Short Story Competition – Results

Announcing the Winner and Runners up of the World’s Least Prestigious Writing Competition.

I do love a bit of false modesty. For a long time I described Blue Poppy Publishing as “The World’s Smallest Publishing Company”.  As time went on, I had to change that to “Devon’s Smallest Publishing Company”, but now I think I am correct in saying that it is not even “Ilfracombe’s Smallest Publishing Company”.  However, a writing competition that I ran attracted just 23 entries. It was limited to entrants from Devon and the stories had to be set in Devon. As such, I think it is not going to threaten any of the global contests that take place.

Nevertheless, lack of quantity does not mean that the quality was not good, because it was. We had some brilliant stories and these will be part of an anthology to be published later in the year. They will be joined by a few more stories that have been submitted since the contest ended to make it a good sized book.

But WHO WON? I hear you ask.

OK – without further ado. The winner was Colin Smith with Stand and Deliver, a comedic story about a temporally misplaced highwayman holding up vehicles along the North Devon link road and around barnstaple. Colin is a stalwart of writing groups in South Molton and Barnstaple, and has been included in several other anthologies including “Mystery Magic and Mayhem

There were then five runners up by four writers which were all so close together that I decided to award the remaining £250 in equal portions.

So that meant a completely new writer Jade Ruby won £100 for two of her entries which got into the top six.

And the remaining three prizes of £50 each went to Jane Bheemah, Lalla Merlin, and Alex Morrison.

Well done to everyone who entered. Now to get to work on producing the anthology.

Short Story Competition – Short List

It has been an interesting exercise running this competition. I have learned a lot and will probably do something similar again with a few changes to reflect lessons learned.

We didn’t get an overwhelming number of entries and I posted a, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, long list a little while ago consisting of everyone who entered.

We then had a delay with the judging due to unforseen circumstances, but we do now have all the marks in.

However, I am going to keep everyone in suspenders just a little longer while I have another read through myself, and seek opinions from one last casting judge, because it is pretty tight at the top.

The winner of the £250 first prize will, however, be one of the following people, listed in alphabetical order by surname.

  • Jane Bheemah
  • Lalla Merlin
  • Alex Morrison
  • Jade Ruby
  • Colin Smith


Short Story Competition – Long List

At the start of the year, I decided to run a short story competition. This was a very new experience for me and yet another major learning curve.

I got everything set up and I started letting people know. I did limit the entries to writers in Devon. That’s because when I do the anthology of the best entries, I wanted to be able to deal directly with the authors without driving all over the country.

I also had a specific theme that the stories had to be set in or strongly connected with Devon. This is because with my business firmly rooted here, I find that books with local interest sell best.

Anyway, thanks to those restrictions, and having a zero budget for advertising, we didn’t get very many entries. So therefore, I am going to announce a longlist of entrants right now which will just be the names of all the writers who entered. Some entered multiple entries.

As with many things, a very poor start will not stop me from growing and improving, and the following writers can count themselves in with a very good chance of being the lucky winner of £250

So, in alpahebetical order of surname.

  • Val Allsup
  • Susan Barrett
  • Anne Beer
  • Ralph Bell-Ley
  • Caroline Berry
  • Jane Bheemah
  • Darren Colwill
  • Nathalie Denzey
  • Shiela Golding
  • Ella Hobson
  • Katie Mallett
  • Damien Mansfield
  • Lalla Merlin
  • Alex Morrison
  • Jade Ruby
  • Colin Smith
  • Irene Sugden
  • Pamela Vass

The judging will now commence. I’m sorry but I don’t have a definite date for when I will announce a shortlist or a winner yet as I honestly don’t know what to expect of the judges.

In future years I will probably know a lot more and there will be a lot more entries too. Meanwhile you will just have to trust me that something is going on in the background.


Short Story Competition – Rules

I hate rules but we have to have a few just so everyone knows what’s what.

Addenda: (this will soon become a separate FAQ)

  1. Since I have been asked at least once now, this competition if for adults, i.e. 18 yrs and over, only. If it goes well, I will look into running a competition for younger writers.
  2. I’ve been asked to definte or elaborate rule 3.  What I am looking for is the essence of the county within the story. You can make up a fictional Devon village if you wish. I would sooner have a story that reeks of wax cotton jackets, and sheep, but never once mentioned the word Devon, than have an off the peg story with the words “in Devon” thrown in to make it fit the rules.
  3. Re. rule 9. I realise that many authors do not know how to remove metadata. Don’t worry, I will be double-check all entries for this issue. (About 90% so far have needed amending!)


