Southport Writers’ Circle Annual Open Short Story Competition 2011
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. Thank you”
1st Prize – THE MATHEMATICS OF JUSTICE By Mike Roe
2nd Prize – SALT STAIN By Zoe Gilbert
3rd Prize – CURRY ICE CREAM By Eithne Nightingale
HIGHLY COMMENDED – LISTING By Kevin Chant
HIGHLY COMMENDED – AN EVERLASTING COLD By Moya Green
COMMENDED – THE MONET EXHIBITION By Philip Mervyn
COMMENDED – DEACON ISLE By Christine Buckland
Southport Writers’ Circle Poetry Competition 2011
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
Southport Writers’ Circle Annual Open Short Story Competition 2010
We were delighted to receive nearly 300 entries this year, which were read by our panel of judges who then used our carefully developed guidelines to select a short-list of thirty. These were given to the chief judge who commented as follows:
“I’ve been asked to judge this competition and the first thing to say is that all literary judging is subjective. I thoroughly understand readers who disagree with me – it’s their right. What is here is not necessarily the best, but what I thought was the best. A purely personal view. Having said which, I think it fair to explain what I was looking for, what my criteria were. I was looking for a certitude of vision. A clear understanding of what life is like. Alice Munro, the Canadian short story writer says that a short story is ‘a world seen in a quick glancing light.’ Its brevity is its strength. If a novel is a progress, a movement from stage to stage, then a short story is a single flash of understanding.
1st Prize – The Day the Rains Came: John Morley
2nd Prize – The Perfection of Ten: Gill Hoffs
3rd prize – Rosemary Flowers are Blue: Catherine Mcardle
Last of the Sand dragons: Dan Purdue
Sweet Dreams: Rosemary Fisher
Never the Same Advantages: Judy Walker
Curing Hicups: Steve Myers
First Flame: Bruce Harris
Growing Pains: Rebecca Camu
Southport Writers’ Circle International Poetry Competition 2010
3rd, Uneaten Meal by Frank McDonald.
Afternoon Break by A. Shaw
Iron Men by Malcolm Terry.
First Fire Of Autumn by Margaret Speak.
Eclipsed by Noel Williams.
Valentine by Lynn Roberts.
Foreign by David Duncombe.
Amber At The Tennis Club by Helen Yendel
Of Swimming Pools And Sundries by Frank McDonald.
Southport Writers’ Circle Annual Open Short Story Competition 2009
Despite the disruption to the postal service we were delighted to receive 304 entries this year, which were read by our panel of judges who used our carefully developed guidelines to select a short-list of thirty. These were given to the chief judge who commented as follows:
“To succeed in its aim, a short story has to engage the attention from the outset; and, because of the constraints of word length, it must set a convincing scene economically; and, most importantly, it must present a fresh approach to the chosen subject. Characterisation is important, as is consistency of theme. Language should be clear and precise; excessive imagery, and over-use of metaphor, which obscures rather than elucidates, only impedes our understanding.
All nine of these stories had something to recommend them, but the winners were those which succeeded best in marrying content to form, and each contained that element of surprise which lifted it out of the ordinary. Interestingly, all three were either set in the past or else events in the past were instrumental in shaping the present situation, and all were adept at invoking period detail in a convincing fashion, but the overall winner had an authenticity which convinced the reader that the characters were real people attempting, in their different ways, to cope with the aftermath of a real and life-changing event. It is no mean feat to incorporate a historical fact, of which we are all aware, into a work of fiction without the joins being evident, but this story succeeded in doing so. Of the twenty-seven short-listed stories, I have no hesitation in awarding it first place.”
1st Prize Douglas Bruton, West Linton: The Boy Who Stayed At School.
2nd Prize Brenda Ryan, Bolton: Bitter Sweet.
3rd Prize Rosemarie Rose, Cwmbran: Me and Sophia Loren
Dorothy Schwarz, Colchester: I’m Not Tired.
Cherry Lawton, Wolverhampton: The Anti-Ageing Diet Plan.
Iain Pattison, Bristol: Once Upon a Crime.
Rosemarie Rose, Cwmbran: The Dandelion Lawn.
