Ryedale Book Festival

Short Story Competition

In association with the Blackthorn Press

Over 130 writers entered our 2018 Short Story Competition and the judging panel had the challenging task of agreeing upon a short list of ten stories. We are indebted to the judges for their dedication and commitment to the competition.

We are delighted that Chris Power agreed to be the executive judge of the Competition and announced the winner on 22nd September at the Talbot Hotel in Malton, North Yorkshire.

Congratulations to these ten writers, whose stories are now in an anthology published by Blackthorn Press in September:

Patrick Bellshaw
Tom Bryan
Alan Bryant
Paul Cohen
Aoife Inman
Barbara Murray
Joanne Preston
Stephen Reid
Stephen Wade
Glenda Young

The Winners

1st place: Aoife Inman for Route of Flight
Aoife Inman is a historian, artist and general lover of words both spoken and typed. Based in Manchester, she sent her first eight-page story off to a publishing house at the age of 12, complete with a handwritten note, kickstarting a life-long obsession with writing. She is a member of the ‘Writing Squad’ and has a long list of writing credits including being long-listed for the 2016 Royal Academy Short Story Award

2nd place: Tom Bryan for From Where There are Ghost Bears
Tom Bryan was born in Winnipeg, Canada in 1950, but has been long resident in Scotland, his mother’s country. He is a widely published and broadcast poet, fiction and non-fiction writer and editor of literary magazines. He was the founder of “The Eildon Tree” magazine, still going in the Scottish Borders. Tom plays a bit of harmonica and writes dramatic pieces which have been performed as far away as Tula, in Russia.

3rd place: Paul B Cohen for Tea and Biscuits
Paul B. Cohen read English at Leeds University and studied further in the U.S.A. Formerly a freelance theatre and film reviewer, his plays have been seen in various cities in the United States. His short stories have appeared in a number of journals. His tale ‘Lecha Dodi’ won first place in Moment magazine’s 2014 Short Fiction Awards. He is currently writing novels.



Alan Avery

Alan Avery

After retiring from the army, Alan Avery settled in Pickering and founded the Blackthorn Press, an independent publishing company. The aim of the company was to provide a focus for Yorkshire local history and to encourage new writing. This collaboration with the Ryedale Book Festival furthers the aim of finding new talent and encouraging new writing. Ten authors will be published, many for the first time thus providing an opportunity for some exciting new writing to be enjoyed.


Libby Pearson

Libby Pearson

Libby Pearson holds a First-Class degree in English and American literature and an MA in creative writing. She is a freelance creative project coordinator and playwright. She has written seven professionally produced and performed touring plays, including ‘The Barber’ and ‘Hiding’ for Me & Thee Theatre, Libby is the writer of ‘The Purple List’, a one-man play about diversity and dementia which is performed frequently throughout the country.  She also delivered for the Ryedale Book Festival the creative writing aspect of its Schools’ Story Project which was designed to enable children at ten primary schools to see their collaborative story as properly published book.


Ana Richards

Ana Richards

Ana Richards has been a volunteer with the book festival since the very early days, initially as a Trustee and now as a valued committee member who chairs events and helps with fundraising. Coming from an art and design background, she worked initially in textile conservation then enjoyed various employed roles in the voluntary and public sectors.  Ana is also involved in a number of local groups as a voluntary publicity officer but somehow, she always manages to find time to read!



Chris Power by Claudia Burlotti

Chris Power

Chris Power lives and works in London. His “Brief History of the Short Story” has appeared in the Guardian since 2007. Mothers is his first book which has been described as the debut of “an exceptional literary voice.”