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Winners of Chalk Circle Short Story Competition 2020 Announced

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

Many congratulations to the winners and runners-up in the Chalk Circle Short Story Competition 2020.

Our 2020 Judge, award-winning author and creative writing tutor, Vanessa Gebbie, praised the calibre of this year's shortlist: 'It is fair to say that every story I saw had something great about it, and I could see why they'd been shortlisted.’ Read Vanessa's full Judge's Report for her comments on the top five and a fascinating insight into what she's looking for in a prize-winning story and her judging process.


Always Something to do on a Saturday

by Tom Watling

Tom Watling is twenty-three and from south-east London. “I started writing when I was sixteen but I fell in love with it two years ago, after I stopped using a thesaurus. I care greatly about social justice - many of my stories are inspired by people I have met in homeless shelters and prisons." Read more


Teacups are for Girls

by Catherine Whitmore

Catherine Whitmore lives in South-East England, where she spent much of her childhood, having relocated from her native Newcastle. She enjoys writing about the domestic, the curious, and the uncomfortable, often in an idiomatic Northern context. Read more



by Emily Jane Bell

Emily Jane Bell is a writer of prose and poetry and is a research student at the University of Brighton. Read more


Both at Once by Ali Said

Pocket Money Pickings by Saffire Joriades-Israel

You can see details of all 12 shortlisted stories here

Tom Watling's story will be published in our STRATA 2 Anthology in Spring 2021 and for a limited time only we have also made all three prize-winning stories available to read here on our website. We hope you enjoy them!

A final word from our hard-working reading team who had the difficult task of whittling 340 entries down to a shortlist of just twelve. ‘We were privileged to receive many excellent and enjoyable stories, making our task more difficult than we could have imagined. Of those that didn’t make the final cut, there were several which came very close, so if your story wasn't placed this time, please don’t be discouraged. Reading is a subjective process. Reflect on our judge’s comments and keep writing.’

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