Literary figures, publishers, and aspiring writers were among those in Bournemouth for the Fresher Writing Prize 2015 awards.
The awards were established by Bournemouth University-based publishing house Fresher Publishing to provide a platform for new creative writers.
Over 200 entries for the competition were received from across the world, and an anthology of the shortlisted entries was also launched at the awards ceremony.
Literary figures including author Ali Sparkes and Bournemouth’s Poet Laureate James Manlow announced the winners at a ceremony in the Shelley Lecture Theatre in Boscombe.
Categories included best short story, poem, creative non-fiction and script for the stage, as well as the Writing Wizardry Prize for the best short story by children nine years and under.
Publishing Consultant Ed Peppitt, who presented the award for Best Short Story, said: "I think it’s fantastic because, in many ways, I’m a publishing dinosaur. I’ve been in the industry for 25 years, but it’s a completely different process now and the opportunities are so wide and varied.
“Fresher Publishing is creative and innovative. It is just one example of a new, different way of getting voices heard.”
Fresher Publishing was established at Bournemouth University in 2014 to promote and encourage creative writing, and to give students the chance to develop professional publishing skills.
A team of around 70 students worked on the awards and Fresher Writing 2015 anthology - helping to promote the competition and event, edit and design the book, and run creative writing workshops in schools.
Editorial Director of Fresher Publishing Emma Scattergood, an Associate Senior Lecturer (Journalism) at BU, said: “We were overwhelmed by the number and standard of entries - there is so much talent out there.”
She added: “For me, what we have been doing with Fresher Publishing really encapsulates what I think we can and should be doing as a university and it’s really exciting.
“The students have genuinely done a great job, and have developed skills that will help them find jobs, alongside creating and supporting future innovation.”
Final year BA (Hons) English student Amanda Jane won the award for Most Promising Student Writer 2015 for her short story called English Studies.
She said: “I was very surprised, but it was really great to win – you don’t necessarily have much confidence in yourself and your writing, so it gives you a big boost in confidence.”
Amanda, who is also involved in Fresher Publishing and helped put together the anthology, added: “The whole process of editing it and designing the cover is really good experience before you go out into the world of professional life.
“You get to do a bit of everything and see which areas you enjoy the most.”