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Hive Competition Results 2022/23

Want to hear about future competitions & opportunities? Get in touch at [email protected]

We are delighted to announce the results of our 2022/23 Young Writers’ Competition!

Congratulations to winning and commended young writers aged 14 to 30 from across the north and midlands who submitted wonderful work spanning short story, flash fiction and poetry. If you entered the competition and weren’t placed in the list below, don’t be disheartened. Keep writing! We’re looking forward to hearing from you again next time.

“The fiction entries were an absolute pleasure to read, such variety and quality in genre, voice, and tone. From neo-fairy tales and compelling cosmic sci-fi, to gripping realist drama and terrifying existential horror, these stories spanned much of what is possible in short fiction. It was thrilling to see young writers so willing to take risks, challenge their writing, and produce engaging and striking short stories as a result. I lost count of how many ideas that had me wishing I’d thought of them. To all who entered, keep on writing, you clearly have stories to tell and the words to tell them. To those placed, congratulations on producing some standout fiction that is still resonating in my brain days after reading it.” Dan Powell
“It’s been an honour to step in and judge the wonderful poetry submissions this year! This was super hard to judge – I’ve been so impressed by the ambition and diversity of voices, forms and subjects, ranging from lyrical and haunting to witty and entertaining. The entrants were not afraid to experiment with form or use bold images, and I loved reading them all! Many congratulations to the winners and commended. And to all of the writers – keep that ink flowing, and I look forward to reading more of your work in the future!” Rachel Bower

Big thanks to our judges Dan Powell & Rachel Bower. Also, thanks to all who encouraged young people to enter from schools to youth clubs to universities. Note: highly commended/commended listed in no set order.

14-16 Category

“A lyrical, haunting poem, full of stunning images. The journey of this poem is incredibly painful but beautifully expressed.”
Rachel Bower on: A Bookstore, Somewhere – Bernadette Ingrid Yeung


1st Place: A Bookstore, Somewhere – Bernadette Ingrid Yeung
A lyrical, haunting poem, full of stunning images. The journey of this poem is incredibly painful but beautifully expressed.

2nd Place: Immortality Defeated – Louise Smith
An epic tale that spans epochs and contains epics within it. Loved how this moved from the cosmic scale down into the human, following the trajectory of the narrator. A high-concept piece that tells a story that lives up to its big ideas. A grand narrative in every meaning of the phrase, that builds to a well-earned and well-executed ending. 

3rd Place: I was born – Ahlan Samatar
A wonderfully evocative poem that takes the reader on a complex journey, explored with poise and precision.

Highly Commended (14-16)

Violets – Olive Le Fevre
A beautiful depiction of a beautiful moment. Love the plethora of rolex deepsea real vs fake images throughout – a fav has to be ‘blue porcelain replaced the sky, clouds representing places where the glaze ran thin.’ A gentle and welcoming piece that places us firmly in the narrator’s perspective. Great use of first person.

Mavis Burrows School of Dance – Izzy Whiston
A lovely poem – I love the specificity of the title and images – the ghosts of girls will stay with me!

Winter Spirit – Poppy Marfleet
A tender, well-crafted fable that resonates with themes of friendship and sacrifice. I love how the narrative itself is gentle and calm, pulsing with a tension that culminates in the striking image of Winter in the final paragraph. Really well-paced and beautifully told.

Look – Sofie Stothers
A playful, bold poem containing compelling, original images. This poem is full of energy and there are hidden serious depths under the sparkling wit.

Ode to the country with the highest crime rate in the world – Isabella Merino Garzon
A heartfelt ode poem, packed with vitality and energy, and full of original images.

Greying – Harry Cammish
A great poem! I especially enjoyed the confident tone and rhythm, created through the poised language and variation in sentence length. Great images, moving towards the devastating ending.

Creation – Katie Charlesworth
Flash piece that brims with tiny details that tell a story within the story. Great structure, with the use of ‘Maybe’ reframing the story twice over, hinting at what will happen next, maybe. I couldn’t stop thinking about this one after that super final sentence fell.

