Tony Hays, American journalist and novelist, presented the Dorothy Loughran Trophy to a 'delighted' Barbara Jackson (with Tony Hays, left, and Chairman, Tony Collins) at the Southampton Writers Circle (SWC). Barbara's winning entry, The Spiral, was an eery tale set in a hospital, which sent chills up the spines of her listeners, when she read the story aloud after the award presentation.
The runner up was Dianne Sparkes for A Narrow Escape, a story of a fishing boat caught in a storm.
Tony Hays, commenting on how difficult a competition it was to judge, pointed out that all the entries had never failed to hold the attention of their reader, each having 'a vision which is beyond story.'
Hays, who came over to the UK specifically for this event, took the opportunity to speak about his latest book, The Killing Way,which came out in this country on Friday 1st May. It is described as 'an Arthurian mystery' set in Dark Ages Britain. The sequel, The Divine Sacrifice,which entailed six months of research in the UK, is due for release in March 2010.
Amongst the crowd last night was Barbi Smith, whose autobiography, So now you know, is leading her to new and unexpected places, from book signings to interviews for the BBC.