“…human life, seen through human eyes, sometimes fortunate, sometimes unfortunate, neither perfect nor imperfect; it simply was, and is…” RH Cunningham, 1911 – 2006

Publication Date 2nd August, 2017

Life Dances

ISBN-13: 978-1548631246 /ISBN-10: 1548631248

To honour the life of his grandfather RH Cunningham, Trevor Maynard set up a short story competition. Willowdown Books is proud to announce the six winning stories will now all appear in the anthology.

Life Dances

The competition was won by Sandy Norris with her story No Going Back; and the five runners-up are Baking by Maria Borland, When Food Kills by Linda DuPret, Too Much by Israela Margalit, The Death of Rock ‘n’ Roll by Michael McLaughlin, and True North by Lynne Zolatis

Life Dances

But Life Dances was not only a competition, it is a labour of love, with The Dance, a short story adapted from journals of RH Cunningham by his grandson, Trevor Maynard, also included, as well as Flash Fiction by Neetu Malik, GK Grieve and Sophia Keech.

Trevor Maynard, on writing The Dance

“In his seventies, my grandfather began writing a series of handwritten journals. This was not a deliberate attempt at a coherent memoir, rather a process of wanting to put down his thoughts and to revisit his life, both to reflect, and to pass on.  For me, this was a fascinating insight, not only into a man I knew all my life, but also a personal perspective on real life, before and after World War II”

Editors' Notes

1.  Press contact - Trevor Maynard at on 0 44 7966 079968 or by snail mail at Willowdown Books, 105 Crockford Park Road, Addlestone, Surrey, UK, KT15 2LP

2. Trevor Maynard set up the RH Memorial Short Story Competition in memory of his grandfather, who was born in 1911, who lived a varied, and fascinating life, full of world travel, joyful and tragic experience, and always, up until he was ninety-four, ballroom dance.  The brief for the competition was to create a short story which looked at the world anew, and conveyed life experiences in an interesting way, whether it be pastural, global, or pure imagination.  The stories chosen, in the opinion of the editors, have a distinctive voice, the authors’ own eyes on the world if you will.  

3. All six stories selected for publication were put forward for first prize of $100. The winning entry was chosen by the editorial team of Willowdown Books, with the generous input of CE Maynard (neé Cunningham), daughter of RH.  Further details available at


4. Sandy Norris, winner of the RH Cunningham Memorial Short Story Competition, 2017, for her story No Going Back. is a retired English teacher turned writer. In 2005 her children's novel: Run Away to Danger was published by the National Maritime Museum.


5. Israela Margalit (Too Much) is an award-winning writer, playwright, and concert pianist. Amongsther credits are Gold Medal New York Film & TV Festival, Two NEA Media Awards, an Emmy Nomination, finalist the Long Island Film Festival, and finalist the Glimmer Train Press Short Fiction Competition.


6. Belinda DuPret (When Food Kills) comes from a vaguely showbiz family and describes herself as a secondary-modern dropout, who’s somehow earned a living by writing.  She’s been a DJ; music promoter; freelance journalist; food writer and a TV Reporter.  Her life has taken her all over the world.


7. Lynne Zotalis (True North) is an author and poet practicing peace journalism through the Loft Literary Society in Minneapolis, MN being a member in their Peace and Social Justice Writer’s Group. Her environmental activism is pursued through organizations dedicated to managing and prohibiting silica sand mining as well as protecting our water resources thereby ensuring a verdant planet for generations.


8. Michael McLaughlin (The Death of Rock ‘n’ Rock) was the founder, producer, and actor with an improvisational comedy troupe in Sacramento, California for 20 years. He has appeared in films, television, and radio.  In 2005 he escaped to Ajijic, Mexico to write and live.


9.  Maria Borland (Baking) studied English Literature at Sheffield and Playwriting at Goldsmiths before completing a PGCE and working full time as a teacher. Since then, she has taught in a variety of places, from Derby and Cambridge in the UK to South Korea and Budapest. She currently lives and works in Bogota, Colombia, where she teaches literature at an international school.


10. Trevor Maynard, editor of Life Dances, and author of The Dance, a short story based on the handwritten journals of RH Cunningham.  Trevor is a UK based poet, writer and editor.  He set up this Memorial Short Story Competition in honour of his grandfather.  This is the inaugural year.  Trevor is owner/manager of Poetry, Review and Discuss Group, a major poetry group on LinkedIn, with over 16,700 members.  His latest poetry collection is GREY SUN, DARK MOON.  He is also the author of several plays. Further information at