Transition Tales Story Writing Competition 2010

Summary - Judging - Sponsors and Prizes - Shortlisted stories - Resources - Posters - Comments - Contact us

Congratulations to the winners!

.. and a huge thank you to everyone who entered! As a judge I must say I have been most impressed and greatly entertained. Sadly we can only have one winner in each category.

You can read all the winners stories and the shortlist entries too here

Here are the authors of the short-listed stories, including the winners Milly Gilbert (3rd from left), Laura Elworthy (4th from right) and Catriona Silvery (5th from right).

Here we we have the judges: from the left, Rowan Wylie, Nicola Terry (co-organizer and judge), Colin Greenland, Jill Dawson and Anna McIvor (co-organizer). Jill and Colin are published authors who very kindly agreed to help judge the competition entries with us and at the award ceremony Colin explained why we liked the winning stories best.

Photos by Tony Clarke.

If you have any comments, or suggestions to do with the story competition or the stories we would love to hear from you. We are wondering about running another competition next year, but not for stories, perhaps for pictures or other artwork? What do you suggest? Please tell us your thoughts.

The competition

It’s 2050, and Cambridge has changed! The climate is warmer, and oil and petrol have got very expensive. Without oil, people have had to rethink everything, like how they get their food, the clothes they wear, the transport they use, what their houses look like, how they keep warm in winter, where they go on holiday, what they do for fun, and many other things.

But life goes on, and Cambridge is still a buzzing city, famous for its beautiful historic buildings and its innovative thinkers.

What would you like to do or be in this future world?

We invite you to write a short story set in Cambridge in 2050, using this description as a starting point. It can be any kind of story: a “Day in your Life”, a history of events since 2009, an adventure, perhaps a disaster narrowly averted... Let your imagination run wild!

The competition is open to all ages and there are more than £750 worth of prizes to be won, thank to our sponsors. The judging panel includes local prize winning authors Jill Dawson and Colin Greenland, and Transition Cambridge members Rowan Wylie and Nicola Terry. The closing date for entries is 30th April 2010, and you can enter if you live, work or study within 20 miles of Cambridge.

The brief

Your story should be at most 2500 words in length (1500 words for those under 14 years old). It should be set in Cambridge in 2050, and should either describe or refer to ways in which Cambridge has changed after the transition to a low carbon world where oil is scarce. It should be based on the premise that people have found ways to live well using fewer fossil fuels (particularly less oil), and that they have successfully adapted to the changing climate.

Entry requirements

This competition is open to everyone who lives, works or studies in Cambridge, or within 20 miles of Cambridge.

Stories will be judged in three age groups:

  • under 14 (maximum word count 1500)
  • 14 to 17 (maximum word count 2500)
  • 18 and over (maximum word count 2500)

(age on 30 April, the closing date for the competition)

The judges will be looking for:

  • captivating, fun, enjoyable, well written stories
  • innovative, imaginative, thought provoking ideas

Illustrated stories are also welcome (there may be some special prizes for the best illustrated stories); for example, stories could be told as a comic strip instead of words.

Ideas to get you started

Do come to one of our Workshops for a lively brainstorming session!

Imagine you are a child

  • How would you go to school ?
  • What games would you play with your friends? Would they be different from what you do now? How?
    • Imagine if you were only allowed to use your computer for 1 hour each day - what would do with it?
  • What would you give your parents or your friends for their birthday?

Imagine you are an adult

  • What would you like to do as a job? Would this job be different in the future from now?
  • How would you get to work, or to do the shopping?
  • What would you buy (or grow) to eat? What would you eat in winter? Which foods would you buy from other countries, even if it meant using up your carbon ration?
  • How will food be packaged, if plastic is expensive?
  • How will you get by with less energy for heating and cooking?
  • What will you grow in your garden? (How will you keep the lawn in trim?)
  • What would you do for leisure?
  • What would you give as a present for your wife/husband/child?
  • What would you like to do for your holiday?

Imagine a new landscape

  • If almost all food was grown locally and organically, and we needed more space for that, what land would be given over to food production? Would you keep the sports field? Would you keep the golf course? Would you keep the botanic garden? Would you keep your garden? Could we use your roof?
  • Where would you put the schools and the hospitals and the offices and shops, so that you didn't need the car so much?
  • What will cars be like?
  • Where will we get our energy from? Where will the wind farms be, the solar cells?
  • Will energy efficient houses look different from now? How?

With thanks...

We'd like to thank our sponsors: AC Architects Cambridge Ltd, Heffers, Cambridge Sustainable City, Cambridge Building Society, Lush and John Lewis and all the other people who have offered advice or comments on this competition, and who have provided support or helped in any ways. Thank you!

A futuristic looking farm house

Futuristic farm house by Tjep, Oogst project

...The messages of sustainability are complex and difficult to convey simply; the use of short story telling is an elegant way of making some important points in an accessible way... Professor Peter Guthrie

Wouldn't it be great if we all had little electric bikes instead of cars except when we needed something bigger

Wouldn't it be great if all the trees on Jesus Green had fruit and nuts and we could pick them for free

Wouldn't it be nice if all the walls and roofs of the buildings were solar cells

Wouldn't it be great if I could climb the Great Pyramid and ride a camel in the Sahara desert at my birthday party (in interactive computer simulation because flying there will be far too expensive)

Judges, organisers and their families may not enter the competition