Old Upright Piano – Chloe Pearson
A gentle, specific poem, underpinned with melancholy and longing – lovely!

Lonely Fish – Madison Chaplin
A vibrant, playful poem containing some lovely images across an extended metaphor

Another Cold Grey Day – Sylvia Fagg
A thoughtful piece that asks big questions that resonate for the reader long after they have finished reading. The description here is strikingly visual, the detailed imagery working well in partnership with the first-person narration and direct address to the reader. An empathetic piece that places the reader deep into another life.

Commended (14-16)

Reflection of Friends – Mia Macmillan-Wood
Great first line and great structural repeat to close the story, which builds dramatically from the everyday into a troubling gaze deep into the unravelling psychology of the narrator. The narrative voice is disconcerting and compelling in a way that is deeply impactful for the reader.

The Burden of Tom – Rebecca Smith
A fascinating glimpse into the inner life of the famous Tom. Great use of repetition and voice. The sympathy we feel for Tom is palpable here. Beneath the comedy, this is a tragic story of abuse and the writing balances both modes really well. An ambitious and original narrative.

First Time for Everything – Lucy Klijn
Great energy, striking images – the poem builds up a lovely picture through the layering of details.

The Curse – Lily Simm
Great use of landscape to mirror the psychology of the narrator. Some powerful imagery that builds in intensity as we approach the edge, and the end, of the narrative. The invasive narrator at the end is a compelling and disturbing addition that hints at a darker story lurking somewhere off the page. Intriguing stuff.

And Finally, the Sun Went Down – Elliot Blades
A clever poem with an unexpected twist – wonderful energy.

Someday – Lucy Parr
A piece brimming with poetic imagery and energy that reads like a prose poem. The use of direct address is very engaging; the narrative voice evokes a great passion for ‘you’. So many great little details but particularly loved the image of time’s ‘selfish fingers’ reaching out to pull the narrator towards the inevitable ending. A tender and evocative piece.

Things I’ve Learnt – Anisa Khan
A clever poem containing some brilliant details. I especially loved the hand-knitted scarf, silver thread and lurking reeds.

17-19 Category

“This is a beautifully controlled, poised poem. It is a poem that is pared right back but also incredibly rich and evocative in its carefully chosen words.”
Rachel Bower on Glass Factory by Grace Perry


1st Place:
Glass Factory – Grace Perry
This is a beautifully controlled, poised poem. It is a poem that is pared right back but also incredibly rich and evocative in its carefully chosen words.

2nd Place: Hot Savanna Nights at the World Museum – Grace Perry
Compelling use of second person, engaging the reader directly first, before the masterful reveal. Such an evocative setting, that works perfectly as a central metaphor for the separation and difference we feel towards our past. Beautiful exploration of our complex relationship with time, our need to document and capture. Lovely writing.

3rd Place: Grand Piano – Becca Green
A poem that works at lots of levels. Through a seemingly simple frame, this poem contains hidden depths and explores complex issues relating to history, freedom, control and gender. Sparse and compelling.

Highly Commended (17-19)

The Crows Treasure – Alexis Sturgeon
A subtle yet powerful portrayal of a person struggling against what is expected in life. The collection of mundane details gloms together to form a grim cacophony of banality that surrounds the narrator. The small rebellion of asking for a cigarette at the bus stop begins a building of tension that ratchets to full force by the time the final line’s open ending is laid before us. A story where, on the surface nothing is happening, but the emotional iceberg beneath is massive.

Circus – Lily Smith
A dark, unsettling poem, full of menace, with many startling images.

Dear Monsters Wearing Human Skin, Welcome to Judgement Day – Chloe Abbott
This reads like a lost classic. Excellent use of period voice that avoids falling into parody. Excellent attention to detail and use of complex vocabulary to bring the character of Emory to life. There is much world-building here that suggests a larger world and narrative happening all around the pages. Good stuff.

Sea Angel – Amelia Boden
An exuberant, elegant poem, alive with the energy of the sea.

