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Much disappointment and disillusionment is going on here. We have just received the news that we cannot once more reconstruct our Welsh Books Council stand mini-fest. What a calamity, we all enjoyed it so much last year (even the people who got a tad sunburnt because they were so gripped our fantastic authors that they forgot all about their factor 300). Apparently the powers that be chez Hay have declared, in their wisdom (!!) that only authors already appearing on the main stages can read elsewhere in the festival. Our mission to publish and promote new authors is completely flummoxed by this ruling. Doesn’t seem quite right to us that you can only be famous if you are already famous.

We are considering a minor revolution and may have to set up camp in the car park and read from there until security chuck us off, and send for the police, at which point we can do readings from the local nick. Any authors interested in in-cell performance?

If by some lucky chance you are already famous and reading on the main stage and also published by us – yay- you don’t need us anymore. Or please get in touch and you can support us supporting new writers.



There is great curiosity and anticipation with respect to our very popular recent Micro Fiction Competition. People are asking ‘When are the results out?’ ‘Have I won?’ and ‘Is the prize a trip to Las Vegas?’

What I can say for sure is the prize is still £200 and publication. Not Las Vegas, sorry.
Also we are still reading, reading, reading. There were a prolific number of good entries and thus there will be more debating than usual re who is going to get into the anthology. However be assured we are giving the Micro Fiction our full attention and are hoping to announce results soon. Beginning of May we hope. That’s if we haven’t destroyed each other in our whole-hearted attempts to defend our favourite pieces of micro fiction.




'That was how Christina had first seen him, imagining him at first to be some offbeat academic conducting his tutorial in the open air. Only gradually did she learn that Peake was no lecturer, or leastways was not on any faculty’s payroll. While occasionally he might attend a public lecture, it would be to sit it out impatient for the question and answer session, which he would use to interrogate the speaker to the point of distress or, indeed, beyond it.’

– Extract from ‘The Better Craftsman’.

The Better Craftsman & Other Stories contains the winning entries from the Leaf Books Summer Short Story Competition. The ten unremittingly brilliant tales nestling within cover subjects as diverse as a student’s getting the most out of a maverick academic, a couple’s raising a family in a never-ending traffic jam and a landlubberly boy’s first visit to the seaside.

It arrived back from the printers on Thursday and as such is now officially available for purchase:

It really is very good. Go on: treat yourself.



For some reason Blogger isn't behaving itself for Sam so it is left to me to announce the winner, runner-up and commended writers of the Open Short Story 2006 competition. The stories listed here will be available in a Leaf anthology later in the year.

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all who entered for the hours of entertaining reading and the tough choices in the judging.

Open Short Story 2006 Winners:


'The Light That Remains' by Paul Currion


'Natural Selection, Gaza 2004' by Robert Wilton


'Starshine' by Mark Wagstaff

'Breakfast Things' by Mark Wagstaff

'Third Person' by Michael Stewart

'Darling, You Know and I Know' by Lynne Voyce

'Treasure' by Holly Barratt

'Hide and Seek' by Jenny Jack

'Something to Write Home About' by Ian Madden

'Mid-Life Baby' by Annette Keen

'Burning' by Sue Anderson

'Standing Up on the Pedals' by Joanna Quinn

'Perhaps Birches' by Joanna Lilley

'Break, Break, Break' by Sally Douglas



Here followeth the long-awaited results of the 2006 Open Poetry Competition. I've been long-awaiting them myself all day, and then I was so overcome with impatience that I decided I'd better announce them.


'Outbox' by Nicky Mesch


'The Craft' by Gill Learner

Commended (in no particular order):

'The Calorific Value of Anxiety' by Gill Learner

'Window' by Benjamin Logan

'Learning Science' by Kathy Miles

'Stranger Danger' by Mark Chatterley

'Hieroglyphic Love' by Gwen Seabourne

'A Son' by Pat Borthwick

'Rats' by Tracey S Rosenberg

'Sonar' by Robert Warrington

'The Same Lover' by Hilaire Wood

'Bottle-Green' by Hilaire Wood

'do not add post' by Jason Jackson

'Endowment' by Juliette Hart

'Sandman' by Juliette Hart

'After the Funeral' by Chris Kinsey

'Levi, 2001' by Sinead Collins

'Learner Readers' by Margaret Eddershaw

'Winter Kafeneion' by Margaret Eddershaw

'The Dreamfisher' by Oz Hardwick

'A Candle for Daphne' by Gabriel Griffin

'Bedazzled' by Sue Anderson

'Things I Do' by Gwyneth Box

'Body' by Alice Blake

'Tough Love' by Claire Trevien

'Prayer' by Charles Evans

'Upside Down' by Charles Evans

'Maternal Visit' by Doreen Gray

'Sea Change' by Jenny Morris

'A Splash of Colour' by William Wood

Congratulations to all the above and our thanks to everyone who entered. As ever, an anthology containing all the winning entries will be produced in due course. It'll be called Something or the Other and Other Poems, except 'something or the other' will be replaced with proper words, like a title or what have you. It's going to be grand.

Expect an announcement about the Open Short Story competition later in the week, if you think you can take the excitement.


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