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Aurora Poetry and Short Fiction Open Competition 2017 Prize Awards

29 June 17 words: Aly Stoneman

National Writing Day fell on the longest and muggiest day of the year, but thankfully the Pimms flowed freely at Bromley House Library in Nottingham on Wednesday 21 June for the second Aurora Poetry and Fiction Prize Awards...

The evening, which drew a large audience, commenced with drinks in the walled garden before moving upstairs where strategically placed fans and wide-open windows were no match for the tropical heat.

Jacqueline Gabbitas from Writing East Midlands introduced the event, before handing over to judges Jacob Ross (fiction) and Penelope Shuttle (poetry). Both praised the high standard of entries and gave generous feedback on the winning stories and poems, offering insights into their decision-making and the process of long-listing and short-listing submissions.

In selecting the winning poems, Shuttle said they felt like poems that “needed to be written” and quoted Nottinghamshire writer D.H Lawrence, “If writing isn’t fun, don’t do it”. Shuttle commented that she was pleased to see The Stonewood Press Regional Writing Prize offered a particular opportunity for writers from the East Midlands to shine, as they are the people working to promote literature in their geographic area.

The event culminated in poetry and short story readings from the winning and commended writers, alongside Penelope Shuttle and Jacob Ross, who read from their newest titles. Despite the competition attracting international and national entries, Nottinghamshire writers were well represented in the final selection, with the evening featuring readings from Lynda Clarke, Panya Banjoko and Roberta Dewa among others.

You can read all the winning and commended poems and stories in a free online anthology, Cut the Clouds

The winning poems and short stories selected by judges Penelope Shuttle and Jacob Ross are:


1st Prize: Valli Takes a Bath by Mab Jones

2nd Prize: Croissant by Peter Wallis

3rd Prize: Grains by A.F. Paterson

Stonewood Press Prize for Regional Writing: Fallopian Tubes on a Scan by Caroline Stancer

Highly Commended   

Sphagnum Moss by Kerry Darbishire

A Place Called Solomon by Liz Lefroy

Ravens at the Tower by Jan Norton

The drum and the settlement by Caroline Gilfillan


Forecaster by Caroline Price

One of a Kind by Panya Banjoko

Bubble casting in the Kingdom of the Bears by Charlotte Baldwin

Something Like Dawn by Roberta Dewa

The Songbird by Maria Taylor

Mote by Mr Peacock

Short Fiction

1st Prize: Breathing Exercises by Caroline Price

2nd Prize: All the Young Dudes by Glenda Young

3rd Prize: Lust for Life by D.R.D Bruton

Stonewood Press Prize for Regional Writing: Hope, Endings and Salvation by Judith Cooper

Highly Commended                

Selling Up by Karen Winyard

A Brief Meditation of Fear and the Cockroach by C. Hart

Pilgrimage by Alex Reece Abbott



Sidhe Wood by Lynda Clarke

Loving Icarus by Alex Reece Abbott

Rooting by C.S. Mee


Short Fiction: 

Daisy Banks by Sheila Blackburn 

Mirror, Mirror by Rob Bray 

Suicide Vending Machine by Thomas Welsh

The Tent Of Wonders by David C. Williams

Lucky by Caroline Gilfillan

Bouillabaisse by David Butler


Palette by Peter Broome

Mr Moby’s Plea by Mamie Wilkinson

My Damn Awake by Astra Bloom Mackay

Cyclops by Vikki Morley

Clutter by Pat Borthwick

Wallet by Peter Wallis

Her Kitchen by Barbara Cathcart

The Pail by Lucy Crispin

Waking by Judy O’Kane

Off Site Christmas Party by Ian Dudley

The Elephant by Roy Marshall

My Stepdad Drive Me Home Following His Second Round of Chemotherapy by Jake Reynolds

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide by Claire Williamson

No access by Margaret Wilmot

Bear by Pat Borthwick

Grasscutter, Framlingham Castle by Caroline Price

The Aurora Poetry and Short Fiction Open Competition 2017 Prize Awards took place at Bromley House Library in Nottingham, on Wednesday 21 June

Writing East Midlands website 

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