The Bedford Competition

After a year which is memorable for all the wrong reasons we have reached the climax of the poetry and short story competitions and are delighted to be publishing the results below.

Our judges have done an excellent job of selecting the prize-winners from over 2000 entries and we are thankful to them for the effort they have had to put in.

You can read the winning entries by scrolling down this page to the results, and then clicking on the title of the story or poem you wish to read.

Work is now underway compiling the anthology which we hope to publish in April. This will contain all the shortlisted stories and poems as well as the winners of the Rainbow Prize, Bedford Prizes and Young Writers' Awards.

Because of the restrictions imposed by the covid-19 pandemic, there will not be a live presentation event.

Although we are disappointed not to be able to meet with the prizewinning entrants, we are planning to celebrate their success in a different but memorable way, and more details of the form this will take will be revealed shortly.

2020 Competition

2020 Short Story Winners


First Prize

Mångata

by

Chris Barkley

Second Prize

Beacons

by

Sophie Holland

2020 Poetry Winners


Second Prize

Passing and Meeting

by

Molly Underwood

Third Prize

Hymn

by

Harriet Sanders

2020 Rainbow Prize Winners


First Prize

Memories from Muskwa Creek

by

Shirlee Matheson

Second Prize

A Different Version

by

Janet Newman

Third Prize

Starlings

by

Norma Allen


2020 Bedford Prize winners

Short Story

Barates and My Father

by

Fran Maciver

Poetry

October

by

Maya Abraham-Steele



2020 Young Writers - Prize winners

Short Story

Black Bin Bags

by

Kirsten Udall

Poetry

Mi Duende Muerde

by

Alba Alonso


2020 Short Story Competition - Shortlist

Story title Author
MangataChristopher Baker - Oxford
MongrelRobert Carter - STOCKTON NSW, Australia
Selfish Kisses and Early PolaroidsJames Woolf - London
Beaconssophie holland - Bristol
Her Unused SmileSarah Dawson - Tunbridge Wells
Silver BirdDavid Shelley Jones - SYDNEY, Australia
White AngelPaul Chiswick - Birmingham
The Life and Times of Sam the Wanderer as the End of Days ApproachesAnya Christiansen - Auckland, New Zealand
Onassis and HoxhaJuliet Hill - Madrid, Spain
TracesAmanda Hildebrandt - Caulfield North VIC, Australia
Tell us a bit about yourselfDavid Shelley Jones - SYDNEY, Australia
Broken BloodPauline (HUGHES) PLUMMER - North Shields

2020 Poetry Competition - Shortlist

Poem title Poet
Clarifying the protection of birds legislationVanessa Lampert - Wallingford
Jenny WrenBen Verinder - Tring
Lost GirlsFederica Peru - Frosinone-FR, Italy
Calling my motherAnne Casey - Northbridge, Australia
The Promised LandMaia Béar - London
if I had a lodger I could explainTamsin Hopkins - London
Toy Mouse, Discovered at Vindolanda Roman Fort, May 2020Isabella Mead - Wendover
HymnHarriet Sanders - Christchurch 8011, New Zealand
Manarola - final night - no cameraHan Smith - Bromley
Every Black History MonthWura Arisekola - Portarlington, Ireland
Passing and meetingMolly Underwood - London
A Short Film About LoveJoseph Kidney - Palo Alto, United States of America


