For a third year, Quay Words’ successful competition invited young writers aged 10-18 to write a piece of short or ‘flash’ fiction: up to 250 words for those aged 14–18 and up to 500 words for those aged 10–14. We continued the theme of Trading Places, which fits so well with the trading heritage of Quay Words’ location and opens up such imaginative potential. This year’s winners surprised the judges with their wit and originality – congratulations to them, and thanks to everyone who entered such well-written and entertaining compositions.

At a special event at Exeter Custom House earlier this month, the winners were presented with their prizes by Literature Works’ patron Patrick Gale. It was a delight to watch these talented young writers performing their work.

Photography by Juliette Mills.

2023 winners

14–18 Years

  • First place: Mother and Daughter by Violet Stapleton (age 16)
  • Second place: Brave by Meggie Lenn (age 15)
  • Third place: A Twenty-First Century Suburban Dream, Mitchel Rowe (age 18)

10-14 Years

  • First place: The Wizard and the Cat, Emily Harvey (age 12)
  • Second place: Nature Drifts, Inigo Quinlivan-Brewer (age 10)
  • Third place: A Whisper To The World, Scarlett Fox (age 10)

You can read these pieces in our latest anthology of new writing drawn from the Quay Words live literature programme, Quay Voices #3.

Also highly commended were Olivia Felice for Silence and Annabelle Clark for The Moonlight Wolf.

Look out for an announcement about our fourth Quay Words flash fiction competition for young writers, launching early in 2024.