I was honoured to be invited to be the Head Judge for the latest H.E. Bates Short Story Competition, and the results were announced at a ceremony earlier this month.
The winners’ stories are listed in full on the H.E. Bates competition website but here’s a taster…
First Prize Winner: Louise G Cole with ‘Five Staves and An Instant’
I am friend to the old five bar gate into our yard, and she to me as she holds back the world from my grandparents’ place. It’s a time when childhood days pass long and quick, short and slow.
She is oak-beamed and seasoned heavy with age; I am the spindle-legged orphan brought to this wilderness for the solid calm, the reparation of the country.
I have no recollection of what brings me here. Whenever possible I wriggle away from my grandmother’s gulping, moist-eyed hugs and we don’t talk about what has happened. I’m aware of conversations that stop when I enter the room, and the old people who are my grandparents’ friends who can’t quite look me in the eye. ‘Bless you,’ they murmur, clattering cups and saucers in trembling hands.
Read more here.
Second Prize Winner: Dan Purdue with Last of the Sand Dragons
As he is about to leave, Michael realises he’s made a mistake. He shuts off the car’s engine, gets out, and opens the boot. He takes out a small, carrier bag-wrapped bundle, locks the car, and hurries towards the house.
Inside, as quietly as possible, he pulls down the loft ladder and climbs its creaking aluminium steps. He moves with practised stealth to avoid disturbing his wife, finally asleep after another restless night. Pausing on each rung to listen for signs of her stirring, it seems to take forever to reach the boarded floor of the loft where he can move in relative silence again.
Read more here.
- Anne Corlett won the Third Prize with The Look Of Leaving, and
- Julia Thorley won the Northamptonshire Prize with Scoring An Own Goal In Tennis.