My story, Bitter Harvest, won a UK writing contest

Hartlepool, UK

Hartlepool image from 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!


  1. Phoenix on January 18, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    That’s great! Congratulations!

  2. ledrakenoir on January 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Very well done, congratulations, Kimberly… 🙂

  3. Celeste on January 18, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Congratulations, Kimberly!

  4. Julia on January 18, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    I almost cried with happiness when I read this. I think I read this story. You are a gifted, talented hard-working writer, Kimberly. Congratulations!

    • kimberlysullivan on January 18, 2013 at 6:31 pm

      Thanks for your support, Julia. It really means so much to me.

  5. Celeste on January 18, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    I’ve just finished to read your story. If I’m allowed to espress my point of view, I think that it’s very well written.
    You did a very good job with descriptions, feelings and final twist.

    • kimberlysullivan on January 18, 2013 at 6:34 pm

      Grazie, Celeste! Feedback is always appreciated. Thanks so much for reading!

  6. Chantel Rhondeau on January 18, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Congratulations, Kimberly! I never had the pleasure of reading that one before. You evoke emotions so well. Great job!

  7. kimberlysullivan on January 18, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Thanks so much, Chantel. No, this one I had to write quickly for a deadline and couldn’t get the input of all my faulous critters, but all of you work wonders in polishing and improving my stories. : )

  8. wordfoolery on January 19, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    Well done, Kimberly! I agree, prompts really help me too.

    • kimberlysullivan on January 19, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      Thanks, Grace! Yes, I know. They’re great for stimulating imagination.

  9. Mindy on January 19, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Congratulations Kimberly! So excited for you!

  10. Claire 'Word by Word' on January 20, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Well done Kimberly! You are such an inspiration, what great news and fabulous motivation for your writing, ride the wave!

  11. Claire 'Word by Word' on January 20, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Just finished reading it, great story and an excellent title!

    • kimberlysullivan on January 21, 2013 at 1:13 pm

      Thanks for the kind words, Claire! I’m just awful at titles, but I was kind of pleased with this one. I’m so glad you liked it (and my story), too. Merci!

  12. Nicola Layouni on January 20, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    Just wanted to add my congratulations too, Kimberly. Well done, girl. 🙂 You certainly kept this quiet! You should post something over on the Brag Thread.

    Kind regards


    • kimberlysullivan on January 21, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      Oh, thanks for stopping by, Nicola! Because of the tight deadline, I didn’t have time to run this one by you and all my amazing critique partners, but you’ve helped improve more than your fair share of my stories. And I’m eternally grateful! : )

  13. Catherine on January 24, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Congratulations! Will this piece be in your collection? Over to read up now. Great work xcat

    • kimberlysullivan on January 25, 2013 at 9:08 am

      Thanks, Catherine. Yes, this piece is one I want to include.

  14. Kim Talks Books on February 6, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Congrats, Kimberly! That’s fantastic news! 😀

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