eBook short story competition winners announced

A story about the impact of artificial intelligence, a poignant yet funny tale set in an American diner, and a time travelling extravaganza were the three winners of the 2024 Oxfordshire County Council libraries eBook short story competition.

Now in its tenth year, the competition continues to be a platform for the talented writers of Oxfordshire, with three categories to reflect the breadth of talent in the county.

Winning for the second time in the adult category was Jez Fernandez from Grove whose story ‘Dreamland’ is a wickedly funny, yet strikingly poignant story littered with pop culture references and a diverse cast of authentic characters, all set within a quintessential American diner.

Commenting on his second victory, 50 year old Jez said: “This is such thrilling news, and I am so honoured to win again.”

His 2017 winning short story ‘Time of Death’ is one of the most downloaded ever for a competition-winning title.

Thirteen year old Oxford High School student Alison Zhao was victorious in the young adult category with her story 2056. It is a thought provoking vignette exploring how bringing an AI robot into the home can have an unimaginably profound impact, for better and for worse.

“I couldn’t believe it and had to stand there for a minute to just let it sink in. And then it hit me, I’m going to be published. That’s amazing!” said Miami-born, self-confessed Swiftie, Alison.

Finally, this year’s children’s winner was eight year old Sophia Skidmore from Witney. Her story ‘A Street of Time’ is a rip-roaring time travel adventure spanning multiple centuries and countries.

Sophia said: “I felt emotional because I found out I was going to be an author and they were going to release an eBook and audio book and the whole world could hear me read out my story, which is a massive thing for a little girl like me. It makes me really happy!”

Mark McCree, Service Manager, Libraries and Heritage at Oxfordshire County Council, said: “It is fantastic that we have been able to run this competition for a decade now, and the creativity and talent of the writers continues to astound us. Well done to all the brilliant authors who submitted a story this time around, and particular congratulations to those who have been chosen as our winners.”

All the winners are available to read on Oxfordshire libraries webpage , or on the Libby app, available to download from the Apple store or Google Play store.

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eBook short story competition winners announced:

A story about the impact of artificial intelligence, a poignant yet funny tale ...