2020 Short Story Competition - Long List

Story title Author
MangataChristopher Baker - Oxford
Black Bin BagsKirsten Udall - Coventry
Too DeepMel Fawcett - London
Memories from Muskwa CreekShirlee Matheson - Calgary, Alberta , Canada
WatercolourRoger Selby - London
Playing SafeValerie Bowes - Caterham
The Pig Farm Anne Wilson - Morpeth
Conversations with an OuthouseGraham McDonald - Denmark, Australia
Far from the Poppy FieldsGillian Brown - Peyriac de Mer, France
The Wind from HolaFran Maciver - Bedford
StarlingsNorma Allen - Llandinam
MongrelRobert Carter - STOCKTON NSW, Australia
Barates and My FatherFran Maciver - Bedford
JigsawStephen Downes - WATSONIA, Australia
Selfish Kisses and Early PolaroidsJames Woolf - London
SirensJune Walsham - Frome
The Scent of MarigoldsJanet Newman - Leicester
Just One WordPeter Collins - Leeds
Beaconssophie holland - Bristol
Scorched EarthDavid Butler - Bray, Ireland
Her Unused SmileSarah Dawson - Tunbridge Wells
Silver BirdDavid Shelley Jones - SYDNEY, Australia
ToddEmma Williams - Ludlow
Into the LightMaggie Richell-Davies - Langton Green Tunbridge Wells
White AngelPaul Chiswick - Birmingham
A Different VersionJanet Newman6 - Leicester
Kanto - the Golden HairpinMajella Pinto - Campbell, California, United States of America
Remembering Her ChordsLinda Grierson-Irish - Manchester
She WolfHattie Barnett - Cardiff
RedPenny Young - Croydon
The Life and Times of Sam the Wanderer as the End of Days ApproachesAnya Christiansen - Auckland, New Zealand
Gone FishingPatricia Cammish - Kingston Upon Thames
Onassis and HoxhaJuliet Hill - Madrid, Spain
What HappensAidan Demmers - Brisbane, Australia
PolwygleHarriet Sanders - Christchurch 8011, New Zealand
The ChrysalisJeannie Sloman - Bedford
TracesAmanda Hildebrandt - Caulfield North VIC, Australia
Tell us a bit about yourselfDavid Shelley Jones - SYDNEY, Australia
The FallNigel Hall - London
Broken BloodPauline (HUGHES) PLUMMER - North Shields

2020 Poetry Competition - Long List

Poem title Poet
Semaphore for SemaphoreJon Fink - Manningtree
Spring Colours Mosaicmalcolm hodgins - Glasgow
SwarmiesGARY BILLS - Herefordshire
Love in the Old Town of LijiangChaochuan Liu - Kunming, China
Clarifying the protection of birds legislationVanessa Lampert - Wallingford
SuwayqTaher Adel - Luton
Jenny WrenBen Verinder - Tring
Lost GirlsFederica Peru - Frosinone-FR, Italy
Calling my motherAnne Casey - Northbridge, Australia
Empress SisiCiorsdan Glass - Richmond
Downs EdgeOlivia Tuck - Swindon
The Promised LandMaia Béar - London
Our Shrinking Plot of EarthJonathan Greenhause - Jersey City, United States of America
Leaf StormDavid Butler - Bray, Ireland
Six of PentaclesClaire Askew - Carlisle
if I had a lodger I could explainTamsin Hopkins - London
Urinals James McDermott - Norfolk
The MomentEvelyn Lindley - Sittingbourne, Kent
The Water RailMark Totterdell - Exeter
October Maya Abraham-Steele - Bedford
Toy Mouse, Discovered at Vindolanda Roman Fort, May 2020Isabella Mead - Wendover
Mi Duende MuerdeAlba Alonso - Leamington Spa
age of driftMara Adamitz Scrupe - New Canton, United States of America
Revenge is SweetLinda Burnett - Mansfield
Hold Out Roger Vickery - Freshwater, Australia
HymnHarriet Sanders - Christchurch 8011, New Zealand
Manarola - final night - no cameraHan Smith - Bromley
Every Black History MonthWura Arisekola - Portarlington, Ireland
How long does the body last when the girl is gone?Molly Underwood - London
The MidlandJanet Norton - Nottingham
getting the summer clothes out of storageLucy Crispin - Kendal
Monks Chanting at PemayangtseRuth Sharman - Bath
Passing and meetingMolly Underwood - London
where to look for lost thingsHarriet Sanders - Christchurch 8011, New Zealand
A Short Film About LoveJoseph Kidney - Palo Alto, United States of America

2020 Short Story Competition - Judges' Commendations

Story title Author
EncounterPeter Hilton - NottinghamCommended by Rainbow Short Story Prize Judge
Down on the Farm.docGeoff Dean - BedfordCommended by Bedford Short Story Prize Judge
These Memories are MineJack Alfred Beck - BedfordCommended by Bedford Short Story Prize Judge
The Canal and the Trees and EverythingRosie Orr - Chipping NortonCommended by Rainbow Short Story Prize Judge

