The University of Chester each year holds a literary competition that attracts entries from writers from across the world, The High Sheriff’s Cheshire Prize for Literature. The competition is open to everyone, wherever they now live, who has ever lived or worked in that area. The first prize is £2,000 and secondary prizes to a total of £750 can be awarded at the judges’ discretion.
I have entered the competition many times and never heard back other than to receive an invite to enter the next year’s competition. 2015’s competition differed, for me, in that two months after the winners were announced I received an invitation to submit my story to an anthology of the entries considered worthy by the judges. I was only too pleased to be included.
The anthology, called Patches of Light, contains the winning story and runners up along with 17 others from the total of 226 stories entered. So I can claim I reached the top 10% in the Judges’ estimation. So at least I did get somewhere this time. Beyond that I was invited to the 6th July launch of Patches of Light at Chester University and went there with Irene, my wife. We were joined author Priya Sharma who came along as support. Priya has reported on the launch here.
Before the 2016 winner, Pauline Brown, read out her story, Tick Tock, four of the other contributors, chosen by lot, were given the opportunity to read from their own entries. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity but forgot to read out my story’s title, Hall Queen. I’m not sure what the audience made of that as the title was important to the section I read out. Too late to worry now.
Patches of Light is edited by Dr Ian Seed of the University of Chester and published in print and ebook form by the university press. It contains 21 short stories and each one has a maximum length of 1500 words.
Yes it has been slightly photoshopped.
The presentation by the actual High Sheriff herself, Mrs K H Cowell OBE DL, on 6 July 2016.
That same month my poem ‘Farming the Wind‘ was published in print in Shooter Literary Magazine‘s technology issue. Note that word ‘literary’. Who would have thought…
That word ‘poem’ associated with my name always makes me uncomfortable. Poem and poet have so many literary connotations that I don’t feel apply to me or my efforts. Incidentally there is another Roy Gray publishing poetry on the internet and it is X rated so be careful what you search for. So far my attempts at poems are very chaste.
So once again 20 years after my first poetic triumph I am a paid and published poet.
Finally in this post I can announce that my short story ‘Applied Cosmology‘ was published in Kraxon Magazine at the very end of July. It is free to read online here. It is all of 1000 words and probably was posted 1st of August but I got the news and the proof in July.