A SWANSEA woman has won the Leominster Festival 2001 National Short-Writing Competition at only her second attempt.

Lancashire-born Faith Barnes (44) who works in the Land Registry for Wales, was presented with a cheque for £200, by the Leominster-based author Gillian Linscott, at a prize giving at the Community Centre on June 9.

Seventy-eight entries from writers across the UK were received and judged by author and creative writing tutor, George Andrew, from Camberley in Surrey. He described the winning story, 'Childhood's End' as 'a most impressive and well-constructed piece of story-telling. Imaginative, dramatic and moving, it augured well for the future prospects of the writer'.

This is the second short story writing competition organised by the Leominster Festival Committee, and sponsored jointly by local writers Gillian Linscott and Tony Geraghty. Commenting on the competition, George Andrew said: "This proved to be a rewarding competition to judge with a high standard from virtually all the writers. I felt that I was starting with a short-list of 78, the total number of entries, and it was hard to split the final list of six. Nevertheless, it was a thoroughly enjoyable competition."

A delighted Faith Barnes, who was accompanied by her husband Simon, said: "I used to love writing stories when I was at school but the older I got the further it slipped down the agenda. In 1999 I took a word processing course at the local college, which included a creative writing package. My tutor encouraged me to enter competitions, and last year was the very first time. It didn't get anywhere and the fact that I have won this one means I must have improved. So it's really good news.

The joint local winners 'Love from Sharon, by Mary Lawrence from Winslow, nr Bromyard and 'University Blues' by Henrietta Valley from Eaton, nr Leominster, could not be separated and a joint prize of £50 each was awarded.

The shortlist of six included 5 women, John Ravenscroft from Boston, Lincs was runner up with his moving story 'Watching Through Glass'.