Competition Winners Announcement

This year's competition was fierce. Our annual competition meeting was an electrically charged debate with praise for many stories. Many of us have been disappointed that our personal favourites didn't get the recognition they deserved. But in the words of Connor Macleod, 'There can be only one!'

So here are the winners for this year's Exeter Short Story Competition, 2021:

First Prize £700
Stand Up by LM Rees

Stand Up is a story about how powerless a child is in the face of bullying and racism. These topics elicit strong feelings for a lot of people and this story asks the reader to question whether we are all built to be heroes. It's a story about self-forgiveness and regrets. The author handles the topic well and leaves the reader thinking about it long after the story concludes.

Second Prize £250
The Homecoming by Richard Hooton

When a man returns to his childhood home after a long estrangement, he sets in motion a chain of events that will lead to a cathartic resolution. This story had excellent characterisation, beautiful descriptions and a nice twist. It is satisfying when a villain gets his comeuppance.

Third Prize £100
The Weird Event by Frances Ridley

It's nice to see a sci-fi story win a prize this year, and The Weird Event doesn't disappoint. A story with a strong female protagonist working in STEM who shows her competency in a male dominated industry. Not only does she uncover the reason behind a mysterious robotic error, she does so using her feminine strengths. The story has a nice surprise twist at the end that will leave you wondering.

Devon Prize £100
The Shuck by Lucy Banks

Lucy Banks' illustration of Dartmoor is beautiful and engaging, her story is well grounded in a sense of place and her characters vivid and real. It is a psychological thriller, and we warn you that there are scenes of violence that some readers may find upsetting.

You will be able to read the stories on our Winning Stories page over the coming week as we release them, and we will be interviewing our winners in due course so that you can find out more about them.

Thanks to everyone who entered this year, and we wish you the best of luck for next year.