The standard of the entires this year was phenomenal, covering all walks of life, from the distant space-faring future to spooky campfire ghost stories. Sadly only some could win, so the shortlisted few were passed to our chief judge who commented as follows:
“To achieve an effective short story, the writer must be ruthlessly objective over their own work and consider their audience rather than themselves. They must be committed to a ‘slash and burn’ policy in respect of digressions, extraneous language, unnecessary characters, excessive description and indulgent philosophy. There is a task to be done requiring a real, believable and economical dialogue with the reader inside a rational structure. At the end of the journey- geographical, experiential, emotional- a good short story elicits a physical response. An intake of breath, a sigh, a knowing nod of the head, laughter, a tear all indicate that the story has ‘hit the mark’.
In achieving this, the writer will have created engagement and interest from the first line. They will handle their material with a confidence, consistency and pace which are invisible to the reader. There will be no distractions to pull one ‘out of the story’ and the language will be fluent and refined and entirely appropriate to the theme. There will be few characters and these will be confidently drawn and believable. Every word of their dialogue will be necessary and will bring meaning and vitality.
All locations, particularly exotic locations, will add depth, purpose and interest.’
That so many of the competition entries achieved these standards is most impressive. It was humbling to read so many experiences of life, intelligent observations and so much genuine wisdom expressed as fiction. Thankyou”
1st Prize - THE MATHEMATICS OF JUSTICE By Mike Roe
2nd Prize - SALT STAIN By Zoe Gilbert
3rd Prize - CURRY ICE CREAM By Eithne Nightingale
Some stories are available to read if their title is orange.
1st Prize - Shooting Rhino: Roger Elkin
2nd Prize - Missa Brevis: Anne Wrigley
3rd prize - Somewhere Else: Margaret Speak
Local Prize - The Petalled Dead: Cynthia Kitchen
Humour Prize - Poetry Cafe: Phil Rowley
Handwritten: Lesley Burt
Fallow Deer, Good Home: Roger Elkin
Dressing Table: Will Gaunt
Product of Jamaica: Tasmin Forman
Neighbours 1: Gwynneth Box
Sea Battle (After Kandinsky: 1913): Thelma Laycock
Spring 2051: Cynthia Kitchen
The Chief Use of Vipers: Fay Dickinson
Siren: Corrinna Toop
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