Attendance was up on last year and the winners in the three short-story categories were presented with certificates and Waterstones (Lakeside) gift tokens.
Cindy Barber, from Grays, who won first prize for 28 June 1914 in the 1914 category, where the Archduke Franz Ferdinand recounts his last day alive and a day when everything changes for the whole world.
Helen Grimshaw, also from Grays, and in the 13 to 17 age group won with Schemers in the A Twist in the Tale category, telling the story of a girl recovering in hospital and planning to escape with her friend … but something is not quite right.
And Koyinsola Sotonwa’s Return to Planet Zombo, part of the Open theme, too the eight to 12 age title with a funny and light-hearted story with an edge about a girl called Skylar who realises her idol is from an enemy planet – can they live in harmony?
The festival is organised and run by Thurrock Council’s library service.
As well as the short story competition there were a range of creative writing workshops for children and adults on the day led by Jean Fullerton, Sharon McGovern, Julie Earle and Thurrock Writers Circle.