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Carers UK 2018 creative writing competition results!

In this fifth year of our creative writing competition, we welcomed poems and short stories on all aspects of caring, particularly on the theme of ‘keeping well, keeping connected’. The 2018 competition anthology is available to purchase from our shop.

We were really pleased that Cheryl Moskowitz was able to judge the competition for the fifth year running. Cheryl is a poet, novelist, translator, and a facilitator of writing for children and adults. She has also been a great advocate for our competition.

Judge’s report

"The best writing makes for strong and lasting connections. To be effective a poem or story has to connect with its readers. A skilled writer ought to be able, through their writing, to connect their own life experience with the lives of others. The sharing of poems and stories, indeed the act of writing itself, is a connective activity and a restorative one. This year’s writing competition invited poems and stories that explored the theme ‘Keeping Well, Keeping Connected’.

First prize winner, poet Pippa Little, invites us to view the world through the window of a café and conjures a scene so real you can almost taste it with her poem ‘Inside with English Breakfast’, a moving portrait of a carer and their loved one held together in solitary silent seclusion while those other lives we lost or let go/flutter out there, moth-like in the hot light.

Second prize goes to Andrew Taylor for his tender poem ‘Reading in the Rain’ which begins with a childhood memory of being read aloud to from a battered copy of ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ in the cosy confines of a holiday caravan, transported by the rolling open country of the storyteller. The narrative in Taylor’s poem advances that experience five decades, to the present, where the speaker is an adult carer reading to the aged parent, now too weak to read.

Jointly winning third prize are poets Frances Sinclair and Nicky Phillips for their poems ‘Princess Wars’ and ‘First Time Out’ respectively. Both are poems that use humour to great effect and surprise us with unexpected turns and connections made between the subjects in the poems.

Notable amongst the highly commended poems is Linda Burnett’s ‘Early-Onset Black Treacle’ which drops itself pleasingly, and disturbingly, onto the page and the delightful ‘Sensory Autism’ by Megan Jenkins where mobile phones become the home of that clippy-cloppy cyber horse.

I was delighted to find a story as good as Jodie Carpenter’s ‘Reading Hour’ in the pile of the several hundred entries I read through. Lightly told through simple dialogue, this heart-breaking yet joyful story will resonate powerfully long after you have finished reading it. In ‘Ride Like the Wind’ by Alison Hilbourne, a love of horse-riding divides and finally connects two siblings within a family dealing with disability.

Dalvinder Ghaly’s authentically written ‘Fallen’ exposes the indignity of getting old while celebrating the life of an 81 year-old Punjabi woman dignified by the care of her loving family. And Anne-Marie Kearns’ ‘The Train Journey’ reminds us that sometimes it is the simplest things that make us most happy. 

I am happy to say that this anthology arising from the Carers UK Creative Writing competition, now in its fifth year, boasts work of the highest quality; writing that is intensely moving and ceaselessly imaginative. The poems and stories here continue to further our understanding and deepen our appreciation of the caring experience whilst creating new and positive connections between us all."

Winning poems

1st prize - Inside with English breakfast by Pippa Little

2nd prize - Reading in the Rain by Andrew Taylor

Joint 3rd prize - The Princess Wars by Frances SinclairFirst Time Out by Nicky Phillips

Highly Commended

  • Late Afternoon in Autumn by Mary Carr
  • Early-onset Black Treacle by Linda Burnett
  • Word Search by Sarah Law
  • Sensory Autism by Megan Jenkins
  • Diving by Andrew Taylor
  • You Gotta go There to Come Back by Russell Jones
  • The Cutters by Sarah Law
  • Cutting Her Nails by John Pearson
  • Autistic Avenger by Kim Harry-Young

Winning short stories

1st prize - Reading Hour Jodie Carpenter

2nd prize - Ride Like the Wind by Alyson Hilbourne

Joint 3rd prize - The Train Journey by Anne-Marie KearnsFallen by Dalvinder Ghaly

Highly Commended

  • A Time to Live by Janet Rogers
  • Homeward Bound by Dhruti Shah
  • A Simple Story by Maggie McLean
  • This Grumpy Old Man of Mine by Trudie Skies
  • Zodiac Zugzwang by Steven Garvie

The 2018 competition anthology, volume 5, is available to purchase from our shop for £5.


View our photography winners and highly commended entries.

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