When organising a literary prize giving event, where better to host it than a book shop?
The Bedford Writing Competition held its 2014 award ceremony in Waterstones, Bedford, where the winners of its short story competition were announced.
The international competition attracted 292 entries from around the world, all hoping to bag the £100 top prize.
A shortlist of ten stories was judged by crime writer Leigh Russell, who authored the successful Geraldine Steel mysteries series.
First prize was awarded to Liz Kershaw for her tale entitled Lures. Second prize of £75 went to Mike Fox, for his story called Fergal’s First Gig, while the third prize of £50 was awarded to Lucy Bignall for her tale The Boy With Magic Fingers.
Ms Russell said all ten shortlisted stories were of a very high standard before reading the winning tale to the audience on Friday, January 16.
Competition committee secretary Veronica Simms said: “Leigh thought it was an original tale which was sad and funny in good measure.
“Lures is about a woman who goes on a fly fishing course bought for her by her mother, who has cancer. It follows the relationships she has with the other women on the course, and the man running it.”
During the course of the evening, the committee also praised the contribution made by the “readers” of the hundreds of entries.
Veronica said: “We had 12 volunteers who divided the entries among themselves and graded them. Some read as many as 25 stories.
“The committee then read all the ones which scored above 80 per cent and whittled them down to ten.”
She added: “We all thought Lures was one of the better stories and were pleased it won.”
As well as providing prize money, the competition entry fee of £5 per story also raised much-needed funds for two charities. During the prize ceremony, the Bedford Retirement Education Centre was presented with a cheque for £275, and St Joseph’s Lower School, in Queen’s Park, received £100.
The event was filmed by students from Bedford College, and the winning stories will be available on the competition website www.bedfordwritingcompetition.co.uk
Check the website for details on how to enter this year’s competition.