The Spiral of a Broken Man – Amelia Skinner
A compelling view into a broken human being. The physical details are specific and well selected, layering together to create a complete picture of the state this man is in. The sense of a person in conflict with themselves is palpable. Clever how the tension rises, despite there being no other character present, the protagonist battling with his own scarred psyche.

Soul Tie – Emma Kerley
A sweet depiction of love blossoming and blooming. The gentle unfolding of the narrative itself mirrors the unfolding of the relationship depicted within. It is difficult to craft something like this without tripping into sentimentality, but this is emotive without falling into that trap. A tender, loving piece of writing.

Feminine Fruits – Evie Banks
An intriguing poem with a haunting refrain.

The Marks on My Neck – Phoebe Loach-Martin
Challenging subject matter is handled with considerable care. The central metaphor is powerful even as the marks have begun to fade with the very first sentence. The understanding of the reader unfolds with a series of jolting images and events, structured to discomfort the reader, designed to disturb, building to the impact of the final sentence – the perpetrator reduced to no more than his crime. A small piece with a massive impact on the reader.

Commended (17-19)

A Good Nurse – Amber Husarz
A powerful glimpse into the emotional impact of a zombie outbreak. The character of the nurse is well drawn and creates tension between the role of nurse and the reality of what must be done. We feel the narrator’s inner turmoil.

our untold fires – Shahd Mustafa
An evocative tale full of vibrant images and descriptions. The narrative told here suggests a story much larger than the sum of its pages. An intriguing character and world.

Bleed-through – Emily Freeman
Visceral, raw and full of life.

Shackled – Anabella Prodan
Great use of dialogue to explore and to showcase character. Some big themes being grappled with here. Full marks for ambition. Some wonderful imagery too. I particularly liked: ‘She existed in a graveyard of unforgiven sins and departed bodies that were not cared for by the living cadavers existing in that horrible world’.

20-30 category

“Cleverly constructed piece that reveals its secret in a controlled timely manner. Looking back through the piece the clues are all there, yet so gently implemented that I missed their true import on first reading. The butterfly line is a killer to look back on once you realise the truth. This piece pushes beyond the cliché of its genre.”
Dan Powell on Red Velvet by Ailish Bumpus


1st Place:
 Red Velvet – Ailish Bumpus
Cleverly constructed piece that reveals its secret in a controlled timely manner. Looking back through the piece the clues are all there, yet so gently implemented that I missed their true import on first reading. The butterfly line is a killer to look back on once you realise the truth. This piece pushes beyond the cliché of its genre. Really great use of horror tropes to explore gender dynamics.

2nd Place: Corp Chreadh – Eleanor Page
An evocative poem with a striking storytelling voice. There’s a wonderful texture and rhythm and the poem gets more complex with every re-read – lovely!

3rd Place: I Hate New Country – Ross Turner
Super character piece, with a lovely feel of a stranger in a strange land. The road trip cliches create a neat tension with the ‘new country’ on the radio. Feels like the narrator is caught in a movie scene. The narrative detail is precise and controlled and impactful; feels very real. Love also how Stu feels like a character itself. A charming piece of fiction.

Highly commended (20-30)

Birdsong – Lily Luty
A precisely worded poem, where the imaginative use of form powerfully complements the content.

Mould – Aidan Little
A powerful depiction of physical and psychological decay. The first-person narration places the reader right at the heart of this traumatic transformation. Precise imagery really powers the impact  of the piece on the reader

Nike Tech – Clare Serugo
A fresh, imaginative poem that explores serious subjects in original and clever ways.

After/Before – Sylvia-Marie Cleite
A powerful piece that explores grief and trauma with clarity and sensitivity. Some beautiful lines here made more beautiful set amidst such tragedy. The narrator’s imagining her father unzipping from within a friend’s father to reveal where he has been hiding is heartbreaking. A compelling examination of loss.

Ken Barlow’s a Zombie Now – Rebecca Payne
witty and engaging – a playful poem full of great images.

