The Rhys Davies Short Story Competition

Date: 16. May 2014

2014 Rhys Davies Short Story Competition: Winners Announced

Short fiction, big names and even bigger prizes: the winners of the 2014 Rhys Davies Short Story Competition have now been announced. The well-established competition was revamped for 2014 with an increased total prize fund of £5,000, and the inclusion of a brand-new Under 21 Prize. The mammoth task of judging the competition fell to Cynan Jones and Deborah Kay Davies, with Gee Williams acting as Filter Judge...

First Prize of £2,000 was awarded to freelance television producer and writer Sarah Reynolds for her story Catch of the Day. On hearing of her success in the competition, Sarah said: "I am thrilled to win such a prestigious prize as the Rhys Davies Short Story Competition. It’s a wonderful encouragement to keep on writing. I feel privileged to be recognised by such inspiring organisations as Literature Wales and the Rhys Davies Trust and I very much hope that this is the beginning of an exciting new chapter".

Originally from Surrey, Sarah now lives in Carmarthen with her husband and two children. She worked for many years in television development and production in London, working on programmes such as Big Brother and Strictly Come Dancing. Since relocating to Wales she has become a fluent Welsh speaker and has produced factual and entertainment programmes for S4C. Her first book in Welsh will be published by Gomer Press in 2015 and she is also working on ideas for her first English-language novel.

Writer and journalist Penny Simpson from Cardiff was awarded Second Prize of £800 for her story, Looking for Harlequin. The judges said, this story “has at its heart an initially unlovable character. Elsie is an old homeless woman. Gradually we learn her stoic, loss-ridden story… She is a woman of few words, but what she does say is riveting and touching – a story about pictures that leaves pictures”. Penny has published two novels and a collection of short stories. She is no stranger to the Rhys Davies Short Story Competition, having won First Prize in 2007.

Described by the judges as “a journey towards the revelation of uncomfortable truths”, Because You Know Already, was awarded Third Prize of £400. Its author Linda Ruhemann is a lecturer in English and Creative Writing at the University of South Wales. Her short stories have been broadcast on the BBC and published in Wales Arts Review’s A Fiction Map of Wales. Linda was also a double runner-up in the Rhys Davies Short Story Competition in 2011. 

The six equal runners-up in the competition, each receiving a prize of £100, are: Judith Brown from Cumbria for her story The White Feather; Kathryn Coldham from Bryncrug in Gwynedd for her story The Magic of Beans; Jane Fraser from Llangennith on Gower for her story After a certain age you can either have good shoes or good feet; David Greenslade from Bridgend for his story Fontanelle; Angharad Penrhyn Jones from Machynlleth for her story First Winter; and Lisa Parry from Cardiff for her story Egypt.              

For the first time in the history of the award, the Rhys Davies Short Story Competition included a separate category for writers under the age of 21. The Under 21 Prize was judged separately by Rachel Trezise. First Prize of £1,000 was awarded to Erin Mathias for her story Yellow Umbrella. On hearing of her success in the competition, Erin said: “To have someone other than my mam read, recognise and prize my writing is an odd, good feeling; to win a competition of this stature is a very nice one. It has given me a nudge to talk less, write more”. The runner-up prize in the Under 21 category was awarded to Jenna Sherrard for her story Thomas Conquers the Wall. Jenna is currently in her final year at Aberystwyth University where she is studying for a BSc in Equine Studies.

To find out more about this year's winners, click here.

All the winning stories will be featured in an anthology which will be published by Accent Press in the New Year. A celebratory event marking the launch of the anthology will be held in early spring. Further details will be announced on the Literature Wales website in due course. The competition, which is open to writers born in or living in Wales, is administered by Literature Wales and funded by the Rhys Davies Trust. 

For more information on the Rhys Davies Short Story Competition, please contact: 029 2047 2266 / 



Deborah Kay Davies was born in South Wales and now lives in Cardiff. She has taught Creative Writing at Cardiff University and the University of Glamorgan. Her first collection of stories, Grace, Tamar and Laszlo the Beautiful (Parthian, 2008) won the 2009 Wales Book of the Year Award. After her first novel, True Things About Me (Canongate Books, 2010), came out she was named one of the twelve best new British novelists on BBC TV's Culture Show. Her new novel, Reasons She Goes to the Woods, will be published by Oneworld in 2014.

Cynan Jones was born in Wales. His first novel The Long Dry (Parthian, 2006) won a Betty Trask Award and has been translated into a number of languages. His short fiction has appeared in anthologies and magazines including Granta and New Welsh Review and his short story, The Dig, was shortlisted for the 2013 Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award, winning the readers' vote. His next novel – also titled The Dig - will be published by Granta Books in 2014. 

Filter Judge - Gee Williams

Gee Williams is a Flintshire-born poet, dramatist, broadcaster and fictioneer. She has been a prizewinner in both the Rhys Davies and Contemporary Short Stories Competitions. Her debut novel Salvage (Granta Books, 2009) was voted Pure Gold Fiction winner and was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Fiction Prize in 2007. Both her subsequent short fiction collections have been shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year, the latest, A Girl’s Arm (Salt Publishing, 2012), in 2013.       

Under 21 Prize Judge - Rachel Trezise 

Rachel Trezise was born in the Rhondda Valley. Her debut novel In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl (Text Publishing Company, 2008) won a place on the Orange Futures List in 2001 and her short fiction collection Fresh Apples (Text Publishing Company, 2007) won the Dylan Thomas Prize in 2006. Her most recent books are a novel, Sixteen Shades of Crazy (Harper Collins, 2010) and a short fiction collection, Cosmic Latte (Parthian Books, 2013). Her first play, Tonypandemonium was staged by National Theatre Wales in October 2013.