Who was the spookiest of them all?

Who was the spookiest of them all?

‘Twas a couple of weeks before Christmas, and over on Zoom
Two-dozen writers were gathered, eyes on just one room
Would their name be called? Would they be crowned winner?
Would their story be the one that made the judge’s skin slither?

OK, enough of that. We held our very first Christmas ghost story competition, and were lucky to have the services of the Reverend Peter Laws as our guest judge. In the end, we had more than 20 entries – not bad for a first shot! – and Peter’s choices for the top prize reflected the varied takes we had on the traditional ghost story. We had the thoroughly modern (a ghost-hunting crew in an abandoned building on Christmas Eve, a comical podcast script), the very traditional (haunted castles, creepy children), and some left-of-centre offerings, too. As he spoke about the entries, Peter mentioned how impressed he was with the quality of entries he read – but in the end, there could be only one winner, and the winner took all.

We were excited to hear our own member Sarah Kumari took first prize with her moving, evocative piece Ellipses. Sarah is hoping to get her piece published in the coming year, and so we can’t present it for you here (lest she fall foul of the publishing guidelines), but our second and third place winners have agreed to share their pieces with you all, and you’ll find links to those below. Says Sarah:

“Thanks to Sutton Writers and Peter Laws for this fun and challenging competition. I don’t usually write ghosts or Christmas so this was decidedly out of my comfort zone. In the end I tried to write something comforting and I’m so happy that someone (i.e. Peter) ‘got it’. Thanks so much to Peter for reading the piece and understanding what I was trying to achieve. It was really moving to hear someone read out my work. In a year where it’s been very hard to write this was a real achievement for me. Thanks for the opportunity.”

We are very humbled to note that Sarah donated her prize-winnings to Shelter in time to support their Christmas campaign.

Next up we’ll be hosting the President’s Prize for members – closing date is the end of January, so stay tuned for more details!

The results

1st: Ellipses, by Sarah Kumari
2nd: By Your Grave, by Ioannis Assiotis (read it here)
3rd: House of Dolls, by Judith Wilson (read it here)

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