Short Story Competition: The Winners

The border between Zimbabwe and Zambia at Chirundu Bridge. By Edu-Tourist/Adam Annfield [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The winner of our inaugural short story writing competition, on the theme of Borders, is Joanna Wolanska, from Wembley, with a powerful and beautifully written account of one man's flight across a border. Runners up were Jane Austin from York, Dennis Brickles from Harrogate and Charlotte Platt from Caithness. The competition's judge, York novelist Fiona Shaw, writes: "each and every story gave me a  new perspective on the borders that exist between people, between cultures, between countries. All were sharply imagined, and important acts of storytelling."

We organised the competition to raise awareness of human rights and the abuse of those rights at home and around the world. We are delighted with the quantity and quality of the stories.

On our competition web-page we publish the winning story, followed by comments from our judge (Fiona Shaw) and then three other stories - the runners-up. Joanna wins £50.00 and a signed first edition of Fiona's latest novel.


From left to right: two members of our group and Anima Poudel

Anima Poudel, who is a women's rights activist from Nepal and was, until late March, a human rights defender on the protective fellowship scheme at the Centre for Applied Human Rights at the University of York, spoke at our monthly meeting in March. She spoke of Nepal as a patriarchal society where women's lives are restricted and where a menstrual taboo (Chhaupadi) is practised. During their periods, women are confined to a small shed, with no heating, given a poor restricted diet and forbidden access to the house. Women are also banished from the house after childbirth. This "purification" process leads to illness, malnutrition, with the women exposed to rape and attacks by animals. In 2017 Nepal passed a law intended to punish people who enforce Chhaupade with up to three months in jail and/or a fine. This law comes into force later this year. However, Anima believes that other changes are also needed, including education and support for women.

Monthly Meetings

This month, our monthly meeting takes place on Tuesday 10 April at the usual venue - York Friends Meeting House, Friargate, York YO1 9RL. We do not have a guest speaker so the meeting starts at 7.30 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Next month, Nisha Kapoor is the guest speaker at our monthly meeting at the usual venue - York Friends Meeting House, Friargate, York YO1 9RL. Nisha is a lecturer in sociology at the University of York. Over the past three years she has been working on a research project called Deport Deprive Extradite - which is “investigating race and citizenship in the War on Terror”. She shows two short films: The Eyes of Aliyah and Aden and the Spiders. The meeting takes place on Tuesday 8 May, starts at 7.00 pm with the short films followed by questions and answers and then continues (from 8.00 pm) with our group's regular business. Everyone is welcome to attend and, if they like, to leave after Nisha's talk.