The Gloucestershire Writers’ Network runs an annual competition supported by The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, for anyone living, working or studying in Gloucestershire (including South Gloucestershire) to submit poems and prose pieces based on a different theme chosen each year.

Competition 2018 Results

We are delighted to announce the results of the Gloucestershire Writers’ Network Competition 2018 on The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival’s theme of ‘East meets West’. The judges had a hard time selecting the winners out of over 160 entries. We would like to thank our judges, Kim Fleet and Anna Saunders, and all those who entered the competition for their support of the GWN. Our congratulations to the winners, runners up, and those commended. Read some reviews of the Literature Festival Event on 7th October 2018.

Winning Prose Piece

‘The Locals’ by Emma Kernahan, Stroud

Prose Runners-up

‘The Shawl’ by Lynda Fowke, Gloucester
‘Call me Shadi, Muna, Nasima’ by Iris Anne Lewis, Kempsford
‘Bride Price’ by Marilyn Timms, Cheltenham

Prose Commended

‘In Loco Parentis’ by Ali Bacon, Emersons Green
‘Zugzwang, 1963’ by Joanna Campbell, Bisley
‘Freewheeling’ by Kathy O’Grady, Stroud

Winning Poem

‘Cranes Flying’ by David Hale, Horsley

Poetry Runners-up

‘Waiting for the Boat’ by Catherine Baker, Tewkesbury
‘Love’s Convergence’ by Derek Healy, Lower Swell
‘Public School – Private Hell’ by Marilyn Timms, Cheltenham

Poetry Commended

‘Dancing on the Equator’ by Frances March, Stroud
‘Checkmate’ by Samantha Pearce, Newent
‘The Taste of Bear’ by Johnny Porter, Cheltenham

Emma KernahanProse Prize Winner

Emma Kernahan

‘I entered the Gloucestershire Writers’ Network competition because I saw a poster for it in Stroud and loved the idea of reading at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.

After a career in the voluntary sector, I started writing two years ago, while at home with my children. Initially I thought I had no time to be creative, but began writing poetry on my phone while the kids were napping or playing.
From there I branched out into blogging, short stories and flash fiction, which I’ve found are a good fit with the demands of working and parenting. I have been greatly supported in this by amazing writer friends, both online and at my local writing group.

It was because of their encouragement that I submitted my piece on the theme of East Meets West, and I’m enormously glad that I did. I enjoy writing funny stories most of all, and it was wonderful to discover that other people enjoyed this one. I was mostly just relieved that the audience laughed! Writing is a solitary business, so meeting a whole new group of talented people at the event was a huge boost to morale. I find I am now writing with new confidence and a flurry of ideas.

I would encourage anyone who hasn’t so far to join the network and submit to the competition, especially those who are new to writing, or who think that they are not the kind of person who reads at literary festivals! Support networks like this are an incredible resource, and I feel very grateful to the GWN for the time and hard work they put into running the event.’

David HalePoetry Prize winner

David Hale

‘I was thrilled when I found out that I had won the GWN poetry competition. I had never won a single poem competition before, and being a local competition made it particularly special.

The poem I submitted on the theme of East meets West was written after a morning spent in the Museum of East Asian Art in Bath, and was originally meant to be included in a publication celebrating the museum’s artefacts, a project, which unfortunately never got off the ground.

The poem came into being after I spent a number of hours studying certain pieces in the museum’s collection which I became rather fascinated by. Fortuitously, a few days later I turned up a piece of Willow pattern crockery while digging in my vegetable garden. These two factors collided and produced the necessary sparks, the result being ‘Cranes Flying”.

I am so glad this poem has now found a worthy resting place in the beautifully produced GWN competition pamphlet, and that I had a chance to read it at the Literature Festival which was a wonderful and friendly event, and one I would recommend to all Gloucestershire writers.’

Competition Pamphlet for 2018

If you’re interested in reading the work from this year’s winners and runners-up, purchase a pamphlet for £3 (postage included).

Please let us know if you would like it posted to a different address than the one on your PayPal, by emailing details to

Competition Pamphlet for 2017

If you’re interested in seeing the work by last year’s winners, purchase a pamphlet for £2 (postage included).

Please let us know if you would like it posted to a different address than the one on your PayPal, by emailing details to

With thanks to our Sponsors:

We are grateful to The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival for their support of local writers and for creating the opportunity for the winners and the runners-up of our annual competition to showcase their work at the GWN event.
The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

We would like to thank Liggy Webb for her generous sponsorship of our annual competition.

We would also like to thank Helene Hewett of The Suffolk Anthology for her continued support of our competition.