HUDDERSFIELD man Mike Reilly has won the Examiner's Short Story Competition.
The 57-year-old Bradley father-of-four triumphed over scores of top-quality entries to gain first place.
His story, Mates, is about a group of boys at a children's home and the friendships they forge in the face of hard times.
Mike, an IT consultant and manager who lives on Bradley Road, wins £250.
And he will read his work to up to 100 invited guests at a special reception next Saturday.
The second and third place writers will also read at the event at Huddersfield University, which ties in with the town's first Literature Festival.
In second place was Marsden man Mark Kelly, whose story is about an ageing cyclist who overcomes preconceptions to make friends with a young couple.
Mark, 41, a web marketing project director, is married with three children aged 12 to 17.
He is now working on a novel for older children.
In third place came Edward C Doddy, 37, of Netherton, who owns the Uppercrust sandwich takeaway in Huddersfield.
The father-of-three wrote an eerie story about a woman who poisons two husbands.
The other seven finalists, whose stories were scrutinised by our panel, who had the tough job of picking winners, were Bernhard Heck, from Golcar, Doreen Hudson, of Paddock, Anna Carr, from Dalton, Gerry Dolan, of Meltham, Stephen Allinson, of Almondbury, John Emms, from Emley and Gale Barker of Fixby.
All win passes to all events at the four-day literature festival, which starts on Thursday.
The Examiner's head of content, Jenny Parkin, who judged the entries along with the university's creative writing co-ordinator, David Gill, and his team, said: "It was the first time we'd run a competition like this and we didn't know what to expect.
"But we were stunned by the standards of writing and the breadth of our readers' imaginations.
"It was particularly tough to pick between styles and genres, as we left themes for stories totally open to the entrants."