The winners of the Welsh Books Council’s Quick Reads/Stori Sydyn Wales-wide creative writing competition are Frances Kay and Sioned Elin Hughes, both from Llandrindod Wells, Powys.
There must be something special in the water in Llandrindod Wells, as the winners of both the Welsh-language and English-language categories of the Quick Reads/Stori Sydyn Short Story Competition hail from the town.
The writing competition – part of the Quick Reads/Stori Sydyn campaign – invited aspiring authors in Wales to enter by submitting a short piece of creative writing on a subject of their own choice.
Entrants to the competition, which was open to all residents in Wales writing in either English or Welsh, were limited to a short piece no longer than 2014 words.
The competition formed part of the Quick Reads/Stori Sydyn campaign – an initiative that, through the publication of eight new titles for Wales each year, aims to encourage reluctant readers to enjoy reading by providing them with bite-size books.
Angharad Tomos, Reading Promotions Project Manager said: “I was overwhelmed by the quality of the entries. The stories were judged not only on their length, but also on their originality, the use of language and the ability to hold the readers’ interest. The aim of the competition was to write a piece that would draw the reader in, and encourage people to read to the end – and the two winning stories certainly succeeded in doing that.”
Frances Kay, winner of the English-language category, is already an established author with the ending of her latest novel, Dollywagglers, set in Wales. Her short story, ‘His Nose and Eyes’, captured the judges’ attention due to its original use of letters to weave the story of intrigue and deceit based in a fantasy land.
Frances Kay said: “Winning this competition has surprised and delighted me. I feel passionately that reading and books are ours, for everyone to enjoy. If reading does not come easily to you, you have my deep respect; surviving in a world where we are besieged on all sides by written words is a major achievement. I hope everyone will enjoy my ‘Quick Reads’ story.”
The judges felt that Sioned Hughes, winner of the Welsh-language category, showed tremendous sensitivity in her writing. Her short story ‘Dydd Mercher’ focuses on two relationships – a blossoming intergenerational friendship and a marriage torn apart by degenerative illness.
According to Sioned, who is the Acting Deputy Headteacher at Ysgol Trefonnen: “Winning the Quick Reads/Stori Sydyn Short Story Competition Prize, together with the positive comments from the judges, will encourage me to make time for writing in my busy life as a teacher in the Welsh stream of Ysgol Trefonnen. Who knows – some day, I may have an opportunity of publishing a novel!”
The winners were presented with a set of the Quick Reads/Stori Sydyn titles and book vouchers to the value of £150.
Copies of all Quick Reads/Stori Sydyn titles are available to purchase on www.gwales.com and in bookstores, priced at £1 each, or available to borrow from your local library. They are also available as e-books.