Violent undercurrents propel winners of 2021 story contest

“Honey”, a suspenseful tale by Kent-based writer Lucy Thompson, has won the 2021 Shooter Short Story Competition, with Lisa Blackwell’s story “Daddy Longlegs” landing second place.

Thompson’s winning story gripped competition readers with its carefully woven depiction of domestic abuse, leading to a gratifying climax. In an email, Thompson described her inspiration for the story as “too much news”, saying that a radio program about coercive control merged with the sight of beehives at an unusual house to spark the story in her mind.

A former marketing executive, Thompson balances writing with the demands of her two teenage children, partner, and Labradoodle Maisie. Her work has appeared in Black Static, Dawntreader, Firewords and elsewhere, and she is currently working on her first novel. 

The competition’s second-place story, “Daddy Longlegs”, struck readers with its insightful, poignant suggestion of the cycle of violence and its effect on a young boy. Blackwell, a copy-editor living in London, has published fiction in the Bath Short Story Award Anthology 2019, MIR Online, TSS, Reflex Press, and elsewhere, and has also written poetry and plays. She is currently studying for a master’s degree in creative writing from Oxford University.

Both stories are available to read online, and “Honey” will also appear in Shooter’s forthcoming Escape issue. Huge congrats to this year’s winning writers!