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Winning Stories

The 10 Neil Gaiman Fable Competition finalists

Neil Gaiman

Credit: Kimberly Butler

It started with a few lines, penned exclusively for the Word Factory by Neil Gaiman. He wrote:

Long ago, in the days when there were still fish in the oceans and cars on the roads, there lived a woman who was not afraid of governments…

And after inviting writers to respond, it ends here with ten stories selected by author Toby Litt and Word Factory founder Cathy Galvin from over a hundred submitted to our Word Factory Fables competition.

Toby Litt said: “For me, thinking about how I’d have written a Gaiman-inspired fable, the most challenging words in his opening line were ‘not afraid’. What would that sort of fearlessness or self-confidence look like? The best of these fables – and the best are very good – come up with some delightful, moving and original answers to those questions.”

The winning stories…

Una Ivanovna And The Mayor

by Bethan James

The Seamstress

by Mab Jones

The Ghost’s Story

by Rod Griffiths

The Basket Weaver’s Tale

by Gilli Fryzer


by Gita Ralleigh

Mutually Assured Destruction

by David Macpherson


by Evgenia Citkowitz

Bight, Tomcat and the Moon

by Carmen Marcus

Big Blue Eyes

by Anna Nazarova-Evans


by Lela Tredwell