Meet the Winners | Staying Home Competition

Our free lockdown-themed competition was a huge success, with writers from all around the world submitting stories. From humorous observations on the Covid-19 lockdown, to poignant dedications to those who have sadly lost their lives, the staggering range of entries were of extremely high-quality, and the judges found it difficult to narrow it down just three winners.


A full shortlist of entries can be found here.


Meet the three winners of the Staying Home Competition:

Catherine Roth

The judges loved Catherine's take on the theme. Staying Home is a powerful story that, in just 500 words, effectively conveys a heartbreaking reality about the coronavirus.


More about Catherine:

Catherine Roth is a writer of short stories, poetry and scripts and lives in Derbyshire. Her work has been published in anthologies and magazines and her short plays have been performed by both amateur and professional actors. Catherine also performs her own work and has appeared at various arts festivals and other events and on local radio.

Jeff Taylor

The judges were extremely impressed with Jeff's story The Levels. A very original take on the competition's theme, the darkly humorous writing manages to create a fully-realised dystopia in 500 words.


More about Jeff: Jeff Taylor is retired and living in Hamilton, New Zealand. He enjoys writing short and flash fiction, particularly humorous. He has had success with a number of entries in competitions in both NZ and overseas including: First place in New Zealand Writers College Short Story Competition 2014, winner of NZ National Flash Fiction Day 2019 and selected for BestMicrofiction2020, winner in Hammond House Flash Fiction 'Staying Home' 2020, and awarded the Flash Frontier Summer Writing Award 2017.

Phil Jones

The judges loved Phil's story Staying Home, which tells a poignant but ultimately optimistic story that expertly weaves in moments of humour.


More about Phil: I spent forty years in engineering and science, retiring after a short career as a physics teacher. I was provoked into writing an account of the early years of my life by someone on the TV asserting, “You boomers have had it all … we have nothing.” I had to respond. I started to write an autobiographical sketch woven into the economic and political events of the 1950s and 60s. One day, whilst walking my dog, I bumped into Cheryl. She persuaded me to “come along to Dean Writers… we’re a friendly bunch.” And so they are. I became known as the group swat because I enthusiastically completed the tasks set. I started to write short stories and a few poems, putting my autobiographical sketch on the back burner. “Staying Home” is one such short story. I have not been published (apart from in the parish magazine when I was eight) and I have entered only two competitions. I find it difficult to say, “I’m a writer,” but I enjoy writing.

You can read all three stories in next year's short story anthology, Survival, coming early in 2021.


See the shortlisted entries for the competition here.


Feeling inspired? Find out how you can enter your own short story, poem or screenplay into our 2020 competition, here.

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