      1. Cost to enter – £5 for a single entry or £10 for three stories. You may enter up to three stories.  Failure to comply with the rules may mean your entry is disqualified and your entry fee forfiet. 
      2. Deadline – Entries, and all accompanying payments must be received by March 31st 2022
        Entry implies that you are happy to receive relevant emails from Blue Poppy regarding the competition.
      3. Devon  – The story must be set in Devon, or Devon must feature strongly in the story.
        Entries must be from writers living in Devon. This may be waived in certain specific circumstances to be decided on by Blue Poppy Publishing on a case by case basis. Please get in touch if in any doubt.
      4. Genres – Although entries should be written for adults (not children) they should not contain explicit adult content, e.g. graphic violence, gratuitous swearing, or strong sexual content. If the story were a film it should get a 15 or PG certificate.
        Entries may be in any genre except erotica or horror.
        Yes SF-F is welcome but remember “Devon”.
      5. Original Work – Each entry must be your own original unpublished piece of writing for which you retain the rights. Unpublished means that it has not been published in print, or accepted for publication, or appeared on any website other than one wholly controlled and owned by you.
      6. Exclusivity – You should not submit your entry to other competitions if they include a clause requiring your work to be included in an anthology. See [7 & 12] below.
      7. YOU KEEP YOUR RIGHTS – Entering this competition does not mean that you give up your rights to the work. You retain your rights at all times up to and including if you win a prize. This is not a scheme to get your work for free – see [12] below. 
      8. Withdrawing your entry – You may withdraw your entry at any time but your fee cannot be refunded unless the entry is refused by Blue Poppy Publishing.
      9. Specifications:
        Entries must be predominantly written in English. Limited use of other langauges for literary reasons, e.g. dialogue, is of course acceptable.
        Maximum word count 2,500 words. Minimum 1,000 words.
        Entries must be submitted in .doc .docx .odt .txt (not .pages or .pdf)
        Use a serif font 12pt double spaced.
        Your story needs to remain anonymous so please do not include your name at the top or in the headers or meta-data or anywhere in the story. Each entry will be given a number which will be associated with the entrant in a separate file, so the judges can’t be biased if they happen to know the writer.
      10. Prizes – The prize fund consists of £500 The writer of the winning story will recieve £250 and there will be runner up prizes totalling the remaining £250 this may be a simple 2nd and 3rd prize of £150 and £100 or it may consist of up to five runner up prizes. This will be decided based on the number and quality of the entries during the judging process.
      11. Judging – The judging will be done by a diverse panel of anonymous readers who will be paid for their time. Their collective judgements will decide the winner and that decision will be final. No correspondence will be entered into. The winning entries and (if appropriate) any shortlists, will be posted on this website.
      12. OPTION to be included in an anthology – Writers of the best entries may be offered the opportunity for their work to appear in an athology to be published by Blue Poppy Publishing.
        There is no obligation to allow your work to appear.
        You will be offered a small payment (to be advised and depending on length and quality) for time-limited, exclusive rights to publish your work.
        You will not be required to buy copies of the finished book.
        You will receive one FREE author copy of the finished book.
        You will also be offered the opportunity to buy copies at a generous author discount if you wish to sell them or give them away.

How to enter.

If you are reading this, you must have read the rules. Please tell me you read the rules. It’s not like they are in complex legalese. If you haven’t read the rules, just scroll to the top and read them, OK?

The competition is open from the beginning of January 2022 until March 31st.

When you are ready to submit your entry, you should make a payment of £5 for a single entry HERE

Or £10 for three entries HERE

You will then be sent an email requesting your manuscript/s.

Then you don’t really have to do anything except check your inbox for further info.

Good luck.

Short Story Competition

I have been considering doing this for ages and a number of the important pieces have begun to fall into place recently, so what better time to kick things off than a new year.

Blue Poppy Publishing – Devon Short Story Competition 2022

OK, there will be some detailed rules, here, but here’s the gist of the plan.

  1. This is going to be a Devon focussed contest. I’ve nothing against the rest of Britain, or the world, but experience has proved one thing above all; it is much easier for me to sell books that are set in Devon. So the stories must be set in Devon or about Devon in some way. I am also going to limit entries to writers who live in Devon or at least have family who live in Devon.
  2. Unlike some short story competitions, your entry will not automatically be part of an anthology. You will fully retain your copyright as a result of entering this contest. I am really precious about my rights and you are entitled to be as well. The winning entries, as well as a selection of the best non-winning entires will be offered the option to be included in an anthology and you will be paid a small fee for the right to publish your work for a limited period. (like a proper publishing deal).
  3. As a contributing author, you might expect there will be a catch, like you have to buy a number of copies of the book. In fact, you will get one free author copy, and you are not obliged to buy any further copies. If you do decide you want more copies, you will get a special contributors discount which will mean you can sell them yourself if you want to and make a decent profit.
  4. Money – There will be a £5 entry fee or £10 for 3 entries – Word count from 1,000 – 2,500 words. This is to cover the cost of administration and judging the entries. I hope to make back my investment from selling copies of the book.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, then send an email to me at shortstorycontest AT website URL or just comment in the comments section below.

Also, you might want to check out the Parracombe Prize as well entries must be submitted before 31st January 2022

You may also be interested in the Exeter Short Story competition – closing date 28th Feb 2022