Competition Results

Poetry 2019 Judge’s Report

To read the winning poems CLICK HERE

Organiser’s Report

This was a difficult year, with many talented poets taking a chance that their work would catch the eyes and hearts of our judges and to make it through to the final sift. As ever we had a good spread from across the globe, though more than a couple came from France. The south of England and Scotland had good representation also, leading to a wide mix of cultural influences in the work we received. There is something special about how the differing experiences of individuals give birth to these 40 line windows into other types of lives.

Popular themes this year included Cats (going to show that people did their research!), Religion, DIY, Age and for some reason quite a lot of poems around the Sea and similar nautical themes. Very few about Love or War this time round, which is an oddity in itself, but nice to see writers branching out in their art.

A side note – Every year we have entries whose writers are a little loose with their interpretation of the rules, in terms of line count or things as fundamental as not putting their name on it. I’m happy to say this time round we had the least disqualifications on record for this competition, which is great, because as everyone is aware, you don’t stand a chance of winning if your entry does not even get read. Well done to everyone who entered correctly and please know, it was very hard to decide the shortlist indeed as the majority were excellent.

Chief Judge’s Report – Daniel Riding

It is never a difficult task to explain why you love or loathe a certain piece of poetry, for some, it may be the emotional tone that evokes long lost memories, or it may be the intelligent use of form and structure that alerts me to the talent behind a poem’s creation. However, when greeted with numerous poems that exhibit such a level of intelligence and passion, that the task of choosing winners proves somewhat difficult. Given the difficulty of said task, I am thrilled to say that it was a complete joy to see so many people still writing and enjoying the art of poetry. 

1st Place – Mistaken Identity – by Hannah Stephenson

First place goes to the wonderfully constructed, and charmingly visual ‘Mistaken Identity’. It quite simply made my heart sing, with its delightful childlike quality and the use of a normally overlooked piece of nature to effectively get across its message.

2nd Place – Finally – by Laurence Hughes

Second place goes to a poem that enabled me to see the beauty of beginnings hidden in endings. Finally is a piece of poetry that is small in stature but big in presence. Each sentence, each word, and each syllable is used carefully and with thought. Not a single moment is wasted in this small but poignant piece. 

3rd Place – The Space Between – by D.C.Tunstall

This poem had a smoothness about it that drove home hard this idea of love, it’s limitations and its limitless power to change everything. Be it familial, plutonic or even passionate, love is explored cleverly and with heart in this lovely piece of writing.

Humour Prize – No, don’t tell me – by Dan Hicks

I would like to tell you what I enjoy about this poem, but I may have forgotten! In all seriousness, this poem made me chuckle with its razor-sharp observations about memory loss. Something that all of us can admit to dealing with every now and again. It had a nice rhythm which kept the pace of the poem ticking along nicely and only added to its very funny take on a sometimes serious subject matter. Cleverly done. 

Highly Commended – Fingers for Eyes – by John Morris

Commended – 

Grenfell Tower: The Day After – by Jacqueline Pemberton

Still Water – by Michael Hobbs

Journey – by Helen Jeffery

Short Story 2018 Results

NOTE – THE WINNING STORIES AVAILABLE HERE

Organiser’s Report

It is always a pleasure to read through the stories that so many people decide to send, in the hopes that their little pieces of inspiration will gain the light and recognition that they deserve. The quality of many entries deserved such recognition, though it has to be mentioned the importance of reading the rules for any competition, which sadly some people fell afoul of this year (don’t put your name on every page of an anonymous entry!).

We had stories about every topic going – romance, war, shopping, robots, babies, time travel, chocolate and many more. Entries came from Germany, France, and Spain as well as a good concentration from the south of England. Of course, shortlisters can only go so far, and any love they have for particular favourites in the sifting has to be put aside for the final judge to have her say. We were fortunate this year to have an award winning novelist join us and we respect her final opinions.

Chief Judges Report – Carys Bray

It is not especially hard to decide whether a story is enjoyable and satisfying – as readers, we do this all the time. It is, however, hard to take a group of satisfying and enjoyable stories and pick a winner. I recognise that another judge, on another day, may have looked at these stories and placed them in a different order. The stories below intrigued and surprised me, and I enjoyed reading each of them.

1st Place: Peace and Quiet by Louise Wilford

First place goes to this well-written and intriguing short story that invites an active, interrogative response from the reader and concludes with an enjoyably sinister twist.

2nd Place: The Spae Wife by Julie-Ann Rowell

Second place goes to this evocative, historical short story that makes beautiful use of sensory language and explores themes of prejudice and judgement in an isolated community.

3rd Place: Closer to the Edge by Robert Kibble

Third place goes to this tense short story in which the writer examines the line between cruelty and humour while achieving a satisfying combination of action and introspection.

Highly commended: Equinox by Marianne Whiting

This highly commended historical short story explores themes of shame and sacrifice, reaching a powerful, understated conclusion.

Commended: The Angel and the Bridge by Norman Kitching

This commended story empathetically tackles big themes: guilt, betrayal and the kindness of strangers.

Commended: The Real Fake News by Paul Barnett

Resonant and timely, this commended short story contains some lovely images and has echoes of Orwell’s 1984.

2018 Poetry Results

To read the winning poems, Click Here

Organiser Notes –

Another year, another set of difficult decisions. In the role of Chief Judge we were graced by the talented and prolific Alison Chisholm, whose opinion is very much respected in the world of poetry (and is also an ex-member of SWC!). The International part of the competition did not fail to surprise us again, with entries from France, Germany, and South Africa. The shortlisting was a hard process with so many excellent entries, but somehow we got it down to the final filter of twenty or so. The downside of an anonymous system also struck, as the 1st Prize winner also turned out to be the Humour Prize winner. I’m sure you will agree though, that both poems are worth of taking the prizes, as well as the 2nd 3rd and Commendeds. For those who did not make the final cut, we hope to see your work again next year, as in such a tight competition, anyone could swing it next time!

Judges Report from Alison Chisholm –

My big problem was with the humour section.  The hilarious pieces were badly crafted.  The beautifully crafted pieces weren’t funny.  I’ve ended up picking a poem that has some wry touches of humour among pretty dark layers, and is without doubt the best contender for a humour prize.  The results, then, are:

 

Humour

Your Call is Important to Us

by David Mark Williams

The repetition and delicious images work well, and while there is clear humour in the recognisable frustration of the repeated announcement, there are neat undercurrents to show this is not just a poem about an annoying phone call, but has a much deeper significance.

 

First Prize

Insomnia Soliloquy

By David Mark Williams

Anyone who has ever spent a sleepless night will identify with this poem.  It uses imagery with precision, and it’s an object lesson in how to craft a free verse poem in which slant rhyme and lineation are applied beautifully.

 

Second Prize

The Curse

By Elizabeth Horrocks

Another free verse poem, this takes an original subject and clothes it in finely crafted free verse.  The route from innocence to Mammon is charted perfectly.

 

Third Prize

Allowing the Light

By Sheila Aldous

This piece, written in response to a recent tragedy, can hardly fail to touch everyone who followed the story.

 

Highly Commended

Cold Egg

By Jenny West

This brilliant evocation of family life is image-rich and enormously appealing.  The only thing wrong with the poem is its lack of punctuation, which is such an important factor in the poem.

 

Commended

Edges of Autumn

By Lynne Taylor

 

On This Summer Day

By Sue Kauth

 

The Edge of Alderley

By Elizabeth Horrocks

 

Clacton 1967

Susi Clare