PRESS RELEASE 14th September, 2019 PRESS RELEASE 14th September 2019 PRESS RELEASE


 Willowdown Books present 



a collection of short stories

featuring the winners of

The Cunningham Short Story Competition, 2019

Piet Pedersson, Gregg Voss, Lynne Zotalis, R.D. Girvan, Kevin Michael Patrick, Mike Friers, Teri Bran, and, Dean Gessie.


The Cunningham Short Story Competition, created in memory of the late Robert Hamilton Cunningham, is now in its third year, and continues its theme of “seeing the world anew”.


·      In Thumbs Up by Teri Bran, a shy man loves the girl next door from afar, until an accident brings the together   

·      In The Race, by Mike Friers, Frank races to love, both on the racing circuit, and the heart

·      In Misanthropes, by Dean Gessie, Sally and Jon spar over the environment, baby eels, leading to love – kind of

·      In White Flags, R.D Girvan creates a dystopian future where life is the choice between euthanasia and slavery

·      Gregg Voss also looks to the future; in Your Table is Ready seasoned Maitr’D Mel may find himself made redundant by an up and coming rival – a robot called RAB.    

·      Can you ask someone to marry you on a first date?  Magical realism tours London in Kevin Michael Patrick’s Elan

·      Piet Pedersson takes us back to the 1920’s in Starlight, where night dwelling, stargazer, George, is sent to Lapland with his Aunt Mabel, but that is not the adventure they have.

·       Both literally and metaphorically life is Serious as a Heart Attack in Lynne Zotalis’ honest diary of coping with age, and continuing to live on. 


These eight stories are published along with George, a memoir inspired by both a cat, and the paternal grandfather of the editor of the anthology,

Trevor Maynard.   


1.  Press contact Trevor Maynard at 

2. The winning authors are:

·       Dean Gessie (Canada), has won prizes for his work in India, New York, and Texas, and has published three novellas.

·       Piet Pedersson (UK), lives in Surrey with his four children, enjoys running and motor racing. 

·       R.D. Girvan (US) published in America, lives in rural Alberta with her husband and three sons. 

·       Mike Friers (UK), self-described petrolhead from Essex, currently working on a novel based on his childhood.   

·       Lynne Zotalis (US), poet and writer, member of Peace and Social Justice Writers Group, published a book, a children’s book, and many poems across many journals. 

·       Teri Bran (Aus), British-born Australian, this is her second short story to be published, her first was when she was 7yrs old.

·       Kevin Michael Patrick (US/Spain) an American born writer living in Spain whose flights of fancy have taken him to New York, Sydney, and London.      

·       Gregg Voss (US), works as a communications writer by day, and high school sportswriter by night, a prolific writer, widely published in the US.

3.  Trevor Maynard set up the Cunningham Short Story Competition in honour of his maternal grandfather Robert Hamilton Cunningham (1911 – 2006), who was a bit of a raconteur, and a decent ballroom dancer.  The brief for the competition was to tell a story of the world from eyes anew

4. The first prize in the 2017 anthology “Life Dances” went to Sandy Norris with NO GOING BACK

The first prize in the 2018 anthology “Our World, Your Place” went to Rebecca Evans with VEILED

5. An addition story, not in competition, “George” is also included by Trevor Maynard in honour of his paternal grandfather, George William Maynard (1916-2001), who could also spin a tale or two. 

6. Trevor Maynard is a UK based poet, writer and editor.  As well as the Cunningham Short Story Competition he is the editor of the international poetry anthology series THE POETIC BOND, now in its ninth year.  His latest poetry collection is GREY SUN, DARK MOON.   Trevor is also the author of several plays, now published, as well as working as a director and producer.  Further information at

7. The Poetic Bond – the ethos behind choosing poetry for the modern audience

The process of selecting poems for publishing The Poetic Bond series is unlike any other in that there is no set plan as to what will be published. It depends on the themes which emerge from the pool of work submitted, or to put it another way, the poetic energy which comes together at this certain time and place.  Where themes emerge, patterns of energy harmonize, form bonds, connections, and these in turn lead to interconnected chapters, and the creation of a holistic volume, deeply connected with humanity, nature, and the universe.