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Reflections from the 2015 Ada Cambridge Biographical Prose winner – Adam Deverell

After a long period in the literary desert, I decided to start writing again exactly a year ago – for the Adas in 2014. It was a poem that was short-listed. Encouraged, I began to write short stories (first in twenty years!) with some success. For this year’s Adas I wrote a story about my grandfather, who I only met a handful of times. I based these on letters home from the war my mother kept and various stories told about him through the years. He had a fairly eventful life.

There’s so many good things about a well run, well organised writing competition. The Adas are on the best – a published anthology, an awards ceremony, certificates and being part of a literary festival. I was really happy to be part of the scene. To win was unexpected, but thrilling. It made getting back into fiction writing so worthwhile. I quite liked the attention too. And the generous prize money! I was ever so slightly shaking when I started to read the piece aloud at the ceremony.

Short story competitions are a great way to push a writer forward. You’ve got the deadline, you’ve got a theme and a word limit. It’s something to really work towards.

Adam Deverell