City Academy Short Story Competition 2022 – WINNER IS ANNOUNCED

Winner is announced.

When we kicked off this year’s short story competition, the judges had one question and one question alone to answer – what are you looking for in a winning story? The team in the office asked us this question repeatedly as they composed encouraging copy for the website, writers preparing to put pen to paper asked us for answers, we even got messages on instagram asking us - until finally the judging panel came together, and we asked each other.

Art is mysterious, we said, it works in ways that cannot be articulated, we said. Like politicians we evaded the question time and time again with oxymorons about how great stories are surprising and difficult to predict – how can we anticipate what a great work of art will be before we have encountered it? Jeremy Paxman couldn't have got a coherent answer out of us.

But now that we’ve picked our winning stories, we know exactly what we were looking for. It turns out we were looking for a community of neighbours so intimately depicted in words that we felt like we were sat next to them on the sofa. We were looking for the heat of the desert and the sweat of labour to make us thirsty for ice-cold refreshment. And we were looking for a postcard from the past to arrive unexpectedly.

So now you know.

Judging whether one piece of art is better than another is a fool’s errand. But we hope you will agree that our three prize-winning stories display the qualities of what might be considered great writing. In our opinion they are moving, atmospheric, witty, tender, sweet, bitter, human, and striking - not to mention exquisitely well told.

Like last year, our mission for this year’s competition was not only to uncover some of the best unpublished short stories around, but also to celebrate writers everywhere. We salute our winners, our shortlisted writers, and everyone who submitted a story. We salute everyone who signed up to receive our writing prompts, everyone who tried to write, fell asleep in front of Pointless, and came back the next day to try again. To all of the writers who were involved in this year's competition in any way we want to say thank you. Keep writing, keep reading, keep trying to express what it is you need to express. And remember, as one of the great short story writers of all time once said ‘only entropy comes easy’.

City Academy Short Story Competition 2022 Winner

What Yuri Got by Heike Ellwood

We are delighted to introduce Heike Ellwood, the winner of our Short Story competition with her entry What Yuri Got

While my day job is spent in IT, I love writing short stories and silly poetry. I particularly enjoy writing in English, a language with great capacity for nuance and humour (and far fewer pointless compound nouns than my native German). In addition to writing, I love hiking, politics, local history, exploring tea shops with my husband and curling up with our two cats.

City Academy Short Story Competition 2022

Runners Up

City Academy is London's leading multi-disciplinary creative academy, with Writing Courses across London.