Congratulations to our 2011 winner
Derek Keen

Derek Keen took home the Pint Pot of Fire for the Fellowship of the Pen, a writers' circle that meets in Farnham Museum. The Fellowship of the Pen is the first club ever to retain the title and, indeed, the first club in the competition's seven year history to win the prize twice.

Derek's story, Food for Thought, was a wry and witty tale of a wife attempting to tell her husband about her affair and the husand being more interested in his supper. After a while we started to learn why he was so reluctant to take her seriously.

Derek came second with the judges but his overwhelming popularity with the audience pushed him into top spot overall.

Second prize went to Linda Hutton of Alton U3A Creative Writing

Linda Hutton receives her runner's-up award from professional storyteller Terrie Howey

The audience loved Linda's wickedly amusing tale, told entirely in the voice of a gossipy 1961 postmistress, inadvertently spreading malicious rumours throughout the village.

The Postmistress was not as popular with the judges as the audience and Linda's overall position was third in the voting but she slipped into second place thanks to her expert timekeeping, finishing her story just four seconds out from the target of ten minutes.

This was Alton U3A's first visit to the Pint Pot of Fire and Linda said "it's the first time I've done anything like this. I didn't think I had a chance especially when I saw how good the competition was." She thanked Bob Nisbet, the public speaking judge, for his advice to "remember to enjoy it". Linda was representing the creative writing class held in Alton Community Centre as part of the University of the Third Age.

Third prize winner was Belinda McKenna whose playful story Imagination, brilliantly capturing the adventurous spirit of 13 year olds, was presented on behalf of Waxing Lyrical, Farnham. According to the judges, Belinda was the event winner. According to the audience, she came second, and that would have been her overall position but for a timing glitch that cost her a 2.5% penalty, enough to push her down a slot, so closely fought was the competition.

Waxing Lyrical is a monthly workshop held in Farnham Maltings to teach and practice the skills of the oral tradition of storytelling. It is part of the Surrey Storytellers' Guild.

The Pint Pot of Fire owes a huge debt of gratitude to Simon Wood of Dubmaster Studios for transforming the audience experience this year, with his audio and lighting equipment and expertise and for the manner in which he put nervous contestants at their ease.

Third-prize winner, Belinda McKenna (right) poses with the oral tradition judge, Terrie Howey

2011 Contestants and Judges were:

back row, left to right
  • Doug New, contestant for Farnham Speakers
  • Alan Findlay, contestant for Hog's Back Writers
  • Derek Keen (winner), contestant for Fellowship of the Pen
middle row
  • Angela Cross, contestant for Alton Story Tellers
  • Bob Nisbet, public speaking judge
  • Clare Hopkins, creative writing judge
front row
  • Belinda McKenna (third place), contestant for Waxing Lyrical, Farnham
  • Linda Hutton (runner-up), contestant for Alton U3A Creative Writing
  • Terrie Howey, oral tradition judge
  • Kathy Brown, contestant for Farnham Speakers
For more information on the participating clubs and contact details, click here

Voting and Judging details

Judges' votes:
  1. Belinda McKenna
  2. Derek Keen
  3. Alan Findlay
Audience vote:
  1. Derek Keen
  2. Linda Hutton
  3. Belinda McKenna
Combined vote:
  1. Derek Keen
  2. Belinda McKenna
  3. Linda Hutton
After time penalties:
  1. Derek Keen (1 second out, no penalty)
  2. Linda Hutton (4 seconds out, no penalty)
  3. Belinda McKenna (20 seconds out, 2.5% penalty)

    The Pint Pot of Fire is part of
    Alton WordFest