The Ifanca Helene James Short Story Competition is now in its fifth year so we contacted the previous prize-winners to find out what they have been doing since winning the competition.

Lynne Voyce, who won 1st prize in the 2011 Competition for Los Zapatos Rojos is publishing her first solo collection, Kirigami, in December 2014 with Ink Tears Press. She has won a few other competitions including her first American award and second prize with the Bethlehem Writer’s Circle. She has recently finished writing a first novel. She writes a weekly blog at

Annia Lekka who won 2nd prize in the 2011 Competition for The Unfolding has written a short memoir entitled ‘Alice’ which will be published in Go World Travel Magazine Anthology this December. She has written four novels and is looking for an agent and publisher.

Joanne Fox who won 1st prize in the 2012 Competition for Flirting with Nuns writes: ‘Since being lucky enough to win the competition in 2012 I have continued selling stories to My Weekly and People’s Friend, and writing a little more poetry. I won a poetry competition in Writer’s Forum last year and had several pieces published in the Dawntreader magazine. Currently I am working on a novel set in the 1930s.’ Her blog is at

Gareth Hopkins who won 2nd prize in the 2012 Competition for The Fishing Trip is continuing to write and experiment in short story form and says ‘being a prize winner gave me confidence that someone may take my writing semi-seriously, and the confidence to stop writing just for my own pleasure and take chances with creating stories for others to enjoy.’

Lane Ashfeldt who won 3rd prize in the 2012 Competition for Dimitria and the Magic Palace of Elefsina contributed to the Parthian anthology, Rarebit, and her book of stories, SaltWater, was published by Liberties Press, and long listed for the 2014 Frank O’Connor short story prize. She is reading at the Dylan Thomas Boatshed this autumn, on Sunday 2 November 2014. See her website for further details on her writing and reading events.

Mike Watson who won 1st prize in the 2013 Competition for The Scent of the Ocean says: ‘I am writing each day as usual and sending off stories to various places.’ In 2013 he published Earth Strider, a story for children, with Thynks Publications. ‘It was a interesting experience,’ he says, ‘to work with an editor and an illustrator and to see the book take shape.’

Gerard Loughran who won 3rd prize in the 2013 Competition for The Leopard’s Reward has written more than 20 short stories and won a couple of other prizes. He was a newspaper foreign correspondent for many years and says ‘I find writing fiction quite liberating after a lifetime of hewing obsessively to the facts in the millions of words I filed for my various media employers.’

You can read all the prize-winning stories at 2011 – 2013 Competitions and 2014 Competition.