Jonathon Pinnock, St Albans: The Last Words of Emanuel Prettyjohn.
Louise Hume, Brighton: Vivid.
S. Whaley: Jam, Jerusalem and Jeronimo
P. Philippou: A long Way Home
J.Copley: The World Left Behind
D. Patterson: Happy Birthday, Catherine
P. Barbieri: Man Made
N. Gilbert: Alligator Wrestling in the Far West
L. Voyce: Dreamtime Providence
M. Pearcy: We Shall Overcome
M. Swann: Julia’s Big Day
L. Armitage: Fete and Fortune
J. Morris: A New Place
D. Manser: The Lonely Salesman
P. Jacobs: It’s in the Bag
C. McHaines: Party Talk
J. Hall: Seeing Red
S. Holman: Forgetting What We Knew
M. James: Must End Monday
T. Jayatilaka: As long as she Waited
Southport Writers’ Circle International Poetry Competition 2009
The competition was ably judged by Jane Aspinall, who cheerfully and effervescently (?) gave us a well constructed critique of the winners and runners up on the presentation evening, as well as treating us to some of her own fine work.
1st Prize Anne Stewart: BALANCE SHEET
2nd Prize Wendy Klein: ORIENTEERING FOR A BLIND DOG
3rd Prize Sharon Black: SEA GLASS
Paul Groves: ELVIS LIVES
Michael Cunningham: ON THE WAY DOWN
Ms A.M.L Laugher: IN PRAISE OF KITCHEN ROLL
Sharon Black: MORNING AFTER
Denise Bennett: For Edward Thomas
C.J Allen: PAUL
Lauren Urquhart: LOVE IS POISON
Roger Darby: ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
Southport Writers’ Circle Annual Open Short Story Competition 2008
“Reading the short-listed stories was a pleasure. Each story was read twice initially then again to decide the gold, silver, bronze and any that were to be highly commended. The stories were accompanied by a set of guidelines to help in the decision but the winning story did not require any guidelines, it jumped to the front of the queue. LOCKED IN, LOCKED OUT wins. This story has everything; sadness, tragedy and humour, not a word wasted and it has a great ending. Deciding the second was difficult but after reading the three stories vying for the prize, POND LIFE came second; a sad story but very well told and precise in its telling, the story has originality and entertains. FAIRIES comes third. A good story, original, about a child and her imagination, with a wonderful line ‘..she wonders where the better life is kept..’ Highly commended is NEVER A CROSS WORD, a very good story, amusing and well told; ROUTINES, a very good story, precise and to the point; THE ODD JOB MAN, a winner waiting to happen, well told.”
1st Prize Rosemarie Rose, Cwmbran: LOCKED IN, LOCKED OUT.
2nd Prize Phill Campbell, St Helens: POND LIFE.
3rd Prize Penny Wightwick, Sheffield: FAIRIES.
Bruce Harris, Devon: ROUTINES.
R.J. Ivimy, E.Sussex: THE ODD JOB MAN.
Ted Jones, Villefranche-sur-Mer: NEVER A CROSS WORD.
M.M. Lee, West Sussex: OLGA OWEN’S OBSESSION.
Basil Ransome-Davie, Lancaster: THE CASE OF THE DISAPPEARING DUCKS.
K. Adkins: Wish You Were Here
F. Allan: A Walford Christmas
J. Anders: Lost Paradise
K. Bachmann: Charity
H. Bailey: Of Mice and Stepsisters
C. Buckland: The Baby is Crying Again
M. Clarke: Rude Awakening
M. Cookson: Stand Up and Be Counted
J. Derrrick: The White Lady
F. Dickinson: The End of the Line
C. Girvan: The Coffee Business
P. Hodge: Ashes to Ashes
M. Mclawlin: The Stone Man
D. Millward: Precious Sunday
P. Nockemann: Autumn
S. Palmer: Missing You
R. Rose: Antony Gormley’s Bum
J. Seaman: Treading Water
J. Smith: Six Mistakes
J. Smith: Overdue
J. Statham: Meadowsweet
D. Taylor: What Price a Cotton Bobbin