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Southam Book Festival

Flash Fiction Competition 2020

The winning entries are
1st -  Untitled   by Rebecca Kinnarney

2nd - 'Sea Goddess' by Lesley Evans

3rd - 'Taken at the Flood' by Marilyn Timms 

Congratulations to Rebecca, Lesley and Marilyn.

  A comment from the judges 

 'These top three were clear winners and really stood out. It was difficult to rank them as 1st, 2nd and 3rd, and   in the end was a very close call.

 However, the judges would like to also comment on the very high standard of entries. Even outside of our top 19  shortlist, there were some very original entries and some that really made us laugh.

Thank you all for a very enjoyable 26,100 words.' 


Southam Book Festival is grateful to all involved in judging this competition. 

The winning stories are published below 

Congratulations to all three winners and to all who entered this very well contested event.



The first prize of £50 goes to Rebecca Kinnarney of Wendover for her untitled story.

Untitled                    by    Rebecca Kinnarney


 “Well?” Sal stood outside my space. Her force-field repelled me.

“Did you know there’s a people in the Amazon, the Pirahã, who have no concept of numbers? No words for them?” Her shoulders lifted. I knew this was no answer to her question. I went on, “They just have ‘a few fish’, ‘some bowls’. I read it in a magazine while I was waiting.”

“What did Dr. Kenwood say?” Her throat was tight.

“She said…six months.” I tripped over the words.

Sal’s invisible shield crumpled. Sal crumpled.

I touched her damp cheek. “We’re going to call it ‘some moons’.”



The second prize of £30 goes to Lesley Evans of Cheltenham


Sea Goddess    by Lesley Evans

When the gathering breeze quickened me to whitecaps, I went looking for trouble. The beach was deserted but for Old Rufino, warming his back against the sun-soaked boards of his shack, watching me steadily.

“I see you,” he muttered, drawing on his cigarette, “Shadowy there at the shoreline, mithering up your mischief.”

The old fisherman sniffed the wind, sensing that I would be dancing up a storm that night. I wanted to take him with me, but as the evening tripped over into night, I let him be. We both knew it was not his time. Not yet.



The third prize of  £20 goes to Marilyn Timms of Cheltenham


TAKEN AT THE FLOOD  by Marilyn Timms


Sky disintegrates through orange and green to blackened turbulence, compresses the hills. Birds become invisible. Rain scythes the land, spurs the watcher in the bushes to action. For days, he has crouched outside her house. Once, he almost breached her door but tripped over unexpected sandbags. He will not make that mistake again. The girl knows he’s waiting. As her bedroom light winks out, the watcher finally forces an entry. He takes up squatter’s rights on the seventh stair, like a malevolent Christopher Robin, content to wait until morning. Old Man Severn has come to breakfast.

The 2020 Flash Fiction competition has now 


Watch this space for names of shortlisted stories and authors 

        Flash Fiction Competition 2020

Short Listed Stories with Author Names

 ( First posted October 10  2020)

13  Rigoroso                                                  Diane Broughton

25  Nogi                                                       Kim Pearson

29 Unrequited Love                                        Patrick (or Hilary) Feeney

43 Homeless                                                  Jackie Hales

45 Guard Duty                                               Stephanie Rybak

56 Burythorpe Manor                                      Robert Rayner

59 Monday Trip                                              Kathryn West

72 Love                                                         Tina Pritchard

119 Some Moons                                           Rebecca Kinnarney

135 A Sinking Vessel                                      Rebecca Kinnarney

145 Taken At The Flood                                   Marilyn Timms

149 Miscarriage Of Justice                              Marilyn Timms

152 Granny’s Old Piano                                  Laura Tapper

162 Ouch                                                      Stella Truby

179 Heartbeats                                               Jessica Bird

189 Murder                                                    John Maskey

191 Sea Goddess                                           Lesley Evans

208 Write What You Know                              Alan Vickers

255 Lilou                                                        Jean Harper               


1   The competition is open to anyone who is 16 years and over.


2   The competition is for an original work of fiction no longer than 100 words in length. Any title must be included in the word count. Hyphenated words count as one word.


3  The work must contain the words   "tripped over”


4  The work must be previously unpublished and not be simultaneously entered into any other competition. It must be the work of the person entering the competition.


5  Closing date is Friday September 4th 2020 at 12 noon.


6 The entry fee is £2 per story. Competitors may enter as many stories as they wish. Up to six stories may be entered for £8.


7 Entries must be made electronically.


8 The judges' decision is final. Judges will not enter into any discussion.


9 The names of short listed competition entrants  will be published on the Southam Book Festival web site on Saturday October 10th  2020


10 The names of winner and runners up will be published on the Southam Book Festival web site on October 18th  2020 and listed on the Festival social media page. Winners and runners up will be contacted individually.


11 If possible, the winning entry will be published in the Southam Advertiser.  


12 Submission of work will be taken as acceptance of rules and conditions.


13  Copyright of each story remains with the author, but Southam Book Festival reserves the right to publish a selection of the stories at some point during or after the Book Festival





Hard Copy

We regret that, because of the pandemic, for the 2020 competition we cannot accept entries in hard copy. All entries must be made via Email.  



  • Choose the £2 or £8 PayPal button below

  • Next email your story or stories to

  • Please put Flash Fiction Comp in the subject box.

