Short story winning entries February 2023

Our February favourites

TWO talented Bahrainis have won the hearts of judges in the latest GDNlife short story contest by winning the monthly adult and U18 prize sections with their first ever entries.

The success of Waleed Sarwani, a self-employed IT consultant and systems engineer, and high school senior Maryam Najeeb, came as the competition concluded its third successful year on Bahrain’s own popular social media platform.

Highway Vigilante by 54-year-old Mr Sarwani was inspired by a personal motoring scare and thrilled judge Rohini Sunderam, from Bahrain Writers Circle.

“It had a gripping opening and had good tension throughout,” she said. “I also liked the way the author didn’t end with what the vigilante actually did, but left the reader to decide.”

Delighted Mr Sarwani, who lives in Juffair with his wife Eman Mirza, a former doctor and presently a housewife and health coach, and their three children Abdulla, 18, Yasmeen, 16, and eight-year-old Ammar, picks up a BD25 prize.

“I actually experienced a frightening incidence of tailgating whilst driving in a neighbouring country and it left me badly shaken up and angry at the recklessness of the driver and his total lack of regard for not only his own safety but mine too,” he explained.

“I like to journal every day so I wrote a few lines about the incident as a way to process it and get it off my chest and then I got the idea to turn it into a short story. Initially, it was going to be a humourous piece but it ended up taking a somewhat darker turn. There is inspiration all around us in everyday life – even harrowing traffic incidents!

“I’m absolutely elated because not only was this my first contribution to but also the first piece of fiction I’ve put out in public anywhere.

“While I’ve been writing for a while, I haven’t had the courage to publish anything for others to read so to get such a great response and to win with my first entry is a huge boost for my confidence.

“Many of my friends who read the story have been asking for a ‘sequel’ – they want to know what happens next!”

Mr Sarwani enjoyed the concept of the competition and hopes his success will inspire other new scribes. Highway Vigilante has already attracted around 2,000 views.

“As a writer, I really like the 800 word short story format that GDNLife requires,” he said. “That’s actually not a lot of words so it forces the writer to write carefully and efficiently, to grab the reader’s attention and then to keep it.

“There’s little room for wasteful or throwaway words or dialogue. I’ve had the ambition for quite some time to write a novel but I think the short story format is one I’d like to explore some more.”

Sitra Secondary Girls’ School pupil Maryam used her high flying imagination for a thrilling Bumpy Ride of her own and was equally delighted to win the U18 section and a prize pair of Cineco cinema tickets.

Instead of cars it was a scary aircraft experience that delighted judge Chris Fenton, head teacher of the British Primary Department at Al Noor International School, who said: “What a terrifying turn of events Maryam! Some varied sentences and dramatic dialogue made it an interesting read. Very well done!”

The successful 16-year-old described winning as ‘truly an honour’. Maryam lives in Sitra with her proud parents Najeeb Alsayegh and Hashmia Alsayed, and brother Mohammed, 20, and younger sisters Fatima, nine, and Zainab, six.

“I am filled with gratitude for the love and support I’ve gotten along the way,” she said.

“I have a passion for writing and have had plenty of encouragement from my teachers and school advisers. I really appreciate the help and direction I’ve received from everyone.”

A Bumpy Ride has already received more than 3,300 views.

To read Highway Vigilante by Mr Sarwani CLICK HERE 

To read A bumpy ride by Maryam CLICK HERE

  •  Our panel of judges are busy now deciding on who should walk away with the annual GDNLife Short Story of the Year prize plaques in both categories.

The winner of the GDNLife People’s Choice Award – the short story that has received the most views and likes – will also be announced.

Join the many keen writers of all ages who are being offered the chance to publish their work on Bahrain’s popular social media platform for a monthly and annual prize. As a result of the contest’s success there is now a special exclusive Short Story section on for visitors to enjoy.

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