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FIRST PRIZE: Job Seekers’ Club by Jo Withers
Jo lives in Adelaide, South Australia with her husband, four children and twenty-three pets. She works at her local kindergarten and finds that the children’s animated antics are a constant source of inspiration for her stories and poetry. Jo’s middle-grade, science-fiction adventure will be published in 2018.

‘I am amazed and delighted to have been chosen as the winner of the Caterpillar Story for Children Prize. Thank you so much for the opportunities you give to children’s writers through your wonderful, whimsical magazine. I was lucky enough to be highly commended in the 2016 Caterpillar Poetry Prize with my poem “Exhibit 39”. I was immensely proud to see my work in the magazine and the recognition gave me the confidence to keep writing. The Caterpillar is aptly named, as it magically transforms the written word into a thing of beauty.’

You can read the winning story in the Irish Times.

Judges’ comment
‘This darkly comic take on the plight of evil fairytale characters in their search for gainful employment is just what’s needed in these dreary days. Children and adults alike will delight in the antics of the Evil Queen and Rumpelstiltskin as they practice interview techniques – and the twist at the end is delicious.’

SECOND PRIZE: No Ordinary Stamp by Jessamy Corob Cook
Jessamy is an actress and lover of stories who lives in London. She has written short stories for both children and adults, and is currently working on her first full-length story for middle-grade readers.

Judges’ comment
‘A heart-wrenching story set during the Second World War that carefully draws the young reader into a world where a young girl has to be brave and set out alone, leaving her family behind her, but she brings with her a sense of hope and wonder at the world, inspired by her ailing grandfather.’   

THIRD PRIZE: Spell Cat for Appearing by Richard J. Jones
Richard spends a lot of time talking about writing with his dog Daisy – and, now and again, actually settles down to do some. He is a lecturer in English Literature at The Open University and won The Caterpillar Story for Children Prize in 2015.

Judges’ comment
‘A surreal, sensational delight that will transport its readers into an alternative world where they become part of the narration and the words come alive.’

All three stories appear in the winter issue of The Caterpillar, available to purchase here.

The judges also commended the following stories:

King Robert’s Reflection by R. G. Allen
Rob is a writer and comedian. He lives in the south of Sweden with his wife and young son.
Alien Lemur Mistake by Claire Dopson
Claire lives in London, works in marketing and writes children’s fiction. She loves a good adventure both on and off the page and is a keen traveller and hiker.

What Mummies Are Made Of by Stephanie Hutton
Stephanie is a short fiction writer and clinical psychologist in Staffordshire in the UK, who came to writing later in life. In 2017 she was nominated for ‘Best of the Net’ and shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize.
Why Are You Doodling, Moira M? by Sophie Kirtley
Sophie is originally from the Causeway Coast and now lives far too far from the sea in rural Wiltshire. A graduate of the MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University, she has recently completed her first children’s novel, Hartboy, which was shortlisted for the 2017 Joan Aiken Future Classics Prize. Sophie is fond of worms, bees and cats but is not a fan of slugs.
The Invisible Book by Mike Lucas
Mike is the author of picture books and poetry anthologies for children. He owns a bookshop in Adelaide, Australia and is also a full-time engineer. He has very little spare time.
The Not-Quite-Right Kite by Heather Reid
Heather lives in Perth, Scotland where she writes stories and poems for adults and children.
Finnegan the Astrodog by Michael Stevens
Michael is a songwriter and father of four who lives in Dublin. He co-founded Popical Island, Ireland’s most beloved music collective and DIY record label. He recently started writing fiction for children and finds it to be just as much fun as songwriting, with the added benefit that it doesn’t involve carrying huge amplifiers and trying to hear oneself over the drummer.

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