A Rainbow short story prize to beat the blues!

Leigh Russell is the author of the DI Geraldine Steel series, which has sold over a million copies worldwide.

Fortunately, technology is proving a life-saver with emails, Skype and Zoom keeping us connected. Newspapers can be downloaded, food delivered by supermarkets.

There’s even theatre and church service streaming along with virtual poetry meetings and poetry exchange schemes.                         

The Bedford Competition, a not-for-profit organisation is also doing its bit by promoting a special Rainbow Prize for the best short stories submitted by anyone 70 years and over, all proceeds going to Age UK.  

Writing a winning story is yet another great way to beat the isolation blues. Bestselling, internationally acclaimed author, Leigh Russell (pictured above), who is judging the Rainbow Prize, says: “In the current crisis we need stories more than ever, to offer us an escape from the loneliness we are all experiencing.

“So I am thrilled to be invited to judge the Rainbow Short Story Prize, and look forward to reading your entries.” 

This year there will be a number of local authors and poets helping judge our competitions.

Stephen Bywater is judging the Young Writers’ short story prize; Steve Kendall is judging the Bedford poetry prize; Cameron Stuart, poet-in-residence at the Eagle Bookshop is judging the Young Poets’ Prize and Neil Beardmore is judging the Bedford short story prize.

The Bedford Competition opens 1 May.  Entry fee for one short story is £6 or you can enter three for £12.

First prize is £500 with additional prizes for second and third places. In addition the winning stories will be published in BWC’s anthology.

Even if you don’t win, there’s the satisfaction of knowing you are contributing to a worthy cause.

The bigger the number of entries, the bigger the donation we can make.

At the other end of the spectrum, we’re offering prizes for the best short story or poem submitted by 17-25 year olds. 

Details of all competitions can be found by visiting  


The spirit of pulling together, as in the war days, has sprung to life again. We may be keeping our distance but we’re still reaching out. How long the crisis will last, no one knows. But, as HM, The Queen, movingly reminded us, We Will Meet Again. It will end, and there will be a return to normality, One Sunny Day.