After an exciting time reading, deliberating, debating and voting, the results are in, and we’re delighted to announce the winners of the 2022 LoveReading Very Short Story Award.

This year we received a record number of entries, which gave us a whole lot of tasty food for thought. As in previous years, the judging process had two strands. Firstly, our team of industry expert judges met to shortlist ten stories and select their overall winner for the Judges’ Award. Secondly, the ten shortlisted stories were put to a vote for the People’s Choice Award. Drum roll, please… and the winners are:

Judges’ Winner — Love in the Time of Corona by Rachel Rees

People’s Choice Winner — Johnny Seven by Chris Cottom

Read an interview with both winners here, and read the People’s Choice Winner, Johnny Seven, here. This story also made a strong impression on our judges:

“’Johnny Seven’ is a smartly provocative, hard-hitting and memorable little tale. It’s simple but pulls no punches as it journeys through a life, and the small but significant marks that can have such a huge impact. It left me hanging over a precipice, and a part of me is still there thinking about the consequences even now. Loved it!”, Liz Robinson, LoveReading Editorial Expert.

“Presenting an engaging, succinct psychological portrait of a disturbed life, from childhood to adulthood, ’Johnny Seven’ has a tremendous sense of urgency that keeps you reading, and rich details painting a vivid picture of time, place and character as the story moves through the protagonist’s life — and through to the final twist”Joanne Owen, writer and LoveReading Editorial Expert

Read the winner of the Judge’s Award, Love in the Time of Corona, here and read on to discover why our panel of judges selected it as their 2022 winner.

Femi Kayode, writer, and an esteemed LoveReading Debut Author of the Month

“Apart from having a distinct tone or voice that seemed to echo a generation, ‘Love in the Time of Corona’ is reassuringly thematically timeless. It is a tale that speaks to the current cultural Zeitgeist, while exploring the insecurities and challenges of finding connection in a world that seems increasingly designed to disconnect us from all that makes us human. It is witty, well crafted, character driven and most of all, authentically written. A tale told with a light and delicate touch.”

Matt Bates, book industry expert, and Editor-at-Large for Muswell Hill Press

“A tight and deft control of time is what makes ‘Love in the Time of Corona’ the winning story for me. The internal monologue of the narrator is one of both touching anxiety and wry humour, all of which drive the story forward and contribute to a sense of shared anticipation for both protagonist and reader alike. Furthermore, it is the familiarity of the scene on the page – lived or imagined – that so cleverly connects the story to the reader in an intimate, honest, and empathetic way”.

Maxim Jakubowski, esteemed writer, reviewer and publishing aficionado

“Pithy, contemporary and full of everyday humanity, Love in the Time of Corona is a delightful slice of life that will elicit so many feelings of 'Me Too'”.

Liz Robinson, LoveReading Editorial Expert

“An amusing bittersweet story with bite! It’s a snapshot of our present day with Covid and the climate crisis making an appearance, yet the scenario of relationship hopes being dashed also ensures it's timeless. The story builds your expectations for a dating disaster, and then the twist drives the corkscrew of woe in even further. It’s a clever little tale, it made me smile while also piercing my heart with sorrow for this very particular moment of romantic heartache”.

Joanne Owen, writer and LoveReading Editorial Expert

“A characterful story that perfectly balances comedy with poignancy to create a tender tale for our times”.

Huge congratulations to Rachel and Chris, and thanks to everyone who entered the 2022 LoveReading Very Short Story Award. You can read all ten shortlisted stories here.

Stay tuned for information about the 2023 competition. Interested in entering? Read our tips for writing short stories to get you started.