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Dear Alana,

Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to consider your work for the Q4 2023 Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest. Our judges have returned their top twenty choices. All of the finalists' essays this season, including yours, scored a 14 or 15 out of a possible 15. So picking only twenty essays was not an easy task. Although your essay wasn't selected for the Top 20 this season, please know that your essay is excellent.

Our judges found much to admire about your work. Your writing is engaging and you have a wonderful narrative voice. We would be overjoyed to read more from you in the future. Your writing style is a perfect fit for WOW!

We will be publishing the winning essays in early October, and will send you the results as soon as they publish. You are welcome to add your finalist credit to your list of writing accomplishments.

We are fans of your work here at WOW! Thank you again for participating, and for being a part of the WOW community. We hope you are encouraged to keep writing and submitting. Wishing you much writing success!



Editors & Team WOW!


Jane Elliott

Just thought I’d let you know that I finally read your book last week. I loved it and it only took me five days to read which is amazing for me. Can’t wait for the sequel!

Beti Ede

I just wanted to say, I have started your book in earnest at last! It is such a lovely book, and I’m enjoying it so very much - the surprises, the sadness, the delights, and even the way it's printed on the page. I’m on page 200, so much more to go. It’s one of those books where I can't wait for bedtime to pick it up again!

Ann Marie Thomas (Author)

So many twists I didn't see coming!

wasn't too sure where this story was going, but soon got completely hooked. Well characterised, great setting, real people in real places. Loved it. Highly recommended.


Richard E Rock  (Author)

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It all starts when Anya May Gethin lands herself a job as a temporary, fill-in teacher in a local college. It’s a big step and she feels unprepared and not a little terrified, but with her husband out of work and three daughters to support, it’s a leap she has to take. 

This is the south Wales Valleys of the early 1980s. Margaret Thatcher is in No.10 and a miners’ strike is looming. In other words, life is pretty tough. However, our Anya (or Annie-May to her nearest and dearest) is strong, resilient and resourceful, and she has unwittingly just taken the first step on a journey that will eventually lead her all the way to Parliament. But to get there, she has to negotiate the rapids of forbidden love, institutional sexism and family secrets long buried deep.

Spanning several generations, The Making of Annie-May is a book about families, politics, ambition, secrets and lies, all driven by anger, desperation, the desire for a better world, and – of course – love. It is fantastically written with a vivid sense of character, time and place. Alana Beth Davies doesn’t just weave a handful of characters in these pages, she spins an entire village with its own social and economic eco system. And at the centre of this ever-spinning vortex of unemployment, babies, schooling, bills, divorce, marriage and frustration is Anya, who, with the endless support of her equally resilient mum Sarah, slowly comes to realise the importance of politics and how it affects every single aspect of her life.

This is as much a manifesto as it a novel, driven by fire and belief, and is utterly compelling from start to end. I couldn’t put it down.

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