Short StoryNatural Spring, Havant

Havant Literary Festival’s 2009 Short Story Competition was run in association with Havant and District Writers’ Circle.  The judge was Siôn Donovan, Education Correspondent of The Portsmouth News.

The winner is Don Nixon with Night Crossing and the runner up Ann Jolly with A Malachite Sunbird.

Siôn Donovan said “It was quite a tough choice as I think there were three stories that stood out above the rest. In the end I’ve decided Night Crossing should win as the twist was well hidden until the end of the story when it raised a wry smile.

The lead character, the unnamed woman, is also well presented with just enough hints to want you to find our more about the seductive criminal before the night crossing. The rich-looking American is also intriguing. You also want to find out whether the two will meet again – an impressive accomplishment for a 1,500 word story.

The runner-up is A Malachite Sunbird. It’s compulsive reading about a forbidden relationship between an Englishman and an African woman. Ultimately it’s a destructive relationship for the girl but the story is cleverly written from her view point, showing how attraction compels her despite warnings from her family”.


The Havant Literary Festival 2009 Poetry Competition was exceptionally well supported, with nearly five hundred entries received.

The judge, Anne Stewart, was impressed with the standard and after much deliberation chose the following winners:

1st Prize: Football, Kuala Lumpur by Gill McEvoy

2nd Prize: The Eye and the Laureate: River Thames, London, 2509 by Eleanor Cooke

3rd Prize: Letter to my Father by Bridget Joseph

Highly Commended:

Water by Margaret Jennings
Walking on Raindrops by Ami Roseingrave
Roman Fleuve by Meredith Andrea
Once Upon a Time by Gill Learner


Only a Gas by Wendy Klein
Sunlight Swam In by Sarah James
Skinny Dipping by Sarah James
Rain Fever by Phil Powley
High Tide by Kris Erin Anderson

Children’s Competitions

Children’s short story and poetry competitions have also been launched. Schools across the borough have received details on the two age categories and the theme, which is Other People’s Shoes. Southsea poet Maggie Sawkins is conducting poetry workshops in some schools in support of this event. Prize winners from all age categories will receive their prize from a VIP guest at the Grand Opening and Prize Giving Ceremony at Havant Arts and Heritage Centre on Friday, 25 September.


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