Text Box: Text Box: Winning Entries First Quarter 2017

First: Rainbows for Coppers by Claire Whatley

Second: Appearances by Douglas Bruton

Third: Summary by Joanna Campbell

Click on the titles to read the three winning stories

Highly Commended — we have two for this quarter

Safety Pins by Sherri Turner

… Never To Have Loved At All by Louise Mangos

 

Judge’s Report for the first quarter’s competition 2017 from JJ Marsh

A good short story uses so much more than 500 words. It uses space. This is a dance between writer and reader. A writer omits, the reader’s imagination fills the gap. A writer crafts a sentence with the right words to resonate with the reader’s understanding. Yet leaves enough room to create a profound echo.

A good short story writer regards the reader as a chef considers the diner. With respect. Reduce, condense and intensify the most powerful flavours, but balance the richness with time to digest. Less can be more.

Every single one of the stories on the shortlist was entertaining and well written. Some made me laugh with a witty perspective on life. Others blindsided me with unexpected twists. Reading these was a pleasure and I relished such a box of treasures.

The winning stories this quarter demonstrate understatement, subtlety and simplicity, with impressive storytelling skill. To evoke atmosphere, location, voice, character and plot, let alone the prevailing emotion with such brevity is astounding.

 

1st: Rainbows for Coppers

The first time I read this, I knew it would be in the top three. One of the few optimistic stories, the immediate impact was an embrace not a punch. To weave such a complex set of themes together in an upbeat, distinctive voice wrapped in glorious imagery is an exceptional feat. Like an unusual stone slipped into my pocket, I carried this story with me for days, just so I could feel its textures.

 

2nd: Appearances

Something about the rushing, gushing flow of these words and the subject they describe is so apt. There’s familiarity and distance, inviting us into the spaces between the toes and leaving us outside the window looking in. It plumbs a well of joy and sadness. Like an Edward Hopper painting, you yearn to gaze closer, and at the same time, want to turn away.

“...and so it looked like there was nothing wrong when everything was.”

 

3rd: Summary

The frame of this story told through a particular perspective is near perfect. Language, rhythm and detail woven through with subjective experience create a vignette you cannot forget. Our narrator’s self-preserving distance blends with the reader’s gradual realisation to create tension like a held breath.

“Anyroad, you can’t find summat if you don’t know what’s missing.”

 

Highly Commended: Safety Pins and Never To Have Loved At All

So many I want to mention but I will simply say how moved I was by Safety Pins and Never To Have Loved At All. Opposite ends of the spectrum, but intense spotlights on human dignity. Both beautiful ways to tell the stories of our time.

 

We regularly receive several hundred entries each quarter, so those making the long and short lists should feel very proud.

 

Short Listed Entries for the First Quarter 2017 — in alphabetical order

 

A Fly’s Eye View by Colin R. Beckford

A Quiet Night by Peter Caulfield

A Reverse by Brindley Hallam Dennis

A Sofa I Don't Care About Anymore by Jamie D Stacey

After School by Tony Oswick

Appearances by Douglas Bruton

Arsed by Julia Anderson

Dead Bulbs by FJ Morris

Dog Days by Vanessa Savage

Highway 55 by Edwina Neal

Karaoke in Killer Heels by Alexandra Plowman

Letting Go by Karen Jones

Master of the Mint by Jon Greaves

…Never To Have Loved At All by Louise Mangos

Rainbows for Coppers by Claire Whatley

Reward and Punishment by Susan Howe

Safety Pins by Sherri Turner

Summary by Joanna Campbell

That Kid by Claire Whatley

The Ghost of Culloden by Gillian Brown

Voodoo Twins by Tom J Herron

Waiting to Exhale by Jamie D Stacey

Winding Back the Clock by Alyson Hilbourne

Winter Run by Sarah Leavesley

WKD by Jamie D Stacey

 

Long Listed Entries for the First Quarter 2017 — in alphabetical order

 

A Fly’s Eye View by Colin R. Beckford

A Quiet Night by Peter Caulfield

A Reverse by Brindley Hallam Dennis

A Sofa I Don't Care About Anymore by Jamie D Stacey

After School by Tony Oswick

Appearance by Shona Jamadi

Appearances by Douglas Bruton

Arsed by Julia Anderson

Bunny Ears by Jamie D Stacey

Butterfly by Hilary Hopker

Butterfly by Holly Rathband

Clocks by Adena Graham

Control by Christopher Cairns

Cookies and the Clothes Line by Tony Oswick

Dead Bulbs by FJ Morris

Dog Days by Vanessa Savage

Doing My Best by Christine Griffin

Everybody Needs Steel by Oliver Atwell

Familiar by Alexandra Ross

Highway 55 by Edwina Neal

Holding on by Lindsey Booth

Karaoke in Killer Heels by Alexandra Plowman

Letting Go by Karen Jones

Master of the Mint by Jon Greaves

Mudflats by Diane Simei

…Never To Have Loved At All by Louise Mangos

Parallel Lines by Edwina Neal

Planet Earth Is Closing, Please Make Your Final Choices by Taria Karillion

Poppy Love by Mich English

Rainbows for Coppers by Claire Whatley

Reward and Punishment by Susan Howe

Safety Pins by Sherri Turner

Summary by Joanna Campbell

That Kid by Claire Whatley

The Flitting by Karen Jones

The Ghost of Culloden by Gillian Brown

Voodoo Twins by Tom J Herron

Waiting by Carol Warham

Waiting to Exhale by Jamie D Stacey

Waiting by Anita Gallo

What to Expect by Mandy Huggins

Winding Back the Clock by Alyson Hilbourne

Winter Fire by Eireann Nankivell

Winter Run by Sarah Leavesley

WKD by Jamie D Stacey