The delighted recipient of a £10,000 Oxford-based literary prize knows just how close the competition was.

“All four judges picked a different winner,” said Jeremy Mogford, founder of the short story competition for food and drink writing, before announcing that – after further discussions – Nicky Winder, 52, from Colchester, Essex, had taken the top spot.

She was presented with the prize by Mr Mogford during a party at Quod Bar and Brasserie in High Street, Oxford, this week.

“I am overwhelmed and so grateful to Jeremy Mogford,” said Ms Winder, a teacher and therapist. “It’s a life-changing event for me.

“I have been writing for years and years and have just started a poetry Phd – this has given me a lot of confidence.”

She said the cash award would allow her to spend more time writing and she would also take her son on holiday to Greece.

Last year's winner Martin Pevsner, of Cowley Road, Oxford, who was at the ceremony with his son Patrick said he took his family on a trip to the Serengeti in Tanzania and Zanzibar with his prize.

Brown's restaurant founder Mr Mogford, whose current Oxford collection is Quod, Old Bank Hotel, the Old Parsonage and Gee’s Restaurant, started the awards in 2013, sparked by his love of literature and food and drink.

As well as providing the cash prize, Mr Mogford paid travel expenses for the four finalists to attend the party and provided hospitality at the Old Bank Hotel.

He said this year, for the first time, a £10 entry fee had been charged but rather than putting people off the amount of entries rose from 613 entries last year to more than 1,000 this year. Prize money was also increased, from £7,500 to £10,000.

A long list of 16 was reduced to four by the judges – Mr Mogford and his wife Hilary, the food writer and TV personality Mary Berry and Oxford author Philip Pullman.

"Mary Betty is filming at Scone Palace – she sends her regrets, and Philip Pullman is in hospital – we wish him a speedy recovery," Mr Mogford told the guests.

The competition was open to any writer – published or unpublished – but had to be a new work with food and/or drink at its heart.

Entries came from all over the world, including from China, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, Macedonia, Croatia, Poland, South Africa, Argentina and Surinam, but apart from Ms Winder the finalists were all from London.

The stories and authors were Bait by Ms Winder; Supper For One by FT journalist Ian Shine; Dine With The Devil by corporate financial consultant John Reed, and The Gift by Claire Bullen an assistant editor and freelance writer, originally from New York but now living in London.

See for more about the Mogford Prize.

"All four were worthy of winning but unfortunately there could only be one," said Mr Mogford.