoria Richards

Unthinkably, I leave you

Victoria Richards is a freelance journalist and writer. She has worked for BBC News, The Times and The Independent, has appeared on Newsnight, BBC World and ITV News and regularly writes for Independent Voices. She won the inaugural Oh Zoe! Rising Talent Award 2017 was longlisted in the Bath Short Story Award 2017 and The Guardian Short Story Contest 2016, and published in the National Flash Fiction Day Anthology 2017. She lives in East London where she is working variously on a novel, a short story collection, poetry, flash fiction and a series of books for children.


Highly Commended : Maresa Sheehan

Ectopic Pregnancy

Maresa Sheehan works as a Veterinarian in Ireland and writes poetry. She won First Prize in the Goldsmith International Literary Festival Poetry Competition and was previously Shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize and the Cuirt New Writing Poetry Competition 2015 (final 3). She was Highly Commended in Over The Edge New Writer of the Year International Poetry Competition and for Poet meets Painter Hungry Hill Writing Poetry Competition 2014. Her poems have been published in Blue Max Review, Boyne Berries and “All Good Things Begin” and have been accepted for publication in Poetry Ireland Review. She is working towards her first collection. She lives in County Carlow with her husband and son.

Highly Commended : Claire Williamson


Claire Williamson is currently studying for a doctorate in Creative Writing at Cardiff University exploring ‘Writing the 21st Century Bereavement novel’. She has had three collections of poetry published: Ride On (PoTA Press, 2005), The Soulwater Pool (Poetry Can, 2008) and a pamphlet Split Ends (Eyewear, 2016). Her new collection, Visiting the Minotaur, is forthcoming with Seren. She has been published in (among others) PN Review, Raceme, The Cardiff Review, Iota, Bristol Review of Books, and recent anthologies: The Echoing Gallery, edited by Rachel Boast and From Palette to Pen, edited by Frances-Ann King. Claire is Programme Leader for Metanoia Institute’s MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes, validated by Middlesex University.

Highly Commended : Susan Zatland

Ghazal of Mourning

Susan Zatland lives in Buckinghamshire, has a degree in Philosophy and worked for several years as a lawyer. Having exhausted the creative possibilities of writing briefs for court – she found her use of rising tension and dramatic pause was not fully appreciated – she has just gained distinction in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford. She enjoys writing in all genres, and is currently engaged in research for her first novel set in ancient Thrace; yet it is the lilt and tilt of poetry that continually pulls at her. If her novel is ever finished she suspects it will be heavily influenced by the rhythms and song of our oral traditions.


Judge - Peter Hobbs

1st : Nicholas Ruddock


Nicholas Ruddock has written three novels and two collections of short stories in Canada. And some poetry. In the UK he was shortlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Award in 2016, won the Bridport Flash Fiction in 2013, runner-up 2014, and has had micro-fictions published in Irish Pages, Belfast.

2nd : Chris Neilan


Chris Neilan is an author, screenwriter and filmmaker. He started his career in TV & radio comedy before moving into literary fiction and film. He was shortlisted for the 2016 Sundance Screenwriters Lab, and is working on feature projects in the UK and US. His debut novel Abattoir Jack is available from Punked Books, and his work is featured in One For The Road, an anthology of poetry and prose published by Smith/Doorstop. He is an associate lecturer in creative writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he is also completing his PhD, and a writer-in-residence for New Writing North. He has written for Film International and Little White Lies, and is the founder of the Manchester No Budget Filmmaking Collective.

3rd : Ben Hinshaw

Queen of the Forest

Ben Hinshaw’s stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Carolina Quarterly, The White Review, Lighthouse, and elsewhere. He holds MAs in creative writing (University of California, Davis) and cultural geography (University of Nottingham), and has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. Born and raised on the island of Guernsey, Ben spent several years as a bookseller in London. He currently lives in Davis, California.

Highly Commended : Karen Ashe

Girvan Blues

Karen Ashe was brought up in Airdrie and now lives in Glasgow with her family. ‘Rebound’, the first short story she ever wrote took 2nd place in the South China Morning Post short story competition, and she went on to complete the MLitt in Creative Writing at Glasgow University. She now spends Monday evenings in the inspiring company of Chryston Writer’s Group. As well as short stories, she also writes poetry, recently placing third in the FWS Easter poetry competition, and making the shortlist for the Glasgow Women’s Library Short Story competition. She also writes flash fiction and has been published online in Paragraph Planet. Karen is one of Scottish Book Trust New Writer’s Awardees for 2016. She has been shortlisted for the Fish Short Story, Flash Fiction and Poetry prizes, the Bridport Prize for Flash Fiction. ‘Never on a Friday’ was published in the Mslexia Curious Incidents section, and more recently, ‘The Bearded Lady’, in their Monster-themed New Writing showcase.

Highly Commended : Nick Burbage

Cooking a Wolf

Nick Burbidge has worked in the media, public and charity sectors for 20-odd years. In 2014, he completed with distinction an MA in Creative & Life Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, where his portfolio of short stories was shortlisted for the Pat Kavanagh Award. Nick’s short stories ‘The Bad Sex Awards’ and ‘The Cat Licked Its Paws’ have been published in The Bridport Prize Anthology 2015 and Shooter Literary Magazine respectively.

