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Many thanks to all those who entered this year’s Caterpillar Story for Children Prize. We had entries from across the globe and our judge, Mark Lowery, had a tough time choosing three winners. But he had to. So here goes ...






FIRST PRIZE: THE MAN IN THE HOLE by CHRIS PREECE
Chris Preece works by day as a GP in North Yorkshire, while at night he adopts the role of exhausted father. He spends much of his life with a head full of stories, but usually only allows them out into the wild for the amusement of friends or family. The success of his most recent narrative escapee, however, has led him to wonder whether he should allow them out more often … 

You can read 'The Man in the Hole' in the Irish Times

Judge's comment
‘This is a quirky, warm story about a residential street’s unusual new resident. Although flecked with comic touches and told through a wonderfully matter-of-fact narrative voice, ‘The Man in The Hole’ is also a powerful and timely piece of writing. The responses of the adults and the children to their new neighbour – which range from the touchingly kind to the downright nasty – force us to consider how we react towards those “others” who turn up in our countries uninvited and unannounced. Brilliant.’ 


SECOND PRIZE: THE CIRCUS by REBECCA LANGTON


Currently a student of Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University, Becca loves writing, reading and talking about stories, and dreams of one day owning her own children’s bookshop. Becca is an editor at Pottermore and lives in London. When she doesn’t have her head in a book, Becca can be found running ultra-marathons or recovering from them on a yoga mat. Above all things she loves lolloping dogs, winter beaches and hot chips, preferably all at once.

Judge's comment
‘This is a truly exceptional piece of storytelling. Cleverly developed across a series of letters between a runaway princess and her parents, ‘The Circus’ is imaginative, well paced and very funny. The author’s exquisite lightness of touch allows for a fresh, intriguing take on the idea that the grass isn’t always greener, and enables a depth of narrative that is fiendishly difficult to execute in such a short story.’ 





THIRD PRIZE: MOMBIE ZOMBIE by TOM KELLY
Tom lives in the last house in Cavan (in Ireland), from where he charges Meath people a peppercorn toll to enter the ancient kingdom of Ulster. He has also invented time travel, through which he discovered that Shakespeare was in fact a rather dapper shaved langur monkey. Outside of time travel, Tom can mostly be found regaling his children Dillie, Monty and Sol with bedtime stories bordering on the ridiculous. Thankfully they seem to enjoy them.

Judge's comment
‘This is an utterly hilarious, bonkers story about an ordinary, family-run café and its extraordinary manager. I loved the craziness, the gross-out humour and the wonderful twist at the end.’

All three stories appear in the winter issue of The Caterpillar, available to purchase here





You can read about last year's winner here



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