Sign up for Oxfordshire Library Service’s 2019 short story competition

Sixth-former Phoebe Haywood is encouraging budding writers to sign up for Oxfordshire Library Service’s 2019 short story competition.

The Burford School student won the young adult category last time around with an examination of life’s difficulties based in a pub.

The Glass is Never Half Full has since gone on to be issued more than 100 times, winning it a place in the county’s top five most issuing eBooks since its publication on April 30.

Entry to the 2019 short story competition is now open and closes on February 28. The young adult category is open to entrants aged between 11 and 17 (Year 7 upwards), with an adult category for those aged 18 and upwards.

Now in its fifth 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 Overdrive eBook service – an online extension of the county’s network of more than 40 libraries.

It’s all part of the council’s commitment to thriving communities – helping people live safe, healthy lives and play an active part in their community.

Massive honour

Phoebe, 17, said: “It was a massive honour to win the last competition. I know there must have been some fantastic stories so this really validated my work.

“It’s really good that it provides people with a platform to get their work out there. Even if you don’t win it’s certainly giving you some encouragement to write.”

Based on an idea she got in a hotel bar while on holiday, The Glass is Never Half Full examines different approaches to life’s difficulties.

Phoebe has been writing since the age of five or six and success in the short story competition has only fuelled her passion for words.

She is studying for A-Levels in English, Biology and Religious Education and hopes to go on to read English and Classics at Oxford University.

“I’ve always enjoyed writing and I’ve been doing sketch work with my friends lately. We’re trying to put on a show at school and have been looking at sketches involving things like death, school and the use of plastics.”

Adult category winner Louise Brakspear wrote a moving tale set in the aftermath of World War One. A Passing Place has also won a place in the county’s top five most issuing eBooks, being viewed more than 100 times since April 30.

A long-time customer of Henley Library, it was third-time lucky for Louise, having entered the competition twice previously.

Strength to strength

Now it’s over to the next band of budding writers. The winners of both the adult and young adult categories see their entries published as an eBook, available via the library website for the whole of 2019 to be borrowed and read across Oxfordshire.

Katy Treadgold, Librarian, Reading, Health and Culture, said: “The short story competition has gone from strength to strength. We’ve got thousands of titles and issues of eBooks are rising. It’s a great incentive to know that other people could soon be reading your work.”

Competition entry closes on February 28 with both category winners published in May. Full terms and conditions as well as instructions on how to submit your entries can be found at www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/ebook-short-story-competition