The High Fantasy Challenge has been met with an admirable variety of work in poetry and prose, in traditional mythological and modern convention-defying forms.

 The £100 first prize goes to R D Gardner for

  The Binding of the Sleepless Sands.

The poetry prize goes to Steve Mann for …and here he is, himself…

These pieces are published in the anthology The Sleepless Sands along with work by the following authors: 

Benjamin Sperduto

Caroline Clark

Charlotte Bond

Perry McDaid

Anne Murphy

Derek Adams

Sally Richards

Dee Gordon

Jenny Black

Catherine Edmunds

Sue Hoffmann

Carly Dugmore

Natasha Monroe

Felicity Bloomfield

Douglas Bruton

Helen Francis



      The Sleepless Sands - cover illustration by Katy Jones, inspired by 'The Binding of the Sleepless Sands' by R D Gardner      


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The Sleepless Sands  

Published by Earlyworks Press ISBN 978-9553429-3-6 

"Please, no more magic sword romps," they said. (in a quaint font). "Elves, dwarves and rustic spirits have had their day," they said. "High fantasy has scraped the barrel clean, there is no more."

"To win this competition, prove them wrong!" we said. (in the same font). "Send us a new fantasy story or poem that feels as magical as one of the old favourites, but isn't just a rehash.”  

This book celebrates the work of those who we feel answered the challenge with heroic success.  The overall winner was R D Gardner for “The Binding of the Sleepless Sands”, an original story which is a great read in itself, but also admirably fulfills Tolkien's ideal of 'applicability', and which provided the inspiration for the title and for Katy Jones' original painting which graces the front cover.

Also included are stories, poems and artwork from 23 other writers and artists, which present high fantasy in traditional, modern, comic and deadly forms.