From a total of 300 entries by 255 authors, with a total word count of 717,230, judge Nicholas Royle has selected three winners. On Sun 28 April at 3pm we will hold an awards event where the three stories will be read aloud by actor, Karen Jackson.

Each year of the competition, an overarching theme seems to emerge. 2016 featured lots of stories about refugees and revenge, 2017 was all about twins and infidelity. 2018 was crime and lots of dead or dying children. This year, the emergent theme was ghosts and natural justice.

Read all three stories here: the winner is Whale Watching by Diana Powell, second place is Having the Time of My Life by Colin Brezicki and third place is The Librarian by Sam Derby.

Thanks so much to all of you who submitted stories, to the readers who whittled the shortlist to 12, to for sponsorship, and to Nicholas for judging.