The three winners of the 2023 Oxfordshire ebook short story competition 2023 have been announced.  

A humorous mystery, a thought-provoking science fiction tale and the story of a young girl’s journey following the death of her father were picked as the top entries this year.

The winner of the adult section was Caroline Kohl, who wrote The Writer’s Constitution.

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Set in the Hotel Beauregard, the book is described as "an evocative mystery, laced with humour to keep the reader guessing throughout".

Oxford Mail:

Mrs Kohl, from Oxford, said: “I’m really glad that the judging panel enjoyed my story.”

Izzy Borg, aged 16 from Abingdon, won the young adult category for the second year in a row.

She wrote The Book-Burner’s Daughter which tells the tale of Stori, who takes a stand against the rich and poor divide in her community when she is forced to work as a book burner to provide fuel for the needy.

Miss Borg said: “Finding out I was the first two-time winner of the competition was both a shock and an honour.

“I wrote The Book-Burner’s Daughter as a bit of fun in my spare time, never imagining that it would be chosen to be published, but I am so thrilled to get the opportunity to share it.

“I hope that through the story, I can spread my love for reading and help people to realise the importance of our libraries."

Oxford Mail:

The winner of the children’s category was 11 year-old Lucy Hemingway with The Contortionist.

The Contortionist is about a young girl, Kayla, who is forced to live with her aunt Ida when her father dies and mother goes missing.

However, an impromptu visit to the circus sets Kayla on a new and unexpected path.

Miss Hemingway from Charlbury, said: “'It means a lot to me to have won. I love writing stories, but I don't always manage to finish them.

“I'm so pleased I finished this one and that the judges enjoyed reading it.”

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Councillor Jenny Hannaby, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for community services and safety, said: “The judging panel enjoyed reading and discussing the entries from many talented writers.

Oxford Mail:

“The standard of this year’s stories was especially high. The winners should be extremely proud of their achievements”

The short story competition is now in its ninth year and it continues to be a platform for talented writers across Oxfordshire.

All of these stories are now available to borrow as an ebook or audiobook by visiting Oxfordshire Libraries Overdrive platform.

Through Oxfordshire County Council’s library service, you can access free books, audiobooks and more.