Interview with 2024 Devon Prize Winner - Rebecca Shapland

 Meet the Winners! We close out this years' competition with an interview with our Devon prize winner, Rebecca Shapland. We hope you've enjoyed reading this years' winning stories and our peek behind the scenes into what inspired them. Maybe it'll be you next year? Rebecca Shapland is a teacher of A Level English Literature and can either be found in North Devon’s middle-of-nowhere, where she grew up, or traipsing the streets of her beloved Exeter. How would you sum up your story in a sentence or two? Slightly dislocated from reality, a small town in Kernow is excited by the arrival of the Minerva, a ship headed for the Americas. Young Jeremiah is focussed on looking after his father’s shop which sells miniature animals, but his friend Morven has bigger aspirations… How long have you been writing? Is this your first win? My mum is a Librarian and books have always been a huge part of my life. I studied English for my BA and MA, and at uni I had an embarrassing online po

Interview with the 2024 3rd prize winner - Jaime Gill

 Meet the Winners! Jaime Gill won third prize with his story, Guardian Angel. Jaime is a British-born writer living in Cambodia, whose stories have been published by Litro, Literally Stories, Pinky Thinker, In Parentheses, voidspace, and others. His stories have won or been a finalist for competitions including The Masters Review Award, the Bridport Prize, Plaza Prizes and Flash405.  You can find him at:  ,   and . How did you feel when you found out that you'd won? I was delighted to even be longlisted, so to actually win third place was a real honour and - I have to admit - big surprise. I'm particularly glad that it's a British contest, as I think this story has a particularly British accent to it, unlike many of my others. I've read and loved previous Exeter Writers winners, so I feel like I am in very good company. Where did you get the idea? The idea for Guardian Angel came about beca

Interview with the 2024 2nd prize winner - Julie Evans

 Meet the Winners! Julie Evans’ won second prize with her story, The Sleeve. Her short fiction has won and been placed in a number of competitions. Her work has been published in anthologies, magazines, national and local newspapers, recorded on audio, and performed on stage. Julie lives in Surrey, UK and her favourite things are family, forests, and firelight.   Q. Where did you get the idea (for the story)?   I had written a tattooing incident into a historical story and was thinking about it in terms of how popular/unpopular tattoos have been in different eras, and people’s reactions to them. Once you start thinking about it, you see tattoos everywhere! So I made my character fascinated by her daughter’s new boyfriend’s ‘sleeve’ when he comes to stay.       Q. How would you sum up your story in a sentence or two?   It’s really about motherhood and sexuality. The character, a middle-aged woman, is unnerved by the arrival of an attractive man in her home, which makes her reflect on he

Interview with the 2024 1st Prize Winner - Marc Joan

 Meet the Winners! Marc Joan won first prize with his story, Desire Lines. His first two novels, ‘Hangdog Souls’ (2022) and ‘The Cartoon Life and Loves of a Stupid Man’ (2023), are published by Deixis Press ( ). Marc has also published 30 stories in anthologies and magazines, and his short fiction has been placed in several competitions (for details, please see: ). Where did you get the idea?   The truth is that I don’t know where the stories come from. My writing process is basically as follows: I sit down in a fit of laziness; my mind is a blank, as normal; then, amid the blankness, things appear, seemingly of their own accord. Sometimes these apparitions coalesce into an ‘anlage’ of a story, a kind of rudimentary, relatively inchoate mixture of words and feelings; and sometimes this anlage subsequently develops into a more cohesive narrative. You could say I’m just the host for a series of mental teratomata, some of whi

Read the Devon Prize Winner 2024 - Trevithick's Miniature Menagerie by Rebecca Shapland

  Trevithick's Miniature Menagerie  by  Rebecca Shapland Jeremiah took pride in making sure his father's shop was smart and presentable. The mahogany countertop was always polished, the brass doorknobs shining, the glass buffed into transparency, and the animal enclosures regularly cleaned. No one knew the shop as well as Jeremiah, and although he was barely in long trousers, the townspeople knew him as a respectable salesman. His father infrequently ventured from his workshop to check on the animals, and offer a nod of approval, but mostly he let Jeremiah organise things how he pleased.   The sign in front of the shop read ‘Trevithick Miniature Menagerie’ in gold lettering that was crusting over with salt. If someone were to walk down the cobbled path opposite the shop, between the bakers and the butchers, they would find themselves at the water’s edge, with the harbour curving to their right, and the sea which bubbled and broiled in bad weather sprawled out in front of them.