We are very pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Ifanca Helene James Short Story Competition:

1st prize ‘Sharp as Sherbert Lemons’ by Melanie Whipman

2nd prize ‘The Child’ by Ann Clifford

3rd prize ‘The Summer of the Whale’ by Andrea Wotherspoon

The award-winning stories will be available on the competition website in the next few days.

Sixty stories of a high calibre were entered for the competition this year presenting the judges with some fascinating reading and difficult deliberations. Guest judge, Jeni Williams, commented that the twists and wonderfully sustained metaphors of the winning story, ‘Sharp as Sherbert Lemons’, were terrific.

The judges would also like to mention the following shortlisted stories as highly commended:

‘The Taxidermist’ by Lucy Donald

‘Homecoming’ by Gemma Bowker

‘Parallel Track’ by Tim Robson

‘Woody’ by Richard Buxton

‘Junkle’ by Mark Gillespie

‘Paula in Pictures’ by Bruce Harris

‘Boy with Gypsy Earring’ by Bruce Harris

‘Reverse Arms’ by Sue Dickson

This year’s judges were Jeni Williams, Robin Bloor, Amanda Miles and Tracey Warr.


Ifanca Helene James Short Story Competition 2,200 words, first prize £100 and a bottle of champagne, entry fee £4, deadline 1st July 2015.

Full details https://ifancahelenejames.wordpress.com

There are just 38 days left to get your entries in for this year’s Ifanca Helene James Short Story Competition. Full details on how to enter and on previous winners are on this website. We look forward to reading your stories.

The deadline for the 2015 Ifanca Helene James Competition is 1st July. Stories should be a maximum of 2,200 words. First prize is £100 and a bottle of champagne. This year’s judges are Jeni Williams, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at University of Wales Trinity St David’s, and published writers Tracey Warr, Robin Bloor and Amanda Miles. You can read the stories from previous winners on this website.

See the entry-form1 and competition-rules for full details on how to enter. You can post your entry with a cheque for the £4 entry fee or you can email your entry to us and pay via Paypal using our email address.


We look forward to reading your stories.

Diana Powell who recently won second prize in the Ifanca Helene James Short Story Competition has swiftly followed this up by winning first prize in the Penfro Book Festival Short Story Competition.

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 http://lynnevoyce.blogspot.co.uk

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 http://www.jfoxwriter.blogspot.co.uk

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. http://www.ashfeldt.com

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.


The Winners of the 2014 Ifanca Helene James Short Story Competition are:

1st Prize: Tyler Keevil from Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

for ‘All the Little Children’

2nd Prize: Diana Powell from Mathry, Pembrokeshire

for ‘Meeting Mr Dickens’

Joint 3rd Prize: Luke Alistair Smith from Neath, West Glamorgan

for ‘The Boating Season’

Joint 3rd Prize: Sheila M. Blackburn from Crewe, Cheshire

for  ‘Butterflies Dancing’


Highly Commended: Christine Owens from Llandysul, Ceredigion

for ‘Old Soldiers Never Die’

The winning stories will be posted on the website shortly. There was a very high standard of submissions this year and some difficult decisions for the judges. Thank you to all the writers who sent in stories.

The winners of the 2013 Ifanca Helene James short story competition are:

First Prize:

Mike Watson, ‘The Scent of the Ocean’

Second Prize:

Veronica Bright, ‘A Hole in the Sky’

Joint Third Prize:

Gerard Loughran, ‘The Leopard’s Reward’

Joint Third Prize:

John Todd, ‘Five Foot One and a Half’

Congratulations to the winners.

Copies of the winning stories will appear on this website shortly.

The following submissions were highly commended:

Norman Kitching, ‘Behind the Smile’

Margaret Webster, ‘Frozen Birdsong’

Tracy Fells, ‘An Understanding’

Tony Oswick, ‘Bread and Circuses’

Rosemary Gemmell, ‘Gloria’

Janet Marsh, ‘Playing for Change’

Lynne Parry-Griffiths ‘Something Borrowed’

We would like to thank all the writers who submitted this year. The work was of a very high standard and it proved to be a difficult selection.

The deadline for next year’s competition is 1st July 2014.

Some of the 2012 Prizewinners and Judges at the Prize-giving event at University of Wales Trinity Saint David in Carmarthen in October 2012.