Julie was thrilled to hear that one of her short stories, A Chill in the Air, took third place in the prestigious Society of Women Writers and Journalists (SWWJ) annual John Walter Salver competition.

The competition was to write a short story of up to 1,500 words on the theme of weather. The judge was author, Janet Gover.

‘I enjoy writing short stories to a word limit as this makes you concentrate on every word. Revision is key, along with ensuring you stick to the competition rules and word count. I was thrilled to be placed as this was the first time I’d entered the competition,’ said Julie.

Julie used scenes from her childhood in the north-west of England to create authenticity. The story is set during The Big Freeze of 1963, when the whole of the country suffered freezing weather and heavy snowfall.

Julie tells us: ‘My family lived in a typical two-up, two-down terraced house and yes, we had a privy at the end of our back yard. I can remember the snow being so deep it covered the dustbin. The house had no bathroom and no central heating, so windows froze in very cold weather. My childhood was a very happy one, though life wasn’t easy for many people at that time.’

The first prize went to Beryl Fleming and second to Patrick Forsyth. Of Julie’s story the judge commented:

Third place goes to a story that was very well structured. There was conflict and resolution. Too often the ending of a story can be predicted from the beginning – but this was not the case here. There was doubt right up until the last three paragraphs, and that takes some skill.

The story revolved around a child’s love and uncertainties, and the complexities of family. The theme of weather was woven through quite nicely – even into the title of the piece.

A well-deserved third place.”

To read Julie’s winning story, open the link below.


A Chill in the Air