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Apprenticeships in Fiction


This year included strong contenders in the categories of noir fantasy, post-apocalyptic SF, young adult and children’s fiction.

QUICKSAND. Jennifer Burkinshaw

When playing dare risks tragedy

On a school trip to Morecambe Bay, sixteen-year-old Tess finds herself caught between a bored drama group and an attractive Polish boy who is picking cockles illegally. Despite Krys’s warnings about the fast moving tides and sinking sands, her schoolmates’ game of dare escalates dangerously - and Tess has to act quickly. 

Jennifer Burkinshaw is an English teacher and examiner. After four years in Paris, she relocated to a West Yorkshire village, where she has written two community plays. 


Celtic twilight with a contemporary Dublin twist

When his parents are killed in a car crash, thirteen-year-old Jack and his three younger siblings run away from home rather than be split up – only to stumble into a malevolent underworld where his sister and brothers are abducted. To rescue them, Jack must overcome a host of dark creatures and his own, darker fears. 

Originally from Omagh, Ireland, Eddie McCaffrey is now based in London where he runs his own internet TV company and is a senior lecturer in Film. 

THE BUNKER. Robert Pickles

Armageddon tears them apart but love is a force that stops at nothing

Daniel Katz emerges from the remains of his Sydney home with his daughter Pip and their dog to discover the world laid waste. Their only hope is a secret bunker on Reef Island, a thousand miles away, but the vast Australian landscape looms more hostile and terrifying than ever.

Robert Pickles is a former BBC cameraman and Daily Telegraph columnist. His work has been shortlisted for the London Fringe and the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook Award.

SOUL LIMBO. Simon Totten

A backpacker’s holiday spirals out of control

Jake Brady lies unconscious in a hut belonging to a Thai hilltribe, rapidly losing blood from a serious stab wound. As his strength fades, his soul leaves his body and becomes ensnared in a nightmare world of lost spirits and hungry ghosts. He struggles to return, but a secret from the past is holding him back.

Simon Totten is a London based magazine, internet and newspaper journalist. He grew up in Durham and has travelled extensively in South-East Asia.



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A one-year professional development programme
Apprentices 2007

Your comments and advice are extremely helpful and inspirational. I realise I still have a mountain range to climb, but I relish the challenge. So thank you for your diligence and incisiveness. I will crack on with the remainder and see where this journey leads.

Eddie McCaffrey