  • On the email sheet please give details of your name, address, the name of your story/stories and your PayPal transaction number.

  • Your story should be included as an attachment. If you are submitting more than one story, please use a separate attachment for each story.




£2      Paypal button  for one entry

£8      PayPal button for up to six entries

We received over 80 entries from all four corners of the world. There was no restriction on style or content, only that it was no more than 100 words and the phrase "water dripped" had to appear in it. 
Our second 100 Words competition brought us over 120 entries from all around the UK. Winning and runner up entries were announced at the Festival and the winning entry was also published in the November edition of the Southam Advertiser in 2019. 
'What's That Son? You've Entered a Fast Friction Competition?', by Mark Robinson
‘What do you mean, Walter tripped?’ asked dad.
Andrew face palmed as he held the phone. ‘No, dad, –’
‘I saw him this morning,’ dad continued. ‘He was walking around without any problems.’
‘Not Walter, dad, water! Water dripped, from the new shower. All night long.’
‘Walter tripped in the shower? Oh dear. Is he okay?’
Andrew sighed. Dad’s hearing was getting worse. ‘Yes, he’s fine. No harm done.’
‘Ah, good. Here, talking of showers, how’s the one I fitted at yours last week?’
Prison of My Own Making, by Zoe Critchley
Water dripped from above and rolled uncomfortably down my neck. Goosebumps trailed in its wake and I shivered uncontrollably. I had been here for a week now. It felt like much longer.
I had been made to walk for miles. My whole body ached. I could not remember the last time I had slept properly, or what it felt like to be clean and warm. I was miserable, hurting, hungry, tired, freezing, dirty; suffering.
More water found its way through the leaking canvas of the tent and landed on my head.
I truly hated camping.

Adonis, by Lindsay Woodward

I was no longer just fanning myself from the heat of the sun. The Adonis before me was ramping my temperature up. The waves appeared to move aside as he strode out of the sea. They too seemed in awe of him.
He swept his wet hair away as his eyes became locked with mine. My heart pounded as he approached my sunbed. Water dripped from his fingers on to my hot skin, tingling me with excitement.
‘All right, chicken?’ he said, in a strangely high pitched voice. ‘You’re well fit, you are.’
Oh well. Beggars can’t be choosers.

The 2019 short listed stories, in no particular order, were:

Unthinkable, by Deanna Allan

Adonis, by Lindsay Woodward

Twiddle, by Anne Warburton

Relief at Last, by Kristian Rose

Water Torture, by Mark Robinson

Prison of my own making, by Zoe Critchley

What's that Son? You've entered a Fast Friction Competition? by Mark Robinson

There were no local prizes award in 2019


We had an amazing start to our 100 WORDS competition at our first festival. We received over 80 entries from all four corners of the world, with topics ranging from holidaying in foreign lands, to mortifying eye tests. There was no restriction on style or content, only that it was no more than 100 words and the phrase "the door slammed" had to appear in it. 
Winning and runner up entries were announced at the Festival and the winning entry was also published in the Southam Advertiser late last year. 
We'd like to thank Reynolds Insurance, TM &JM Grey and Writers Magazine for sponsoring the competition.
Molly’s Dream Holiday, by Christine Eddison
Christmas in Mombasa! Sweat gathers on my lip and prickles my armpits.Musky pawpaw and sweet jasmine scent the air, noisy with cicadas and hummingbirds.
Tomorrow I’ll ride the glass-bottomed boat to the reef and gaze covetously towards exotic Zanzibar. Back at harbour, I’ll admire the busy throngs of white-garbed women and listen to the mesmeric murmur of the muezzin.
The door slammed. ‘Morning, Molly. Myra here. Time to get you dressed.’ I startle as my bed hoist begins its creaking grind. I sense the wheelchair waiting to transport me towards another sightless helping of daytime television.
Yo-Yo, by Adam Stewart

Adam was the greatest. What that man couldn’t do with a yo-yo wasn’t worth doing. At the height of his powers he performed his own brand of yo-yo magic to sell out arenas all over Warwickshire. He was a God and his legend was told in school playgrounds from Stockton to Stratford.

As the fame and fortune rolled in, Adam could even afford to buy his dream car. Then, all too quickly, it ended.

“That’s my car” he yelled.

He reached out, the door slammed. His index finger fell to the floor. It was all over for Adam.

Supernova, by Charles Adey

Fifteen thousand light years from Earth, a star collapsed. Gravity intensified, crushing the surface inwards towards a point of infinite density, bending light rays and muting all noise into absolute black nothingness. Unable to collapse further, time reversed itself, and everything the star ever was exploded into white and pink eternity, stretching for millions of miles in every direction. I watched the tiny speck of light from my bedroom window, a little brighter than the others. A breeze came through the house and behind me the door slammed, bringing me back to planet Earth.


The Eye Test, by Mairead Rawal

Hannah sat and waited. It’s just an eye test, she reassured herself. The ophthalmologist
whipped into the room, the door slammed behind him, making her jump.


‘Good morning, Mrs Smith’, and they began.

It was proceeding smoothly until she was asked to read the letters chart. First line; easy.
Second line; trickier. The third line was indistinct – C, O, C and… was that a K? It couldn’t be! Hannah broke out in a cold sweat. He was waiting.



The K hung there. Nobody spoke. She couldn’t quite meet the ophthalmologist’s eye.


‘R, Mrs Smith, R.’

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