Vote for your favourite story in our short story competition

Welcome to Saga Exceptional’s inaugural short story competition

In honour of Charles Dickens’ birthday, we are launching our first Saga Exceptional short stories competition. We put the callout last week for your best short stories under 5,000 words and we were overwhelmed with the response.

We and a panel of expert judges spent hours reading through all the wonderful submissions and whittled it down to the following four.

Close up of the words 'Once upon a time' written on a sheet of white paper in a typewriter.Credit: Shutterstock / Cincila

We’ve added links to the full stories below, so you can peruse them at your leisure. Please do read them all and come back here to cast your vote.

Remember, the winning entry will win a £100 voucher and the wonderful title of being our first ever short story winner here on Saga Exceptional.

If you haven’t signed up for a newsletter you can do so at the bottom of the page, and of course if you have, please do recommend to a friend because we’ll be running more competitions like this in the future and would love you to be involved.

The winner is ‘Song in the Key of Skye’. Congratulations to Sally McEnallay!

Read the stories

Four fabulous stories for your enjoyment

Satis House

A ghost story writer is afraid to go down to the basement of his new house – after all, there’s no light down there and it offers a rather ominous feeling…

That all changes when he’s awoken in the early hours of Saturday morning by a large bang, and after descending the stairs he uncovers one of the answers to a great literary mystery – or so he thinks.

by Alan Roberts

Read the full story

Song in the Key of Skye

When Callum graduated from the Royal Academy of Music, he dreamed of returning to his childhood home on Skye and making his living as a composer. But now that the government has closed all the music schools to focus on digital-only music production he feels redundant.

George owns a music shop, but these days it’s illegal to sell musical instruments so he can’t make a living. Then one day Callum turns up at his door, looking for a piano.

by Sally McEnallay

Read the full story

One Man’s Meat

The tale of a corrupt butcher, manipulating and bribing his way through village life, and the long, arduous encounter of a certain rodent – will their paths cross and what kind of destruction could one wreak upon another?

by John Gallagher

Read the full story


We’ve all had holidays go wrong – but none so much, and with such alarming regularity, as Alison.

Her nightmare trip to the United States has just ended, but its memory lives long in her milk-less kitchen. If only she could have made the correct flight back…

by Richard Aitken

Read the full story
Gareth Beavis

Written by Gareth Beavis he/him


Gareth was previously Global Editor in Chief of TechRadar, one of the world’s largest and most prominent technology websites, and has appeared as a technology and fitness expert on the TV and radio for the BBC, ITV, Al Jazeera, Sky and many other outlets, as well as chairing panels on the world’s new and exciting tech. A veteran journalist with a career spanning three decades, Gareth has reviewed every iPhone (bar the very first) and Apple Watch launched, as well as reviewing hundreds of other smartphones and fitness gadgets.

  • twitter
  • linkedin
  • Email