Novel in 25 Words

novel in 25 words

Congratulations! Short story winners announced

The three finalists of Bath Spa University’s ‘Novel in 25 words’ competition have been announced, with novels Early Learning by Clare Gallagher, FYI by Kelly Doran, and Rise of the shy horticulturalist by Michael Hunt shortlisted. 

The competition, which challenged people to submit a novel in just 25 words in celebration of 25 years of teaching creative writing excellence at Bath Spa University, ran throughout June closing on Friday 30 June. 

The 1,415 entries were judged by a panel of successful authors and literary figures, including author of nine novels, Philip Hensher. The panel selected three finalists at this stage, and the overall winner will be announced in September at the launch of a new anthology, ‘A Place in Words’, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of teaching creative writing at Bath Spa University. 

The three finalists will have their 25-word story read out and recorded by Jeremy Irons, Oscar-winning actor and Bath Spa University’s Chancellor, and the overall winner will also receive £500.


The three finalist’s entries are as follows:

Early Learning by Clare Gallagher

With boys she hit harder. Hit at the child he once was. Thirty years’ ‘exemplary classroom practice’. The soft palm of so many small hands.

FYI by Kelly Doran

Obviously I’m not judging Carl; I just think it would’ve been nice to know about the whole pineapple situation before I moved in with him.

Rise of the shy horticulturalist by Michael Hunt

Veni, vedi, Aesculus hippocastanum: I came, I saw, I conkered. Caesar of playgrounds, bullied no more, commander of string, nut and a smattering of Latin.