The International Agatha Christie Festival is delighted to announce the winners of the Festival’s inaugural competition to uncover Devon’s newest writing talent among young people aged 8-18. All were challenged to write a short story of no more than 1,000 words which involved a mystery; entrants were judged on the originality, characterisation and clever plotting of their stories.

Sophie Hannah, best-selling author of crime fiction and authorised writer of the new Poirot mysteries, chaired a panel of judges which included representatives from the Festival and its partners, literature development agency Literature Works and Devon libraries’ managing organisation, Libraries Unlimited. Sophie’s final choice of winners in a highly competitive field is:

Category One: young people aged 8-13

Winner: Lily Perkins, aged 11, from Newton Abbott for her story ‘The Mist’

Highly Commended: Robyn Callard, aged 11, from Yelverton for her story ‘Stage Fright’

Category Two: young people aged 14-18

Winner: Grace Stephens, aged 16, from Exmouth for her story ‘The Last Laugh’

Highly Commended: Kitty Giles O’Connell, aged 15, from Totnes for her story ‘Red Rose’.

The winning and highly commended writers were invited to receive their prizes from Sophie Hannah and to read aloud their stories at a presentation at Torre Abbey at 2 pm on 14th September during this year’s International Agatha Christie Festival which ran 12th-15th September across venues in Torbay.

The winners each received an Apple iPad mini; winners and commended authors also receive a further gift of books.

Supported by Wollens and PKF Francis Clark.


Image, left to right: Grace Stephens (winner category 2), Robyn Callard (highly commended category 1),  Novelist Sophie Hannah (Judge),  Lily Perkins (winner Category one), Kitty Giles-O’Connell (highly commended category 2). Photographer: Emily Appleton.