Highly Commended : Kate Carne

Grunion Running

Kate Carne has always been drawn to the short story as a way of capturing that precious and fleeting glimpse. Her piece, Early One Morning won the Bath Flash Fiction Ad Hoc first prize, and was published in the magazine ‘Project Calm’ in 2016. Another flash, Carry On due to be published in the second Bath Flash Fiction Anthology, due out later this year. Kate is also the author of Seven Secrets of Mindfulness: How to Keep Your Everyday Practice Alive, published by Rider in 2016. She lives in Oxford.

Highly Commended : Ruth Figgest

The Cockerel

Ruth Figgest is CEO of a charity which runs a community centre in Sussex. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Sussex and was one of the winners of the Bridport prize in 2012. Her stories were previously short listed for the prize in 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011 and 2016. Another of her stories was short listed for the Mslexia short story competition in 2011. In October 2013, Ruth’s short story ‘The Coffin Gate’ was broadcast on radio 4. In her spare time, Ruth teaches creative writing and belongs to writing groups in Brighton and Newhaven. The characters in “The Cockerel” and the content of this story form part of her novel, Magnetism, published by Myriad Editions:

Highly Commended : Rebecca F. John

Old Harbour

Rebecca F. John was born in 1986, and grew up in Pwll, a small village on the South Wales coast. She holds a BA in English with Creative Writing (1st class hons) and an MA in Creative Writing (distinction) from Swansea University, as well as a PGCE PCET from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Her short stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 4Extra. In 2015, her short story ‘The Glove Maker’s Numbers’ was shortlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award. She is the winner of the PEN International New Voices Award 2015, and the British participant of the 2016 Scritture Giovani project. In 2017, she was named on Hay Festival’s ‘The Hay 30’ list. Her work was recently shortlisted for the RA & Pindrop Short Story Prize 2017, longlisted for the Bath Short Story Prize 2017, and longlisted for the Not The Booker Prize 2017.

Highly Commended : C.G. Menon

Subjunctive Moods

C. G. Menon has won the Bare Fiction Prize, the Leicester Writes Prize, The Short Story Award, the Asian Writer Prize, The TBL Short Story Award and the Winchester Writers Festival award. She’s been shortlisted for the Fish short story prize, the Short Fiction Journal awards, as well as the Willesden Herald, Rubery and WriteIdea prizes and the Fiction Desk Newcomer award. Her work has been published in a number of anthologies and broadcast on radio. She is currently studying for a creative writing MA at City University and working on her first novel.

Highly Commended : Neal Moore

To Be

Neal Moore is the author of Down the Mississippi: A Modern-day Huck on America’s River Road, published by the Mark Twain Museum Press. A nomad, adventurer and storyteller, Neal’s citizen journalism from North America, Africa, and the Far East includes documenting fellow paddler Dick Conant for The New Yorker, an essay titled ‘I Felt Close to Mandela’ for Der Spiegel, and an interview with Wang Dan, Tiananmen Square’s ‘most wanted’ student protestor, for CNN. Originally from Los Angeles, he has continued to swirl the globe South Africa-way for the past twenty-five years.

Highly Commended : Stacey Swann

Must Be True

Stacey Swann’s fiction has appeared in Epoch, Memorious, Versal, and other journals. A former Stegner Fellow, she teaches with Stanford University’s Online Writer’s Studio and works as a freelance editor. She splits her time between Austin and Lampasas, Texas.


Highly Commended : Colin Walsh

The Best Thing

Colin Walsh was born and raised in Ireland. He has lived in Scotland, France and Quebec, and currently lives in Belgium. His story ‘Seen/Unseen’ was shortlisted for the Bath Short Story Award 2017 and will be featured in the forthcoming 2017 BSSA Anthology.

Highly Commended : David Ye


David Ye is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He is the recipient of the 2017 Henfield Prize for Fiction.

Judge - Kit de Waal

1st : Terry Warren


Terry Warren lives near Bridport, Dorset. He studied Fine Art in London and continues to draw and paint. He currently works as a Marketing Director and freelance copywriter. ‘Buttercups’ is his first published written work.

2nd : Joanna Campbell

Confirmation Class

Joanna Campbell’s novel, Tying Down The Lion, was published by Brick Lane in 2015 and her short story collection, When Planets Slip Their Tracks, by Ink Tears in 2016. Her short stories and flash fiction have also appeared in all kinds of anthologies and literary magazines. Her short story, ‘Upshots’, won The London Short Story Prize in 2015 and her novella, ‘A Safer Way to Fall’, was a runner-up in The 2017 Bath Flash Fiction Novella-in-Flash Award.

