Harrogate Transdev
Gemma Rowland, Operations Manager at Harrogate International Festivals, with no.36 bus driver and team leader, Tim Wilbur

Transdev and Harrogate International Festivals launch the “36 Words Short Story Challenge”


One of the largest public transport operators, Transdev in Harrogate, has launched a short story challenge with Harrogate International Festivals.

To celebrate Transdev’s continued support of the Festival, the ’36 Challenge’ asks people across the district to pen a short story in just 36 words, alluding to the famed, luxurious 36 bus that connects Ripon, Harrogate and Leeds with a £3.2 million fleet of the most highly specified buses in the country.

The long standing partnership with the Festival began in 2012 and has seen free books handed to passengers, a bestselling crime author spending a week on the bus route, and the creation of the UK’s first library on a bus network.

‘Library 36’ is just one feature of the on-bus experience in addition to leather seats, tables, free wifi, USB points and a spectacular glazed roof. The honesty library is situated near the entrance area of the bus downstairs, and is a red bookshelf allowing customers to help themselves to books to read and swap books to help enjoy on their journey. Many books are provided by Harrogate International Festivals, which delivers the Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival and the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in July, as well as the Harrogate History Festival in October.

Alex Hornby, CEO at Transdev, said:

We are all so proud to work with Harrogate International Festivals. Our aim is to be as connected as possible with our local communities and working with such a well-respected local organisation is a real honour.

Library 36, alongside the 36 story challenge, is a fantastic way to celebrate Harrogate as a remarkable destination for book lovers – and the most stylish way to travel there!

The winning 36-word story will receive a weekend pass to the Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival featuring Mary Portas, John Suchet, Jeremy Bowen and over 20 events from 7-10 July at the Crown Hotel.

Sharon Canavar, CEO of Harrogate International Festivals, said:

We’re really proud to be partnering with Transdev and the 36. Not only are good travel networks essential for residents, they are crucial for tourism and the fact visitors to our festivals experience such luxury is fantastic for a tourism town.

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival’s 2016 Reader in Residence, author Mari Hannah, whose DCI Kate Daniels series is currently in production with Stephen Fry’s TV production company, drafted a 36-word story to inspire people to take part.

Mari said:

This is a fantastic challenge. Writing a story in 36 words is not easy, but it really shows off a writer’s skill. Travelling is the perfect opportunity to let our imaginations loose. There’s something about being in limbo, between destinations with time to think that lends itself to flashes of inspiration!

To enter the 36-word story challenge you can post your story at the dedicated Festival post box at Harrogate Bus Depot, or email it to alex@harrogate-festival.org.uk.

The winner will be decided by bestselling crime author, Mari Hannah.

Mari Hannah’s 36-word story:

Amy ran, heart pumping, arms like pistons. He was right behind her, a breath away, harsh words echoing in her head. She had to keep going or she was done for. ‘Stop!’ he yelled. ‘Workout over.’

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