The Julia & Martin Wilson Short Story Prize

In response to the lockdown and Coronavirus pandemic, Broadway Arts Festival launched a new short story prize in addition to their art prize in order to encourage creativity during the lockdown. With a main prize of £400 and under 16 prize of £100, the competition was free to enter, with a maximum of 2,000 words. Entrants had just over one month to submit their entries.

The prize was generously sponsored by festival benefactors Julia & Martin Wilson who also judged the very varied and eclectic entries from across the globe.

“Our idea in starting the Short Story Competition was to expand the range of the Broadway Arts Festival and, more importantly, to encourage imaginative writing, in particular by younger people. We were surprised and very gratified by the large number of entries – 193 in all – and by the very high standard of so many of the stories. Both the prize-winning entries in the Adult and Under Sixteen categories were beautifully written and highly original.” 

Julia & Martin Wilson

Introducing the 2020 Prize Winners:

Main Prize Winner – Catherine Sleeman from Horsham for her moving story “Tomorrow

Some background about the story and author:

I am a young dancer, currently still in professional training, and enjoy writing in my spare time. I have been coming up with stories since I was about six and now am interested in exploring relationships between people and the different ways in which we experience human emotion.

My story ‘Tomorrow’ was taken very much from real life: on the 24th June 2016 my grandfather died having developed motor neurone disease about seven months previously. For many, that day is remembered in terms of the Brexit result but, for our family, it has a different significance – an added layer of loss. 2016 and 2017 were difficult years for my family and I have revisited them a lot for myself. Here, however, I imagined the events of the 23rd and 24th of June from my Mum’s perspective. I wanted to capture her tenderness and her strength as well as a real sense of loneliness as she struggled with the numerous duties of care and causes of grief in her life at that time.

As the story is such a personal one, winning this competition feels very special. I am very  grateful to have been selected, and delighted to hear that the judges were touched and moved by my words. It is a beautiful surprise in a time of national sadness.”

Under 16 Prize Winner – Sebastian Dibb (15) from Leamington Spa for his imaginative story “Broken Heating

Some background about the story and author:

15 Year old Sebastian Dibb is a student at Princethorpe College, Rugby. He was inspired to write his story having read Charles Dickens’ novella ‘A Christmas Carol.’ He is looking forward to buying some A Level reading material with his prize. He will be studying English Literature, History and Geography and will continue to write prose, poetry and play scripts in his spare time.

“The news that I had won the competition certainly brightened the lockdown. It came as a real surprise.”

Highly Commended Entries:

Thursday‘ by Jim Bayliss

The Kitten Heels and Sheepskin Slippers‘ by Dina Chevens

William’s World‘ by Yvonne Clarke

‘Miller’s Court’ by Katy Darby

‘Blind Love’ by Louise Mangos

‘Not Entirely True’ by Alison Woodhouse

Highly Commended Entries (Under 16)

Mum’s Meadow‘ by Maisy deBretton Gordon

I’ll Tell You Why I Don’t Like Mondays‘ by Charlotte Elliot

Hair‘ by Georgia Hood

Returning Home‘ by Josie Mills

Hostage‘ by Euan Richter

Sadly, due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Broadway Arts Festival will not take place in June as planned. The current intention is that a full festival will go ahead in June 2021, if possible, with some small workshops and events hopefully being scheduled for later in 2020.

For queries please contact:

Alison Braithwaite at or call 01386 898387