Hartlepool, UK
Hartlepool image from tees.ac.uk site

Back in November, I wrote a post about National Short Story Week. In that post, I included links to markets for short stories and contests. I also decided to enter one of the contests myself.

I’m a real sucker for writing prompts and this one intrigued me. The UK region of Hartlepool decided to sponsor a competition to celebrate the 21st anniversary of their Borough Library system. The submitted stories had to incorporate the theme “twenty-one” and had to be no more than 2121 words.

I’ve written other stories by prompts, and it always sparks me to think creatively and – often – to produce a story I may not have thought of before.

Orvieto image from Orvieto wines site

I just recently received the news that my story, Bitter Harvest, placed second in the Hartlepool short story contest. First place went to Michelle Birbeck for Final Image and third place to Kevin Horsley for Lost Things.

Bitter Harvestavailable online – is the story of Allison, an American who marries an Italian and moves to Orvieto, a medieval hilltown in Italy’s Lazio region. There she has built a life for herself working in her husband’s vineyards, until she is forced to reexamine everything she believed.

All entrants were judged by short story writer Beda Higgins, and she had kind words about the selected stories:

Signorelli's Last Judgement
Details from Signorelli’s Last Judgement in the Orvieto cathedral

“Thank you for asking me to judge your short story competition, I enjoyed it very much. The quality was high, with little between them, – all engaging with different takes on “21”. They were all very well crafted and led towards the ending well. Thank you to everyone who entered and congratulations to our three winners.”

I am very pleased to have had my story selected for the competition, and I am grateful to the Hartlepool competition for sparking my imagination with their imaginative writing prompt.

As all writers know, the chance for a writer to spark his or her imagination is always (greatly) appreciated!