Winners light up theatre at annual writing competition prize night

Winner Richard Buxton with judge Leigh Russell
Winner Richard Buxton with judge Leigh Russell

A glittering night of prize giving and performance took place to celebrate the talents who entered the Bedford International Writing Competition.

The event, at the Quarry Theatre, saw famous literary names present prizes to the new names in literature.

Bedford Prize winner Michele O'Connell with Margaret Norris

Bedford Prize winner Michele O'Connell with Margaret Norris

Overall winner was Richard Buxton, with his short story Roller Coaster.

Richard, who hails from Worthing, West Sussex, was presented his prize by judge and best-selling author Leigh Russell, who read the story out loud.

This year, competition introduced a Bedford Prize, open to residents of the borough, which was won by Michele O’Connell, with her tale From Delhi to Bedford.

Entries were received from all over the world and the competition was able to make a £350 donation to Beanstalk, a national charity which funds reading volunteers for schools. Spokeswoman Stephanie Field said the money would fund a volunteer for a Kempston school.

Stephanie Field, from Beanstalk, meets Mayor Dave Hodgson

Stephanie Field, from Beanstalk, meets Mayor Dave Hodgson

The organisers expect this year’s competition will prove as popular, and are introducing a poetry competition to run alongside the story categories.

A spokeswoman said: “We are expecting submissions for the 2016 competition will beat the almost 400 entries we relieved this year as word has spread.”

Our judge for the upcoming 2016 short story competition is former Bedfordian, novelist and academic Toby Litt. Toby joined us for our Presentation Evening and is looking forward to judging this years competition. The Bedford Prize will be judged by Margaret Norwich, while Ian McEwan of Bedfords Ouse Muse will be judging the poetry.”

The competition has published Short Story Anthology 2014, which can be downloaded at Amazon. All proceeds will go to charity.

The 2015 Anthology will be available soon.

For more information, go to www.bedfordwritingcompetition.co.uk