Words and Women is delighted to announce the results of this year’s competition.

Deborah Arnander wins the new national prize for women writers over 40 for her rich, complex short story, The Wife and Melissa Fu wins our fourth annual regional prize for women living or working in the East of England with her elegiac non-fiction piece Suite for My Father.

Deborah wins £1,000 and a month-long writing retreat, generously sponsored by Hosking Houses Trust, and Melissa wins £600 and a mentoring session with Jill Dawson of Gold Dust.


There are 22 highly commended entries which will be published alongside the winning stories in our fourth anthology Words and Women: Four published by Unthank Books and launched at our International Women’s Day celebration in March at Nunn’s Yard Gallery (more details will be released soon). The quality of the 350 entries was extremely high and we would like to thank all who entered. It was no easy task for our guest judge Naomi Wood. author of The Godless Boys and the bestseller Mrs. Hemingway. ‘The chosen stories,’ says Naomi, ‘are fresh, clever and dynamic.’

Deborah Arnander

Deborah was born in Northumberland but spent her childhood in Thailand.  She has a PhD in French literature, and works as a translator.  She won an Escalator award in 2010, when she began her first, soon to be completed novel, The Cinderella Watch, which was shortlisted in 2014’s TLC/PEN Factor competition. She has published stories in Unthology One and Words and Women One and Three, all with Unthank Books, and poetry in the webzine Ink, Sweat and Tears.  She is married with two children.

Melissa Fu

Melissa grew up in Northern New Mexico and lives in Cambridge. Her work appears in Words and Women: Two, Bare Fiction, Envoi, Right Hand Pointing, and other publications. With backgrounds in physics and English, she spent many years working in education, both as a teacher and a consultant. In 2014 Melissa combined her loves of writing and teaching to start Spilling The Ink, a small business offering creative writing courses and coaching.

‘We are very grateful to our sponsors, Hosking Houses Trust and Gold Dust for the valuable support they have given our competition. It is a privilege to be in a position to offer women the possibility of publication and exposure for their work.’ said Belona Greenwood, co-organiser of Words and Women. ‘We had so many high quality entries it was hard selecting our long list from so many genuinely interesting ideas before handing the final responsibility for choosing the winners to this year’s judge, Naomi Wood.’

‘We judged the work anonymously and it was very exciting to find out the names of our winners at the end of this process. We have selected an outstanding mix of work, both fiction and non-fiction, and look forward to seeing it appear in Words and Women’s fourth anthology,’ said Lynne Bryan, Words and Women co-organiser.

Words and Women has twice been shortlisted for the national Saboteur Awards and, this year for the second time, Words and Women were runners up in the Women in Publishing award for ‘pioneering venture.’

Words and Women showcase women writers who live in the East of England, at all stages of their professional careers in an annual celebration of regional creativity on International Women’s Day, and through commissioning opportunities and an annual new writing prize.

Visit the wordsandwomennorwich.blogspot.co.uk for more information.



Highly Commended:

Jamilah Ahmed – Leaving The Home That Made Me –  Non-Fiction

Kate Harmond Allan – Sunday Tea – Memoir

Margaret Callaghan – Pull of Distance – Fiction

Tricia Cresswell – Future Perfect – Fiction

Louise Dumayne – The Bear – Non-Fiction

Kate Feld – Dear Shadow – Non-Fiction

Lilie Ferrari – Sorry Business – Fiction

Pia Ghosh-Roy – A Tree Full of Ghosts – Non-Fiction

Guinevere Glasfurd – The Last Card – Fiction

Sarah Gowen – Wedad – Non-Fiction

Anna Metcalfe – A Punch Up At The Wedding – Fiction

Clare Morgan – Thiruvega – Fiction

Helen Morris – There’s a Wee Bomb Upstairs – Fiction

Shiona Morton – The Boy in The Bivouac – Fiction

Nasrin Parvaz – The Time of Assassinations – Fiction

Marianne Picton – Memory Thief – Fiction

Ronne Randall – The Talent Show – Non-Fiction

Kate Robinson – Me & My Reptile on a Concrete Reef – Non-Fiction

Cherise Saywell – Private Parts – Fiction

Victoria Shropshire – Beauregard’s Last Walk – Fiction

Penny Simpson – Winter’s Map – Fiction

Mary White – Some Adjustment Required – Fiction