The Julia & Martin Wilson Short Story Prize 2024

Broadway Arts Festival launched a short story prize in order to encourage creativity during the lockdown. The prize is generously sponsored and judged by festival Benefactors Julia & Martin Wilson who read every entry received, from across the world. The competition now takes place every other year.

We received a record 239 entries from across the world, 71 from outside the UK.


Main prize (adults and age 16+): £800
Ages 11-16yrs: £100
Age 10 and under: £100

Comments from the judges, Julia & Martin Wilson:

“We were very pleased to see so many short stories, and many of them of a high standard, submitted from all over the World: a total of seventy-one came in from countries as far afield as the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan as well as all across Europe. Indeed, the winner in one category was from Sri Lanka.

It was very difficult to choose a winner in the adult category as many of the entries were exceptionally good. In the two younger categories we took the ages of the writers into consideration when coming to our decisions. It was gratifying to see the large number of stories submitted in the 11 to16 age category and how well-written many of them were, particularly in the use of imagery and vocabulary.”

Introducing the 2024 Prize Winners:

Main Prize Winner – Susan Martin from Port Talbot, Wales for her story ‘Better Late Than Never

Some background about the story and words from the author:

I taught secondary school English for twenty years and, encouraging students in the classroom, I was often a little jealous that they had the opportunity and the time to simply sit and write creatively. So, when I retired – a little early – three years ago, I was especially pleased to have the time to do my own creative writing. I returned to the Open University, where I gained my first degree, and became a student again. The creative writing course has taught me so much about structuring my writing, including sensory detail and how vital it is to write every day. It also stresses the importance of reading and even though I have always been a keen reader, I feel it necessary to read – a poem or short story – immediately before beginning my own writing. My course also warns about rejection and I have experienced that since I began submitting short stories and poems to competitions last October. So it is a thrill and a privilege to not only be accepted but to win the Julia and Martin Short Story Prize 2024.

My story Better Late Than Never was inspired by a place. I grew up in Edwardsville, South Wales, overlooking the tram-road where Richard Trevithick’s steam engine made its first journey in 1804. It was my playground as a child. Going back there now made me recall how, as a teenager, I wanted to leave the small village and how the car lights at Quakers’ Yard roundabout, which I could just about see from my bedroom window, were such a symbol of excitement. Like Huw in my story, I really have a tremendous fondness for the place.

The Julia and Martin Short Story Prize was recommended to me as a respected and worthwhile competition, which supports young writers in schools. Winning is such a thrill as it means that I am now officially a writer.”

Age 11-16 Category Prize Winner – Senumika Udandi (Age 16) from Sri Lanka for her story  ‘The Old Apartment

Some background about the story and words from the author:

“My name is Rathnam Senumika Udandi, and I come from a cozy town on the outskirts of Gampaha, Sri Lanka. I am 16 years old, and the majority of those 16 years were spent either reading a story or writing my own. I am the leader of the English Debating Team and an active member of many of the English Clubs at my school. My passions include writing and reading about the impossible, music of all genres, swimming in cool waters, and every form of happiness.
Ever since I was young, reading has been a way for me to navigate the maze that is human emotions and to escape the world when it gets a bit too dark. It was then that I decided to write stories that would aid others to experience the same miracles I did. I began to adore the art of writing because, unlike in reality, when it comes to fiction, anything and everything is possible. I find true magic in the infinitude of it. My zeal for writing is not an initiative, but an inspiration, and the inspirers are the likes of J.K. Rowling, Madeline Miller, and J.R.R. Tolkien.
The idea for this short story came to me as I was on my way to school and came across an abandoned house. It got me thinking about how, once upon a time, that house must have been bursting with livelihood. I thought about how many stories the house would narrate if it could speak and thus, this story was born. I hoped to convey that sometimes, even inanimate objects should be cherished for they are woven into our memories.

‘The Old Apartment’, and all my writing in general, has defined me as an author but this win will surely define me as a person. The Broadway Arts Festival shines a light on art and its everlasting beauty, and I am forever grateful (and still amazed) at being presented with this honour.

Senumika Udandi 2024 PrizeWinner

Age 10 & under Category Prize Winner – Benji Bastos (Age 9) from Wickhamford, Worcestershire for his story ‘Benji and the Bottom Burping Bear

Some background about the story and words from the author:

Benji, who attends Elmley Castle First School, has had a journey marked by developmental delays since moving from Australia. Despite these challenges, he’s shown resilience and determination in his growth and learning, and has flourished into the wonderful boy he is today. He truly loves life and lights up when imagining up stories.

I’m so happy I won the story contest! I love writing because it lets me imagine all sorts of amazing stories in my head as I usually find it hard to write. Winning makes me feel like my imagination is the coolest superpower ever!’

Highly Commended Entries (Adult and age 16+)

A Body of Water by Fiona Dignan (Wokingham)

Missing by Donna Anderson (Evesham)

The Bent Banana by Charles Hadfield (Newton Abbot)

Highly Commended Entries (Age 11 to 16)

The End of the World by Zoe Sheaf (London)

Symphony of Forgotten Dreams by Sanchita Patil (India)

Angus and the Fairies by Henrietta Hutchison (Chipping Campden)

I Will Invent a World by Sofia Molozhon (Ukraine)

Dew and Dawn Dance with Death by Elsa Rogers (Exeter)

The Strange Light by Anish Vagal (India)

Free Will by Esme Harris (Kingham)

Highly Commended Entries (Age 10 & Under) 

Diary of Verruca Salt by Tallulah Ottram (Broadway)

The Easter Mystery by Susie Jane Piercy (Broadway)

Pug and Spiders by David Miroshnychenko (Evesham)