Hector Hugh Munro
Hector, Reginald or Clovis?

The Friends of Manning's Pit  Saki Short Story Competition

Entries for the Competition closed on June 30th. Those writers whose stories are in the short list have all now been notified.

We were thrilled with the large number of entries, including many from all around the world.  The standard of stories entered was very high and we appreciated every entry, so we want to say thank you very much to all of you who submitted stories.

It has been a special pleasure hearing from many of you how and why you first discovered Saki, and it feels almost as if - at some time in the future - it could even be material for a little book... who knows?

Who was Saki, why was he special and what has this to do with Manning's Pit?


Saki is the pen name of Hector Hugh Munro. a short story writer who could be said to bridge the gap between Oscar Wilde and Roald Dahl.  He was born in 1870 and died in 1916 at the Battle of the Somme. His stories were mainly written while he lived in London, but much of his inspiration came from his childhood in the North Devon village of Pilton.

Why Saki Matters

"Saki is the acknowledged master of the short story. His writing is elegant, economical, and witty, its tone worldly, flippant irreverence delivered in astringent exchanges and epigrams more neat, pointed, and poised even than Wilde's. The deadpan narrative voice allows for the unsentimental recitation of horrors and the comically grotesque, and the generation of guilty laughter at some very un-pc statements. " 
Dr Sandie Byrne, author of The Unbearable Saki

Manning's Pit

 The Manning's Pit fields can be seen from the upstairs window of Saki's childhood home. The intervening field has become a housing estate, and Manning's Pit is the last part left of the countryside that he loved.  From his boyhood searching for birds nests in the local hedgerows to his poignant last essay about the Birds of the Western Front, it was a love for nature and wild things that defined Saki.

More Information

Following on from the Inaugural Manning's Pit Poetry Competition,
this Short Story competition is the next literary venture for the Friends of Manning's Pit.

Watch ProfessorTim Connell's very interesting 2006 lecture about Saki at Gresham College.

 For more about Saki, go to our website page on the subject.

        The Competition

Write a short story of no more than 3000 words

It doesn't have to be in the style of Saki, or about Manning's Pit, but it needs to have a spark of originality or wit, and something relevant to the countryside and its wildlife.

The Competition Judges are

James Lovelock

Sir Richard Eyre

Peter Christie

1st  £500  

 2nd  £200     3rd  £100

May 2020 news
 We are pleased to announce that the Broomhill Estate, owners of Broomhill Hotel and Sculpture Gardens, are donating  two local prizes, one for the best story from someone in North Devon, and one for the best story from someone in Pilton or Bradiford, the adjoining villages that were Saki's childhood home


Story length: 3000 words maximum

The entry fee is £5 for one story (or £12 for three.)

How to enter

Closing date June 30th 2021


Leaflet to print with information (pdf)

"The great polecat-ferret made its way down to a small brook at the foot of the garden, drank for a moment, then crossed a little plank bridge and was lost to sight in the bushes. Such was the passing of Shredni Vashtar."

From the story Shredni Vashtar, by H. H. Munro

Bradiford Water is the small river that goes through Manning's Pit, crossed with little plank bridges in Hector Munro's childhood. Benjamin Manning, after whom the fields are named, would have been known by the Munro family, from the local church, his butchers' shops, his political activities and his numerous quarrels commented on in the local newspapers.

Please note: Copyright of the stories remains with their authors. Stories must be entirely your own work. We reserve the right to publish the stories on our website or in any publicity to raise awareness of Saki's legacy and to preserve Manning’s Pit.