CAITLIN VENNIKER - 2022Apr 8, 2022
The winner of the 2022 Mogford Prize for Food & Drink Writing was Caitlin Venniker with her short story: ‘The Hunt’. Caitlin’s short story was selected from 870 entries from around the globe by beloved novelist, poet and playwright Sir Michael Morpurgo, award-winning TV chef Andi Oliver, and prize founder Jeremy Mogford.
2022’s Mogford Prize saw entrants featuring from Australia, USA, United Kingdom, Canada, India, Netherlands, Ireland, France, Switzerland, South Africa, Germany, Nigeria, Pakistan, Japan, Cyprus, and a special entrant from Ukraine too.
The runners-up, for 2022 who receive a £250 prize each, are; Derbyshire born Emily Devane with her short story ‘The Last King of Connemaidh’; ‘Drishya Maity from India, for ‘One Afternoon in South Bombay’, and previous Mogford Prize short lister Lorna Fergusson with ‘Truth or Consequences’.
Caitlin Venniker completed a B.A. in English at the University of Cape Town and then changed direction completely and studied veterinary science at Onderstepoort, Pretoria, South Africa. Caitlin has been a vet for the last ten years, based between South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and the UK.
The scorching summers of Dubai pushed her to rekindle creative outlets, and she decided that 2022 would be a year of entering writing competitions with the intention of exploring different forms and enjoying the process. The Mogford Prize was one of the first that she entered. She was also short-listed for the Bath Flash Fiction Award in February, 2022.
How does it feel to win the £10,000 prize?
“It feels quite surreal to have won such a prestigious and generous prize. I called my mom at least three times on the day I heard, just so we could talk about it again – you can’t brag to anyone like you can to your mom! It is definitely one of the proudest moments of my life.”
How did you come up with your story ‘The Hunt’?
“I was talking to my cousin about the competition and he suggested a story where a beloved truffle pig was kidnapped for bacon (he’s quite a hoot) but as soon as the thought of a truffle pig crossed my mind I knew I wanted a story there and started reading about them. I like pigs. I’ve had to do nail clips on a few or the odd injection and they’re very dramatic. I enjoy that about them.”
How do you feel about the judges this year?
“It was a great honour just to have Sir Michael Morpurgo and Andi Oliver read my story. They are both such inspiring creative people and have both succeeded in bringing people joy through their work. I have fond memories of my dad trying to watch War Horse several times, but every time he got to the part where Joey was stuck in the wire he couldn’t take it any more!”
How did you learn about the Mogford Prize?
“I started researching writing competitions towards the end of last year and of course the Mogford Prize came up as one of the most generous and well-known awards in literary competition. What really drew me to it was that it seemed to be looking for light heartedness and humour. To be taken seriously as a writer it sometimes feels as if you should be standing on the edge of the abyss ready to jump (!) but the Mogford Prize seemed to place value on art as entertainment and comfort, literature to be enjoyed as one of the finer things in life. What a pleasure.”
“The prose flows, the dialogue speaks. I see the landscape, I see the people. It’s a story that lives off the page. The author weaves this masterly short story with great conviction, wit and tension, and with a twist and turn at the denouement reminiscent of the great Guy de Maupassant.” – Sir Michael Morpurgo remarks.
The veterinary nurse calculated that Roger would be a good marriage match even though he was dull and she wasn’t in love with him. Roger lived on a huge farm that the veterinary nurse could see herself occupying. The only hiccup to her plan was his wife, Helen. Further research showed the veterinary nurse that Helen like to hunt truffles … Truffles. Hunting. Love at stake, and a wife in the way… What could go wrong?