2020 Poetry Competition - Judges' Commendations

Poem title Poet
April 1st, 2020Rory Jamieson - LondonCommended by Young Writers' Poetry Award Judge
For the Woods, for AmyMegan Massey - BedfordCommended by Bedford Poetry Prize Judge
Blackbird and WolvesAnna Forbes - EdinburghCommended by Young Writers' Poetry Award Judge
Art for a Baby Sister at EighteenOlivia Tuck - SwindonCommended by Young Writers' Poetry Award Judge
Half a honeydew melonMaya Abraham-Steele - BedfordCommended by Bedford Poetry Prize Judge

2020 Competition – Judges

Short Story Competition Judge

Jordan Lees

After graduating with an MA in Literature, Jordan joined The Blair Partnership, literary agents for many renowned authors including J.K. Rowling, in 2016 and was made an Associate Agent in 2020. His reading tastes are wide-ranging and as an agent predominantly represents literary fiction, reading group fiction and crime and thrillers, as well as some non-fiction.

Poetry Competition Judge

Lesley Saunders

Lesley Saunders is the author of several books of poetry, most recently Nominy-Dominy (Two Rivers Press 2018) - 'a feature of this collection is its sheer ease with and celebration of language itself' (Martin Malone, The Interpreter's House). Lesley was joint winner of the inaugural Manchester Poetry Prize and one of the winners of the 2017 Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition. In 2016, Lesley won the Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation with her English version of a poem by the acclaimed Portuguese poet Maria Teresa Horta; Lesley's latest book, Point of Honour (Two Rivers Press 2019), pays homage to the radical and erotic work of Horta - who celebrated her 82nd birthday in May 2019 - with nearly 100 translated poems. Lesley leads writing workshops and undertakes poetry mentoring; she has performed her work at festivals and on the radio, and worked on collaborative projects and productions with visual artists, musicians, composers and dancers as well as other poets - most recently with Philip Gross in A Part of the Main (Mulfran Press 2018)

Bedford Short Story Prize Judge

Neil Beardmore

In the Nineties Neil won the Sussex Playwrights Award and The Richard Burton Poetry Competition, going on later to take an MA in Creative Writing specialising in Poetry and Novel writing. Two plays Pristine in Blue and A View Of Glass Mountains were professionally performed recently and in 2017 his novel Lemon Seas was published. Neil's poems have appeared in The Cannon's Mouth, Erbacce, Dreamcatcher, The French Literary Review and many other magazines. Having had poetry published in Orbis, he has recently had a short story, Key Notes published in the magazine.

Bedford Poetry Prize Judge

Steve Kendall

Steve Kendall is a graduate of the Newcastle University / Poetry School MA in Writing Poetry. He is a co-host of the Bedford reading series 'Ouse Muse' and convenor of the North Beds and Milton Keynes Stanza. His work has most recently appeared in Strix and Magma.

Young Writers' Short Story Award Judge

Stephen Bywater

Stephen Bywater joined the merchant navy at sixteen before going on to study English at university. After graduating he taught in South and Central America for three years, returning to the UK to complete an MLitt at St Andrews. For the past twenty years he has taught English in Bedford, where he lives with his wife and two daughters. He is the author of two novels, The Devil's Ark and Night of the Damned (published by Headline/Hachette), and is currently working on his third.

Young Writers' Poetry Award Judge

Cameron Stuart

Cameron Stuart is a poet originally from, and now back residing in, Bedford. He attended the Poetry MFA at Saint Mary's College of California, and has taught writing at SMC and Berkeley. He is the recipient of Judith Butler and Community of Writers scholarships.

Rainbow Short Story Prize Judge

Leigh Russell

Leigh Russell is the author of twenty-one crime novels, including the Geraldine Steel series which has sold over a million books. Shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger Award, long listed for the CWA Dagger in the Library, she is Chair of the CWA Debut Dagger Judges and Co-ordinator for the CWA Critiques. She was a Finalist for the People's Book Prize, and is a Royal Literary Fellow. Find out more about Leigh from her website.




Acknowledgements


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