of Manning's Pit Saki Short
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. "
Sandie Byrne, author of The
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
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
For more about
Saki, go to our website
page on the subject.
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
£200 3rd £100
|May 2020 news
We are pleased to announce that
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
3000 words maximum
The entry fee is £5 for one story
(or £12 for three.)
How to enter
Closing date June 30th 2021
to print with information (pdf)
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.
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.