FORBIDDEN LOVE Short Story Competition

(to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death)

The entries for the competition were varied and inventive, with love happening in unlikely and challenging circumstances, from imagined nightmarish futures, to the familiar present and difficult periods in our past when war and social class differences lead to tragic outcomes for lovers. Choosing an overall winner was a difficult task as each story had addressed the competition brief, was unique and had its own distinctive strengths. Those that made it from the longlist to the shortlist were certainly commendable and worthy of merit, so we decided to award two runner up prizes to recognise this. So, the titles of the winning entries are: 

1st: ‘Forbidden Love’

2nd : ‘True Love Only Happens Once’

3rd: ‘The Matron’s Secret’

The winner, ‘Forbidden Love’, by Eleanor, is set in a distant past and the story crosses many genres: fantasy, history, romance, mystery and speculative fiction. It explores many of the themes we find in Shakespeare, such as betrayal, secrets, deceit and death. The opening paragraph below gives a flavour of the mysterious and intriguing setting and shows the skilful way readers are drawn in:

Our story begins in a far off land, a land which now lies forgotten, buried deep, deep down in our memories so that we may never remember it again. Nobody can now remember what it was called, or how you can get there. They could remember once, hundreds of moons ago, when the people of this world still recalled the old ways when the ‘other kind’ came and went from our world as they pleased.

The runners up are Sophie and Charlotte, who have also set their stories in the past. Sophie’s entry, ‘True Love Only Happens Once’ is set during feudal times and the opening is powerfully compelling: Two words. True love. Those two words should never be used, never spoken. Don’t even think of them. They ruin lives, crush hearts and darken souls. I learnt this the hard way, so take my advice and from now on never let them poison your mind or fly from your lips.

Charlotte's story, The Matron’s Secret has an interesting structure with the moving ‘end’ at the beginning: He was dead. I knelt in the dirt of the earth with his head on my lap, his beautiful diamond blue eyes staring into mine, the hellish sky reflected in his pupils. Set during WW2, it explores the frowned upon love of a nurse for an injured soldier.

All writers have created interesting, believable characters and strong, distinct settings that transport readers to other lands and times, where lovers face many challenges and obstacles. Well done to all competition entrants! The three winning stories will be posted on the school website for all to enjoy.     

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