December: Theme - A Day Off

Winning Entry:

The world sleeps on their Christmas day off. Not me. I stay awake. I try to keep warm, I try to stay alive. You don't get days off when you're homeless.

By Ryan Colley   


December's writing competition, themed "A Day Off", was won with this entry by 25 year old Ryan Colley from  Winner Ryan ColleyBristol. Ryan enjoys writing and reading stories that end in a twist, and finds is the perfect outlet for that. He also admits to liking stories that indulge in the darker side of humanity. He explains that this is why the Day Off theme jumped out at him; something that seems like a fun thing initially, twisted into something unexpectedly dark. Ryan is working towards publishing a novel; the first three chapters of which can be found at the website he has produced for it at

Competition entries for December were nothing if not varied. When considering competition themes, we always try to make sure that they are not overly prescriptive and that there is opportunity for a range of interpretation. Ryan Colley's winning story does this by turning the tables on how we might usually think of a day off. The story opens by clearly setting the scene. It quickly moves on to explain that our narrator isn't afforded the luxury of a lie in bed on Christmas day. But it's not because he has to work, in the normal sense of the word, whilst the world sleeps. For him keeping warm and staying alive are his everyday tasks; his job effectively. It's not really a twist or a surprise to learn that the narrator is homeless. We do see it coming to a certain degree. The twist is the whole story. The fact that a homeless person never has a day off from simply surviving, even on Christmas day.


Other shortlisted entries:

He deserved a day off, he'd been working hard all week, every day creating something new. Job done. And it was Sunday, after all..

By Val Fish   

There's my headmaster. What's he doing in the pub just now? Like me he should be at school. With my attendance record if he catches me I'll be sacked.

By Neil Renton  

A day off? I wish! I hate working with a cold but I've given up calling in sick. Heartless, my boss is. 'Red nose again, Rudolph?' he says. 'Perfect.'

By Jennifer Moore   




Operated by O-Corp
39 Heathville Road