3rd : Jacqueline Shreeves-Lee


Jacquelyn Shreeves-Lee completed an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck University in 2015 where she was awarded the Sophie Warne Fellowship and published in the Mechanics Institute Review. She has had several short-stories and poems published, short-listed and commended in major competitions. Her story, ‘Mama B’s Kitchen,’ was published by Virago in 1996 in the ‘Short Circuits’ anthology. Her play, ‘Let me Count the Ways,’ was performed at the Millfield Theatre in 2008. In her writing, Jacquelyn tries to unzip the complex, internal universes we all occupy and navigate. By attempting to make her writing visceral, exciting and novel, she hopes to hold her reader captive. She lives in North London where she works as a clinical psychologist and a magistrate.

Highly Commended : Barbara Leahy

Sea Bite

Barbara Leahy is from Cork, Ireland. She started writing in 2010, and since then her stories have appeared in the National Flash Fiction Day Anthology, the Irish Literary Review, and the Words on the Waves Anthology 2016 and have been broadcast on RTÉ (Irish National) radio. In previous years she has won the Doris Gooderson Short Story Competition, the Wells Festival of Literature Short Story Competition, and the Words With Jam Shortest Story Competition. She was the 2015 winner of Cork County Library and Arts Service’s From the Well Short Story Competition. Most recently, she won the 2017 RTÉ Guide/Penguin Ireland short story competition. In 2013 she was shortlisted for the Bridport Short Story and Flash Fiction competitions and she is thrilled to have won a Highly Commended award in this year’s Flash Fiction competition.

Highly Commended : Gabriela Paloa

On the Seventy-Third Day

Gabriela Paloa is an osteopath, practicing and teaching. She writes short stories, flash fiction and poetry. She also writes creative non-fiction about human physicality and movement. She was born in Gibraltar, grew up in London and is currently living in Tel Aviv.

Highly Commended : Michelle Wright


Michelle Wright’s short stories have won awards including The Age, Alan Marshall and Grace Marion Wilson. In 2013 Michelle was awarded a Writers Victoria Templeberg Fellowship to research stories in Sri Lanka. In 2015 she was the Faber Academy “Writing a Novel” scholarship recipient. Her short story collection, Fine, was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Award for an Unpublished Manuscript and published in 2016 by Allen and Unwin, who will also publish her debut novel in 2018. She was recently awarded an Australia Council residency and is currently spending six months in Paris researching her novel.

Judge - Nathan Filer

1st : Deepa Anappara

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line

Deepa Anappara is a journalist and editor from India living in the UK. Her short fiction has won the second prize in the Bristol Short Story Prize, the third prize in the Asham awards, the Asian Writer Short Story prize, and the Dastaan award. She recently completed an MA in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction) at the University of East Anglia, Norwich.

Runner-up : Stephanie Scott

The Sentence

Stephanie Scott was born and raised in Singapore. She read English Literature at York and Cambridge, is a graduate of the Faber Novel Programme and holds an M.St in Creative Writing from Oxford (Distinction). Her debut novel, The Sentence, is set in modern Japan and based on the Japanese marriage-break up industry. Stephanie is a recipient of the National BAJS Toshiba Studentship for her anthropological work on Japan and has won several awards for her fiction including the Writers’ Centre Norwich Inspires Award, the Arvon Jerwood Fiction Award, the Writers’ Village International Short Story Prize and the Mslexia New Writing Award. Stephanie has placed in the Fish Poetry Prize and been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, the Glimmer Train Short Fiction Prize, the Mslexia Short Story Award, the Fish Short Story Prize and the London Short Story Prize.

Highly Commended : Claire Bassi

Sugar Bird

Claire Bassi graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a BA in Education and then worked overseas in a variety of educational settings. She has travelled extensively around Asia, which has been a significant influence on her work. She writes short stories, poetry and prose concerned with memory and place. Since graduating from Keele University with an MA graded distinction, Claire has been teaching English, editing her first novel and running a local writer’s group. Several of her poems have been published by Ink Pantry and have featured on local radio. She performs at local festivals and at experimental arts nights. In May 2016, she had her first short story published and in November 2016 she won the MMU Novella Community Writer Award.

Highly Commended : Jo Browning Wroe

The Embalming

Jo Browning Wroe worked in publishing for 12 years before studying at UEA for a Masters in Creative Writing. She writes for educational publishers in the UK and US and has received awards in both countries. She is Creative Writing Supervisor at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, and helps with the Cambridge Literary Festival. She has two adult daughters and lives in Cambridge with her husband.

Highly Commended : Eve Smith

The Waiting Rooms

Eve Carpenter writes speculative fiction that tackles contemporary issues, normally the things that scare her, drawing on her background in the corporate and scientific sectors. Set twenty years after an antibiotic crisis, her shortlisted debut novel The Waiting Rooms is about a nurse called Kate’s search for her ageing birth mother in a world where no one over seventy-five is allowed new antibiotics. Eve’s previous job as COO of an environmental organisation took her to research projects across Asia, Africa and the Americas, and she uses these experiences to build unsettling but familiar worlds. A Modern Languages graduate from Oxford, she returned to Oxfordshire fifteen years ago with her family. She has just started work on her next novel and is focused on getting published and developing her career as an author.