Painted Animals – Antony Tomkins
A chilling and compelling slice of Lovecraftian existential horror. The idea of becoming a friend never felt so sinister. Loved the use of layout and multiple adjectives and nouns to create a sense of a fractured/unified/multiversal reality. The use of direct address at key points is discomforting in places, as it should be, and downright alarming at the end. Great stuff.

Shopping List for My Sexuality – Charis Horsley
An engaging, playful poem – evocative and full of energy.

Friends – Nix Woodcock
A chilling and compelling slice of Lovecraftian existential horror. The idea of becoming a friend never felt so sinister. Loved the use of layout and multiple adjectives and nouns to create a sense of a fractured/unified/multiversal reality. The use of direct address at key points is discomforting in places, as it should be, and downright alarming at the end. Great stuff.

Amita – Natalie Lever
An intricate poem – winding and beautifully wrought.

Mojados – Anaïs Wyder Pivaral
Great depiction of a family and culture. A controlled narrative that shows (rather than tells) and use direct speech to convey more than is simply said.

Commended (20-30)

Eulogy – Emily Moscrop
A beautiful, heartbreaking poem, packed with striking images

Drunk – Maya Lambert
A controlled and compelling relationship narrative. Strong use of first-person, with the narrator revealing much of her inner life through what is withheld as much as revealed. Loved lines like ‘I think I was being normal.’ It’s the little details in this piece that make it shine.

A Ghazal for His Leftovers – Sophie Apps
Bold play with language and form, including some startling images

Dogman – Amy Brook
An imaginative, high-concept narrative. We feel the narrator’s concern and powerlessness as they can only watch as their partner slipping away. The transformation of the Dogman is well-drawn and builds to a powerful crescendo in the final section.

The Osprey – Jessica Leanne Smith
Startling and beautifully observed.

What Are We – Harry Strange
A strong character piece focused in a single scene. Love the tight focus of this, how the single moment is drawn out and deliberated over in slower than real time using the first-person narration. This slow-motion unravelling of them moment allows you to open the moment fully to the reader. Clever stuff.

The winning entries will be published in our next Hive Young Writers’ print anthology. Our last anthology was Dear Life. You can find it here

DEAR LIFE an anthology of writing by young & emerging writers (2022)

This brilliantly inventive, powerful and vibrant anthology of poetry and short fiction showcases writing by the next generation of writers in the North. Many are members of Hive young writers’ groups or have attended Hive programmes and projects across the region. Some have been placed in our competitions. There’s also work from Hive award-winning writers such as Beth Davies, Safia Khan, Lauren Hollingsworth Smith, Naomi Thomas and Warda Yassin.

The anthology showcases a whopping 74 emerging writers and features 69 poems and 18 short stories.

Judges
SHORT STORY & FLASH FICTION
Dan Powell is a prize-winning author of short fiction from the West Midlands. He recently completed his PhD in Creative Writing and his stories have appeared in The Salt Anthology of New Writing, New Short Stories, Unthology, The Lonely Crowd, The London Magazine, Carve, Being Dad, The End, and Best British Short Stories. His debut collection, Looking Out of Broken Windows, was shortlisted for the Scott Prize and longlisted for both the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and the Edge Hill Prize. Most recently, his short story ‘Half-mown Lawn’ was performed as part of a Best British Short Stories Word Theatre event. Dan also runs writing workshops in festivals, schools and universities and is a First Story writer-in-residence in the East Midlands. He can be found online at danpowellfiction.com and on Twitter as @danpowfiction.

POETRY
Rachel Bower is an award-winning writer based in Sheffield. She is the author of two poetry collections and a book on literary letters. Her stories and poems have been widely published in literary magazines, including The London MagazineThe White Review, Magma, Stand and Frontier. She won The London Magazine Short Story Prize 2019/20 and the W&A Short Story Competition 2020. She has also been listed for the White Review Short Story Prize 2019, the RSL V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize and the BBC Short Story Prize. Rachel is a qualified community development worker and has over ten years’ experience running workshops with a wide range of people and organisations.

(Note: we have a change of poetry judge from Kathryn Bevis to Rachel Bower)