Image of Sonita in the middle, flanked by judges Emily Winslow (L) and Menna van Praag (R), surrounded by entrants

Winners announced in College short story competition

Judges Emily Winslow and Menna van Praag, internationally published novelists, awarded prizes to April Egan, Rachel Gardner, Eliza Powers and Molly Becker.

The theme of this year's College short story competition was historical fiction, following previous years' themes of science fiction, love, crime, and ghost stories. Contestants were invited to submit a short story set in the past and at least partly in Cambridge.

Novelists Emily Winslow and Menna van Praag judged the competition and hosted a prizegiving on 5 March, having also hosted a launch event in the Master's Lodge in November.

Winning entries:

Best Description: Space Songs for Ikeya-Seki (1965) by April Egan (undergraduate)

Best Fantastical: The Hyacinth Girl (1963) by Eliza Powers (undergraduate visiting student)

Best storytelling (joint award):

Too Soon Made Glad (1950s/60s) by Rachel Gardner (undergraduate)

Ladies' Night (1950s) by Molly Becker (staff)

The judges were delighted by the breadth and quality of the entries overall, which spanned time from 1250 to the 1990s. They tackled topics such as wartime trauma, women’s place at the university, class inequality, self-expression in the face of religious limitations, crimes (murder, attempted assassination, and a heist), tuberculosis, the freezing of the River Cam, a celestial event, the wonders of the Stourbridge Fair, a supernatural knight, a mythical Greek monster, artists, poets, and time travel.

Other entries:

  • Stourbridge Common (1250) by Oliver Scott (postgraduate)
  • The Knight (1300s) by Arabella Teddar (undergraduate)
  • Should we have stayed (1400s) by Lisa Rowe (staff)
  • Nan's Story (1600s) by Claire Gilbert (Visiting Fellow)
  • The Bear from Stourbridge Fair (1805) by Sarah Burton (staff)
  • Of Dusty Books and Forgotten Tales (1815) by Emily Oldridge (postgraduate)
  • Intelligent creatures (1800s) by Chanel Wagenheim Plucinski (undergraduate)
  • A Slither in time (1800s) by Deborah Omolegan-Obe (undergraduate)
  • Dear Dorothy (early 1900s) by Bex Goodchild (undergraduate)
  • Human Grains (1940s) by Flaminia Zane (postgraduate partner)
  • Trapped in Takehara (1945) by Serena Warwick-Yamamoto (undergraduate)
  • Exquisite (1950s) by Chanel Wagenheim Plucinski (undergraduate)
  • The Darker The Skin, The Deeper The Bruises are Buried (1950s) by Sam Misan (undergraduate)
  • Audrey Hepburn's Coat (1963) by Anika Goddard (undergraduate)
  • Running, Running, Running Away (1976) by Reese Robinson (undergraduate)
  • Reality Checkpoint (1990s and more) by Sarah Burton (staff)

Read the judges' excerpts from the entries, or all the full entries.