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Lockdown Competition

B&NES Libraries Lockdown Competition 2020 banner

From the 17th of April to the 18th of May 2020, during the height of lockdown, B&NES Libraries ran two creative, online competitions.

Working in partnership with Bath Spa University and Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, we asked adult members of LibrariesWest to submit poems or short stories based on the theme of ‘Lockdown’.

We had lots of entries for both competitions and the judges praised the high standard of work submitted. A number of entrants told us of the benefits of having this creative outlet, including:

This gave me an opportunity to distract myself from the whole situation we are in for a little while. Thank you for that.

I found it very therapeutic to write – it gave me a sense of mental freedom at a time when physical freedom is so restricted.

I just also wanted to say thank you for running this competition. It has given me something to focus on while being furloughed and given me the motivation to get back into writing

We’re really pleased it allowed our community to come together and channel their emotions in a positive way, finding relief through creativity.

We asked local writers and poets to record themselves reading the stories aloud, bringing them to life while still under lockdown. Visit our Youtube Playlist to watch them all, or click on the links below.


Short Story – First Prize

The winner of the Short Story Competition’s First Prize was Clare Reddaway

A well-rounded story that caught our attention, finding light, hope and happier days where there only seemed despair.

The Competition Judges

Short Story – Runner Up

Gaye Davis’ short story won a runner-up prize

I loved the arc of this story showing us how Mary’s loneliness and confusion retreat as her neighbours come to her aid. I particularly liked Mary’s happy discovery of honey-coated cornflakes!

The Competition Judges

Short Story – Runner Up

The final short story runner-up winner was Sam Cook

A beautifully crafted, bitter-sweet story utilising tension, hope and a touch of darkness.

The Competition Judges

Poetry- First Prize

The winner of the Poetry Competition’s First Prize was Anna Hoghton

This was the poem that wouldn’t go away. It remained with us throughout our readings. We particularly liked the pace of it, the way that it moves in space, time and scale, from the first stanza, which casts a spell, a magical recollection of both a particular time and a more specific childhood, a bit like magic, like childhood, to the more mundane, domestic and current concerns of the final stanza. It encapsulates the spirit of lockdown in both a personal and universal spirit. ‘It’s nice/Right here, isn’t it? Better than any café.’

The Competition Judges

Poetry – Runner Up

Rachel Dennis’ Poem won a runner-up prize

This poem is full of irresistibly quirky images of lockdown. Who could resist the way that this writer deals with the daily grim statistics of the pandemic. It needs to be read! It evokes how a sleep-deprived night and a restless, anxious mind can feel so relentless, with no means of escape.

The Competition Judges

Poetry – Runner Up

The final poetry runner-up winner was Ruth Wear

In these difficult times we do rather need a laugh, and this poem deals amusingly with some of the more absurd aspects of lockdown. And we loved that opening image, of everyone in Pensford crammed into the lock-up. Also, the writer has succeeded in keeping a light hand on the rhyme scheme – something that can often go astray in comical verse. We much enjoyed the lines, ‘They said remember you’re British/Make do with beans on toast!’

The Competition Judges

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