YOUNG writers and their parents gathered earlier this week for the announcement of prize-winners for the 2023 Forest of Dean Short Story Competition.

The competition was organised by the Dean Scribblers and the Dean Writers Circle, and sponsored by the Rotary Club of the Royal Forest of Dean.

Prizes were presented by Roger Deeks, Chair of Dean Scribblers, and Vice Lieutenant of Gloucestershire. 

In addition to substantial prizes – the winner in the 15-18 age category took home £100 in cash – all long-listed entries were published in a beautifully-bound anthology. 

Earlier this year, the Rotary Club of the Royal Forest of Dean joined forces with Dean Scribblers and the Dean Writers Circle – primarily moved by Cheryl Mayo of the Scribblers and Rotarian John Belcher sponsor a short story writing competition for school children.

A Rotary Club spokesman said: “We felt creative writing to be an important skill to promote life-long personal development, and that we should do something to help.

“The competition was open to children aged between seven and 18 in three age categories, living in or attending school in the Forest of Dean District Council area.”

Schools and libraries were also involved in the competition.

The theme for the stories was “Turning Point” and three picture prompts were provided to start the creative flow.

The judges were looking for stories which surprised with a rich narrative and were innovative with unusual interpretations

The response was remarkable with an impressive spread of different stories.

A longlist of finalists was published at the end of October and the winners were

The winner of 7–10 category was: Seren Rose Richfield for The Day it all Changed. Second was George England for Keep Moving. Third was Magdon Heights by Grace Empett who won £30 worth of book tokens.

The winner of 11-14 category was Kimberley Bandy who also won a family ticket to the Clearwell Caves event and book tokens together worth £75.

Her story was called The Bird Revolution

Second: Book tokens to value £50

‘The Spiral Stone’, by Lucibella Marley May Smith’s story The Spiral Stone was placed second.

In third place was Kaidem Krasuski for The Broken Chapel.

The prizes in these categories were a family ticket to the Christmas event and book tokens together worth £75 for the winners; Book tokens worth £50 for second and £30 in book tokens for third.

Jenny Crompton won the 15-18 category with Labyrinthine Whispers.

Second-placed Shayna Trim won £75 for Lost to Time.

Caitlyn Prynn was third with A Lone Wandering Mind and she received £50.  

Winners in each category were invited to read their stories at the event at Forest Hills Golf Club in Coleford where the Rotary Club holds its weekley meeting.