THE TWO runners-up are Rupert Morgan, 28, for 'Bogart', the story of a wise-cracking teddy bear. He calls himself a 'floating freelance writer' and has won a couple of other writing competitions. He now lives on a canal boat in France. His first full-length book, 'a kind of novel', is sitting in a publisher's office waiting to be read, and meanwhile he has written 10 more Bogart stories.

Nicola Jones, 37, lives with her husband, who is Jamaican, and their two children, aged five and seven, in Camberwell, south London. Nicola is a support teacher to bilingual children in special schools and a teacher trainer. She has written some freelance articles for the Independent, but 'The Jackfruit Tree' was her first attempt at a story.

The other writers selected for the Story of the Year anthology are: Susan Akass of Bath for 'The Voyage of Outdoing'; Edoardo Albert of London for 'The Reluctant Eagle'; June Burrows of London for 'Cinderella Knickers'; Sarah Harris of Bristol for 'Princess Chocky'; Sharon L Mead of Norwich for 'Mayor Bumble's Proclamation'; Felix Pirani of London for 'Abigail on the Towpath'; and Emily Smith of London for 'The King and the K'.