A winning way with words

Norfolk in 50 years time will be a watery wilderness where people travel by submarine or on their personal cloud and robots are taking over. That's according to the winning entries in the second annual EDP Norfolk Short Story competition, which had the theme of 'Norfolk 2057'.

Norfolk in 50 years time will be a watery wilderness where people travel by submarine or on their personal cloud and robots are taking over.

That's according to the winning entries in the second annual EDP Norfolk Short Story competition, which had the theme of 'Norfolk 2057'.

The competition, sponsored by Jarrold and the New Writing Partnership (NWP), attracted a strong response - the challenge of writing a 2,000-word story picturing the county's future caught EDP readers' imagination and almost 200 entries came in from all over the region.

The judges chose two overall winners: in the adult category Steve Williams, from Honing, near Wroxham, and in the junior competition 10-year-old Ben Page, from Hethersett.

They were presented with their prizes of £100 in book tokens by Norwich city councillor Brenda Ferris at a ceremony at Jarrold's book department on Tuesday.

Mr Williams, an adult literacy and numeracy tutor, submitted a story entitled The Wherryman, describing a Norfolk that has fallen victim to rising sea levels. He said: "I'm thrilled that I have won and that it was judged by a professional writer. I have often thought before that I would like to be a writer and this might be the spur that I need."

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Runner-up was Anita Gentry, from Winterton, near Yarmouth, for her story, The Tide. Henry Sutton, who judged the adult category, is an author and books editor of the Daily Mirror. He said: "I have just returned to live in Norfolk after 25 years and what has been great about judging this is that it has reminded me how much writing talent there is here.

"The shortlist was full of very strong stories, albeit slightly pessimistic ones. Clearly Norfolk is going to be entirely covered by water. Steve Williams and Anita Gentry impressed me because they describe an apocalyptic scene with a certain resilience and optimism. There was a real sense of place, of it being Norfolk, even though it was a far wetter Norfolk than the one we know!"

In the junior competition Sarah Christie, from Norwich, won the 15 to 18-year-olds' category, with Rachel Page, from East Tuddenham, near Dereham, runner-up. Imogen Shields, from Norwich, won the 11 to 14-year-olds' category, and Martha Robinson, from Alby, near Aylsham, was runner-up. In the 10-and-under competition Georgia Bezants, from Costessey, was runner-up and the winner, Ben Page, was also named overall junior winner for his story about Nigel, a postman who overcomes robots to become a world leader. Ben said: "I'm very happy to have won. This was the first time I have written something competitively. I did it over half-term, writing two hours a day."

Norfolk-based children's author David Bedford, who judged the junior competition, said: "The quality of the stories was absolutely tremendous - I would have liked to have given them all prizes. It wasn't just that people had come up with some inspired ideas. It was clear that they had really worked on their stories, and I was really impressed that they had written and rewritten them."

The two winning stories will be published in the EDP2 supplement next week.

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