Winners of Historical Fiction Writing Competition Announced

19 Jun 2020

The winners of the Altrincham Word Fest 2020 Historical Fiction Writing Competition have been announced.

At the beginning of March Carolyn O’Brien , local writer and author of ‘The Song of Peterloo’, visited Altrincham schools to talk about her work and to discuss historical fiction  We invited students in years 7 to 10 to write a short story about an event that is part of the history of their hometown or of Manchester and to enter it into the competition. Carolyn was the head judge and we were looking for lively writing that gave a real sense of the era of the story and for evidence of independent historical research. We were delighted with the variety of the submissions and it was difficult to choose between them!

Carolyn was very impressed by the quality of the entries, commenting,

It’s been a joy and a privilege to read all the entries to Altrincham Word Fest’s historical short story competition for schools during lockdown. At a time when many of us were barely able to concentrate, it’s so impressive that the students were able to research and put together such wonderful, sensitive stories. It was truly moving to read them during our own challenging moment in history. I congratulate each and every one of the young writers who entered.’

Winner of the year 7 and 8 category was Holly Davis whose story, ‘Not every Wish Turns out Good’, is an affecting piece about the Warrington bomb in 1993. Carolyn commented, 

Holly’s story was written with great heart and humanity, keeping its focus on one family and the fact that the terror took place on a Mother’s Day weekend; it certainly packed an emotional punch.’

Winners of Historical Fiction Writing Competition Announced

Second prize in this category was awarded to Imogen Burn with a well-researched story 'Diary of Kitty Marion' about a suffragette in Manchester. Darcey Burke won third prize with 'The Bravest Street in England or Not?’ about Altrincham’s own Chapel Street.

Winner of the Year 9 to 10 category was Alina Patwary with 'The Battle for Manchester', a dramatic story set in the summer of 1642 during the English Civil War. Carolyn commented,

‘Alina’s entry was striking in its originality – both in structure and subject-matter - with some beautiful phrasing. We had hoped for stories that taught us something we didn’t already know about our local area, and this has certainly whetted my appetite to learn more about events of the English Civil War in Manchester.’

Winners of Historical Fiction Writing Competition Announced

Highly commended in this category were Yvonne Gao with 'The Loss of What Could Have Been' about Alan Turing in second place and Matilda Collard with 'The Bravest Little Street in England’ , again about Chapel Street in Altrincham, in third place.

All the winning stories can be seen on the Altrincham Word Fest website here


Altrincham Word Fest should have taken place in May but was cancelled due to coronavirus. Directors Yoko Isami and Anne Earley are planning a virtual programme to take place in September.