Herald short story winner: Writing is a lifeline after a year of tragedy
WRITING fiction has been a "lifeline" for Sanna Tyrvainen in a year touched by tragedy.
The 31-year-old wrote the short story The Spirit of Christmas following the death of her mother and grandmother.
And when it was chosen as the best festive short story submission from readers of The Herald she said: "It's made my whole year.
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"It was something that needed to come out," she added.
"Since my mum passed away this year writing has become a lifeline, something I felt I had to do. I also lost my grandmother before last Christmas."
Sanna has been attending a Creative Writing Beginners course this autumn, organised by Plymouth Adult and Community Learning Service and City College Plymouth.
Her tutor was Plymouth author Andrew Lavender – who had his short story published by The Herald last Christmas.
"This was the first story I wrote," said Sanna, whose wonderful Yuletide tale was chosen from an impressive list of stories by Plymouth author Gavin Smith, who lectures in creative writing at the Open University and penned the novel DogFellow's Ghost.
"It's a touching story which captures the true spirit of a family Christmas," he said.
Sanna came to Plymouth from her native Finland 10 years ago to work at the Barbican Theatre.
And the international flavour continued with Gavin praising runner-up Reynold Junker, from California, whose The Gift...A Christmas Conversation he described as: "A very polished tale of Christmas as a time for new beginnings."
In third place, and also highly commended, was David Salvage's remarkable Maurice was an imaginative saga about a talking piece of hospital sluice equipment.
Gavin said the Crownhill writer's effort was: "An unusual and eye-opening story where the real meaning of Christmas turns up in an unusual place."
To read the runner up stories log on to www.thisisplymouth.co.uk/shortstories
Are you itching to see your fiction in print? The Herald is now looking for a short love story to publish around Valentine's Day.
We'll print the best one sent in, on a romantic theme, in the run-up to February 14. It can be about anything but must have a theme based around love. Remember The Herald is a family paper.
The story must be a maximum of 2,000 words and reach us no later than 9am on February 5.
Send your story in a Microsoft Word document, attached to an email – including your name, age, address, contact number and short biographical details – titled Valentine's Short Story to William Telford at email@example.com