Skip to content Skip to main menu

Our 10-word competition highlights

We had a remarkable response to our mini-competition for the best 10-word story, which we've run to celebrate 10 years of the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award. Over 1,000 entries were made, and we had some fine responses.

The winner, who receives 12 free audiobooks of their choice from Audible UK, was Ray McGrath for this touching tale:

He squeezed her hand; then some more. She was silent.

There were, though, a number of other excellent entries that deserve to be acknowledged. One, from Daniel Kramb, would have been a close contender, but but for the fact that Daniel is technically disqualified because he works on our sister competition, The Sunday Times/University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award. His entry, though, is worth reprinting:

Buys two pints. Their regular table. Drinks hers. Drinks his.

Several entrants tried to encompass a whole life in 10 words. This one, by @allnuts, was the cleverest:

Cutting teeth. Replacing teeth. Gritting teeth, Grinding teeth. Losing teeth.

Some, like this one from Michael Chubb, went for thriller-like drama:

As she sank under the water, she recognised his hands.

Colette Willis had one of the strongest of many with a domestic theme:

"That's not me," he said, and she believed him. Again.

A few riffed cleverly on the famous 6-worder - "For sale: baby shoes, never worn" - that we launched the competition with, including this one from Alastair Horne:

For sale: baby. Shoes never worn.

And there were many others that deserve mention, among them:

He will not be buried with his family (PJ Power)

Her Ladyship tends the herbaceous border on her own, now... (Paula Urwin)

In joyful anticipation, pinning the broach to her funeral coat  (Clare MacPherson)

Even now, I phone her. A voicemail recording beats silence  (Alex Hague)

Darling Elizabeth and Margaret - kiss your new baby brother, Georgie  (Veronica Lowe)

He nicknamed me his laying hen on honeymoon, Your Honour  (Niamh O'Connor)

His baby slept. He left and hoped nobody would know  (Judith McGowan)

Overall, a very strong field from which to pick our winner.

Thank you to everyone who took the trouble to enter.

Andrew Holgate

Sunday Times Literary Editor

See more news