The votes have been counted and verified, and the results are in. Having one person judge a writing competition means that the result is inevitably very subjective. I tried to mitigate this by scoring the story (plot), character and writing elements of each entry separately, but the result still inevitably came down to which stories I personally like the best. For me, the key element of a great short story is the twist in the tale – or is it tail? The final ranking therefore very closely matches the effectiveness of those twists, in my personal opinion.

There were 20 entries to the competition. The overall quality of the stories was very high, and the margins between the best ones were quite fine. I ignored questions of spelling, punctuation and layout, and only penalised writing errors which actually detracted from understanding the story by introducing unintentional ambiguity. That said, I think a lot of the stories would perform much better in open competitions with a bit of careful editing. I’m happy to be more explicit if anyone has questions about what I meant.

Peter Kelly, 2019’s President’s Prize judge

This year’s successful writers

  • 1st place: Footing the Bill, by Rosie O’Carroll
  • 2nd place: Spring and Velvet, by Bernard Jacobs
  • 3rd place: Fats Waller Cut Down To Size, by Chris Law

This means Rosie will be our judge for the next President’s Prize, which will open to entries towards the end of 2020. Keep an eye on our news and competitions sections for more details.

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

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