Sunday, 14 June 2015

Winners of the Watford Live! Richard Harrington Trophy

On the 1st June  there was a special event at Watford Writers where the winners of the 2015 Watford Live! Richard Harrington Trophy were announced.

The theme was 'Fairytales' and the top ten short stories chosen by the independent judges were read to a bumper number of attendees before the winners were announced.  The creativity and original twists on the theme of 'Fairytales' was amazing, ranging from traditional stories to modern, even dark tales of the little folk.

Out local MP Richard Harrington attended the event for a short while, but was unfortunately unable to stay for the announcements or present the trophy.

The First Place went to Carolyn Storey for 'The Seeker' an charming story about a little boy who goes looking for fairies and is convinced he saw one.

Carolyn Storey - talented writer and winner of the 2015 Richard Harrington Trophy

Second Place was 'The Alley' by Louise Broadbent and the Third Place was shared by John Ward 'The Return of the Tooth Fairies' and Paul White 'A Cereal Offender'.

Louise Broadbent - Second Place Winner

All of the top three stories will be displayed in Watford over the coming summers months, along with those that came in the top ten, so look out for a great short story coming to you very soon!

Now you may be asking how did my entry do in the writing competition?  Well, gentle reader, I scraped in 10th by the skin of my teeth.  So please find below my competition entry 'The Storyteller', which I hope you will enjoy reading as much as I had fun writing it.

The Storyteller

He slipped unobserved through a side gate in the blistering heat of the desert noon.  But within a few short minutes the news was sweeping through the city like flames licking through dry straw.

‘He has come,’ they cried on the market stalls, in the workshops of the artisans, the hovels of the poor and the cool marble halls of the palace.

By the time the sun began to sink behind the distant mountains, they had gathered in the main square to wait for him.

The warm dusk air was fragrant with the delicious aroma of food being cooked on the many fires that had been lit.  Babies were soothed, children were hushed as the huge crowd continued to wait in patient silence.

The first stars were beginning to prick the night with cold, diamond light when a diminutive figure wrapped in a snowy, crisp robe and leaning on an intricately carved cane padded through the squatting crowd and sat on the cushion which had been placed there for him.

The crowd sighed their relief as he carefully composed himself and arranged the folds of his robe around him.

He was here at last.  Many had thought he was a myth; like one of his tales.  Not a real man but a story; such as the ones he had once weaved at the feet of the mighty Sikunder as he led his conquering armies through the mountains of the north.

It seemed hours before the Storyteller began to speak, but as soon as the words started flowing from his mouth they were caught. His voice rose and fell, snaking through the crowd like a fine silk scarf brushing their cheeks and lightly ruffling their hair.

The crowd listened silently; spellbound by what they were hearing. They laughed, they cried.  They felt the pain and were swept by feelings of love.  The Storyteller led them into the tale with the skill of a master chess player, each word carefully chosen and enunciated until it became their story, their life, and their emotions.

‘As the Prince rode into the courtyard, he looked up to the top of the tower where he could see his beloved sitting before her mirror.  Her hand was reaching for the golden comb dipped in poison that her step-mother had given her.’

The Storyteller paused to look at the spellbound faces of the crowd.

‘He called her name, but she did not hear him.  She lifted the comb and pulled it through her glossy, ebony tresses.  She was so beautiful, so perfect, in that moment before her mirror, but seconds later she collapsed on the couch and his love was dead.  The only comfort the Prince had was the promise she would be placed in the heavens as a star, so her beauty could shine on the world below for eternity.’

The listeners cheered their appreciation, but when they looked again the Storyteller’s cushion was empty.

He was gone and nobody saw him go.