To celebrate the success of our 2020 Short Story Competition, we're here presenting all the stories from entrants to this year's competition who've given permission for their publication on the Historic Houses website.

We were delighted to bring two external judges onboard; Tracy Borman, joint Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, and Sam Kitchener, author and literary critic who has written for media such as The Independent, Apollo Magazine, The Spectator and The Telegraph. The competition took a while to judge, given the exceptional quality of stories entered, but on Thursday 3rd September we were able to announce our winners. See them below, as well as stories from others who took part.

More about the competition

What makes Historic Houses so unique and special is the incredible, intimate and ongoing stories that can be found in Britain's lived-in heritage, with the owners of these houses acting as custodians of these beautiful places, rich in history and anecdote. This competition was designed to offer the opportunity for our members to share their own stories about the places they feel so passionate about, notably at a time when the nation was in lockdown and Historic Houses places were shut.

The first Historic Houses Short Story Competition ran from April to June 2020, and asked members and readers of our weeky e-newsletter to write a tale of up to 1200 words that involves a Historic Houses place. Beyond that, writers had no limitations on the style or genre of their story, leading to entries that covered everything from ghost stories, to fictional histories, to letters between former owners, and childhood memories of visits.

The competition was made in partnership with The Wine List, a startup that helps its customers discover and learn about wine, and who offered the award of a year's wine subscription to our winning author.

Josh Lachkovic, Founder of The Wine List, said:

"It's been fantastic to work alongside Historic Houses. We've loved the organisation for a long time, and seeing a competition that supports incredible creativity, passion, and originality has been brilliant. Those are all things we support through wine discovery at Wine List. A huge congratulations from all of us at Wine List Towers (not quite a historic house – yet!)"

Ben Cowell, Director General of Historic Houses, said:

“What makes Historic Houses stand out is the incredible, ongoing stories from our country’s lived-in heritage. This competition offered a chance for our members to tell their own stories about the places they love so much, and we were delighted to receive, in the first year of the competition, well over 100 exceptionally written and highly imaginative tales set at over 70 different historic houses. Congratulations to the winners, and to everyone who entered. We’re delighted to celebrate the exceptional creative talent in the Historic Houses members community.”

With the competition results now revealed, and well over 100 entries received, we've been delighted to announce the winner of the 2020 competition to be Suzanne Chinnock, from Dorset, for her beautifully written and moving tale, 'Called Home', set at Sherborne Castle in Dorset.

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who entered, and we are looking forward to unveiling more competitions like this in the years ahead.