Budding local authors win Libraries' short story competition

A moving tale set in the aftermath of the Great War and an examination of life’s difficulties based in a pub have been chosen as the winners of Oxfordshire Library Service’s Short Story Competition 2018.

Now in its fourth year, the competition showcases talented new writers in the county by making their stories available for any library user to read for free, on the library Overdrive eBook service.

Young Adult category

The winner of the young adult category was Burford resident Phoebe Haywood with her story The Glass is Never Half Full. Based on an idea she got in a hotel bar while on holiday, the story examines different approaches to life’s difficulties. Sixteen-year-old Phoebe is an active blogger who is closely involved with the Chiplit Fest - Chipping Norton's annual literary event.

She said: "I think I've been writing stories since I was about five or six, but I've had loads of encouragement over the years from my parents, teachers and librarians. My school library also runs a Creative Writing club that I have been attending.

"When I'm writing, I can make people and build worlds, and the best feeling is when I've constructed it all really well so that I can look back on my work and feel proud of it."

Phoebe, who is eyeing up a future career as a writer, said it was a big surprise to win, adding: "I know that loads of young writers must have submitted stories of an amazing quality, so I'm very honoured that my story won with all that competition."

Adult category

Winner of the adult category was Louise Brakspear with her story ‘A Passing Place’ - a moving, very human tale set in the aftermath of World War One. A long-time customer of Henley Library, it was third-time lucky for Louise, having entered the competition twice previously. Writing since her early twenties, winning in 2018 could prove to be a springboard to further success.

She said: “I’m absolutely delighted – really thrilled. It’s nice to think that others have enjoyed the story.”

Adult category winner Louise Brakspear, whose story A Passing Place won over the judges

"Worthy winners"

Lead Librarian for Digital Info and Learning Katharine Spackman said: “As always the standard of entries was very high and our judges certainly had a difficult job on their hands. In the end Louise’s and Phoebe’s stories just had something special about them that stood out from the pack, and they are very worthy winners. I’m sure their stories will very popular with our customers.”

If you want to see what made them this year’s outstanding authors you can read their stories through the Oxfordshire Library eBook webpage or the Overdrive and Libby apps today! Go to www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/ebooks and select 'Overdrive'.

Last year’s winners were some of the most-read eBooks available from Oxfordshire Libraries, with adult category winner Jez Fernandez’s story receiving the most downloads ever for a competition-winning title.