A STROUD author has bagged first prize for an international short story award.

John Holland one of Stroud's many talented authors and organiser of Stroud Short Stories took time off his promotion of the twice-yearly event to win the major competition.

Speaking to the SNJ, John outlined what the award meant to him.

"I am absolutely delighted by this win and I’d like it to give hope to all struggling writers everywhere to keep at it.

"Certainly I’m proof that age is no barrier."

His story Cows came first in the Dorset Fiction Award and netted him £500 as well as the publication of the story for online and print.

John's story follows two people in a car surrounded by a herd of cows - judges described it as "fluid, descriptive and cinematic in style, with a well maintained and engaging pace throughout."

The winning story can be read at dorsetfictionaward.co.uk/winners and the full judges comments can be at dorsetfictionaward.co.uk/news