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Parracombe Prize Writer Visits the Village

When it began, we thought our Exmoor-based short story competition would be primarily for North Devon writers, with maybe a few interlopers from western Somerset giving it their best shot too. How wrong we were!

Almost immediately the Parracombe Prize competition went global, with our first anthology featuring tales from India, Australia, America, Canada and across Europe. It was the same story the following year, with successful entries of no longer than 2022 words being written or set across the world.

So it was with huge pleasure that we recently welcomed one of our writers to Parracombe, the village that lends the competition its name. Jean Hyland, from Oxfordshire, came to the newly opened community shop to purchase a copy of Parracombe Prize 2022, which featured her story ‘Migrants’. In keeping with our ‘far-flung’ theme, Jean is a New Zealander, although she is now based in Britain. The story was inspired by the journey undertaken by her ancestors from Lancashire, who fled to New Zealand in the 1860s to escape the aftermath of the cotton famine, sparked when the textile’s overproduction caused economic mayhem.

One of the Parracombe Prize judges, Karen Farrington, was there to meet her.

‘Meeting writers who contributed to our anthology had seemed a lost hope as they come from across Britain and all over the world,’ said Karen.

‘So it was a huge pleasure to welcome Jean to our village and show her first-hand how some of the short story competition entry fees are spent.’

After her visit, Jean, who was heading home after a holiday in Cornwall, said: ‘I can see why you are proud of getting the short story competition up and running, and the difference it makes.’

It costs £5 to enter the competition. Short-listed candidates have their stories published in an anthology, alongside four prize winners, and all profits are ploughed back into community ventures, like the new shop and café. Refurbishment of the village play area is the next priorities for community spending.

The next short story competition opens on November 1 and writers have three months to submit a short story of fewer than 2023 words.

Further details at

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