Arts Derbyshire


Congratulations to the winners of Derby Book Festival’s 50-word Flash Fiction Writing competition

They had a bumper crop of entries for this year’s  competition with a near record 562 entries across four categories.

Derby Book Festival are delighted to announce the winners of this year’s competition.  They will each receive a book token and a framed copy of their illustrated bookmark, you can read all the winning stories online.

Derby Book Festival has announced the winners of its 2024 Flash Fiction Writing Competition, which this year was on the subject of ‘Spring’.  The challenge was to write a story of up to fifty words and 562 entries were submitted across four categories.  The winning stories will be printed on Festival bookmarks with illustrations by a University of Derby Illustration and Design student.

The winners: Abi Day (18 and over), Grace Etuwewe (12 – 17 years) and Susannah (11s and under) each receive a £50 Waterstones token and a framed copy of their illustrated story.  There was also a category for HMP Foston Hall which generated a record number of entries with 27 in total with the winner, Elizabeth.  The judges also chose Highly Commended stories in each category (the full list of stories are below).

The bookmarks will be available at the Summer Festival, which is funded by the University of Derby and Arts Council England with sponsorship from local businesses and will be held in venues across the city from 30 May – 5 June 2024.

The winning stories are illustrated by Sama Abu Khalaf, who won a separate competition for University of Derby second year Illustration and Design students, and then printed onto a set of Festival bookmarks which will be available at this year’s Festival.

The winning stories were chosen by a panel of three:  Sarah Newton, Festival Trustee and Director of Penguin PR agency and a former journalist; Simon Heywood, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Derby and previous Flash Fiction winner from 2018, Habiba Ran.

Particularly inspiring this year was the record number of 212 entries in the 12 – 17 age group with an increasing number of schools taking up the challenge and submitting entries from pupils.

The judges met in late February to make their decision and were delighted to have a previous winner on the judging panel. Habiba Rana won the competition in 2018 and is still writing.  She was joined by Festival Trustee Sarah Newton, director of Penguin PR and by Simon Heywood, Senior Lecturer, Creative and Professional Writing at the University of Derby.

The set of Festival bookmarks containing the stories will be available at the Summer Festival

Illustration competition for University of Derby students.

Each year they hold a separate competition for 2nd year Illustration and Design students at the University of Derby to illustrate the stories for their Festival bookmarks.  Pictured are the winners with fellow students and their submissions. Derby Book Fest were very impressed with the quality and creativity of this year’s ideas for the Illustration competition and delighted by the winner’s beautiful work.  The judging took place last Thursday with their designer Alex Seddon, Creative Digital Lead at Gravity helping them make the decision. Sama Abu Khalaf was the winner with two runners-up: Luke Jackson and Abi Scragg.

The three finalists will also be invited to submit ideas for their 2025 Festival programme design in the autumn.

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