Our first competition of the academic year, the Six Word Story competition is a challenge in concise storytelling. Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s famous six word story “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” we asked our young writers to captivate us in just six words – a real skill and testament to their creativity in this flash fiction challenge.
Participation was high once again, with 675 young writers from 27 schools taking part. Over 80 entries were considered in the national competition.
Judged by a panel of First Story alumni and advisory panel member *Edmund Hurst, the stories chosen were wild mix of funny, poignant, wishful, chilling and clever. We are delighted to be able to share our winner, national finalists and special mentions.
The winner and national finalists will each receive a bundle of five fabulous books from Penguin Random House, and all will receive a certificate.
And the winner is…
Our sensational winning entry comes from Gracie Charles. The judges said: “Full of ambiguities, raises so many questions with clever use of dialogue within the six word limit. Opens up a world of possibilities for the reader very much in the spirit of Hemingway.“
In no particular order:
Of this vivid submission by Hannah Akinbolaji, judges said: “Brave and daring – metaphysical and intriguing, there is a useful contrast between the two sides of the statement, with a touch of whimsy and intrigue.”
Our third place prize goes to Adam Stow with a powerful six word submission. The judges said: “Pithy and cuts right to the heart of something much bigger than itself. It is declarative and bold – and for the topic, it should be.”
Judges were impressed by Tanisha Russell’s original submission, saying “The speaker is everything that her predecessors could not be. Sacrifice leads to success.”
Judges felt that four other entries deserved a special mention. In no particular order:
Dad’s home. Quick, call the police!
BLAKE NOBLE, LONGCROFT SCHOOL AND SIXTH FORM COLLEGE
She finally returned on a camel.
RICHARD GODDARD, SIMMONS HOUSE CLASSROOM
Poverty, death, war, disease – keep scrolling.
ESTELLE OUTLAW-BENTLEY, TITUS SALT SCHOOL
His fingers were snakes and ladders.
QAIS ZADRON, LANDAU FORTE COLLEGE
We’d like to thank everyone who entered, along with the teachers, writers and judges who supported the competition.
A reminder that First Story’s 100-Word Story Competition is now open, and we would very much encourage you to enter.
*Edmund Hurst is Programme Director for Creative Writing at the University of Hull. He is a short story writer and novelist, and is one of our North Advisory Group panel members.