Text Box: Text Box: Winning Entries First Quarter 2014

First: Lessons in Horticulture by Rachael Dunlop

Second: Attar of Roses by Jan Harris

Third: I Am In the Wool by Sarah Baxter

Click on the titles to read the three winning stories

 

Highly Commended: Cartoon Me by Kerry Chiron

 

Judge’s Report for the first quarter’s competition 2014 from  Ruth Dugdall

 

Good flash fiction can be as satisfying, as resonant, as a full length story. Within a very small wordage the narrative can still contain all the elements we’d expect from a longer piece, in terms of plot, character and pace. It is, however, a challenge to do this within 500 words, and all the more impressive therefore that so many of the shortlisted stories conveyed atmosphere without skimping, and told a tale without confusing.

The twenty-five shortlisted entries showed an abundance of creativity, a rainbow of emotions, and explored a variety of settings. Some themes pervaded; there were fewer humorous pieces, and several about abuse or death. These darker themes were handled with skill and originality; a girl who is abused after being stranded because she cannot afford the bus fare home (Nine Pence), a sister who kills herself as the final  denouement to her troubled family relationships (Two Sisters and a Train). These stories were in my top five.

With so many strong contenders it was hard to choose winners, but I did so by putting my notes aside for a day, and seeing which stories I could still remember in the following days, which one still resonated in my thoughts after I had finished reading. 

1st: Lessons in Horticulture

Tightly executed, showing excellent use of the form, this lesson in horticulture was really a (bitter) lesson in love. Perfectly constructed, the author holds the tension and emotion throughout and the narrative is executed with satisfying clarity. Beautiful.

 

2nd: Attar of Roses

Simple and heartfelt, this piece is timely given the imminent anniversary of the commencement of World War 1. The central concept of two envoys arriving at the same moment is effective, and the conclusion poignant, as our protagonist refuses to acknowledge the death of her beloved. Heartfelt.

 

3rd: I Am In the Wool

Surely this author is a poet? Words are chosen carefully for their rhythm, repetition is used for emphasis. A complex and compelling exploration of fabric and the deeper meanings woven in to the narration. Skilful. 

 

Highly Commended: Cartoon Me

Very memorable and effective, so much so that I read it aloud to my kids. The conflicted narrator, who copes with her guilt at being a bully by creating a cartoon self to do the right thing, would strike a chord with a teen reader. Unusual and believable.

 

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

 

Short Listed Entries — in alphabetical order

 

Attar of Roses by Jan Harris

Bye Bye Blackbird by Susan Howe

Cartoon Me by Kerry Chiron

Cast In Order of Appearance by Helen Victoria Anderson

Countdown by Susan Howe

Desolation and Dogs by Lydia Devadason

Forty One Weeks by Edwina Jones

Have Mercy by Anthony Farmer

Holocaust by Holly Enston

Home Movies by Karl  A Russell

I Am In the Wool by Sarah Baxter

Le Souffler De Bulles by Karl  A Russell

Lessons in Horticulture by Rachael Dunlop

Like by David Tombesi-Walton

Monster by Vanessa Savage

Naiad by Malcolm Galfe

Nine Pence by Julia Thorley

On The Wall by Harry Boulding

Snake by Tracy Fells

Stoning the Crows by Andrea Wotherspoon

Supple Limbs by Murdoch Matheson

The Alphabet Game by Pauline Brown

Things in Small Packages by Pauline Brown

Twist of Guilt by Sue Uden

Two Sisters and a Train by Elizabeth Willcox

 

Long Listed Entries — in alphabetical order

 

A Blank Wall by A Stefanovic

A Life Lived In Colour by Vanessa Savage

Angel, Oil on Canvas by Philip James Taylor

Annie is Sleeping by Sherri Turner

Attar of Roses by Jan Harris

Baby by Rachael Smart

Blood Orange by Sherri Turner

Broken Glass by Holly Enston

Bye Bye Blackbird by Susan Howe

Cartoon Me by Kerry Chiron

Cast In Order of Appearance by Helen Victoria Anderson

Coming Home by Sylvia Fairley

Countdown by Susan Howe

Crab Pool by Marilyn Messenger

Desolation and Dogs by Lydia Devadason

Echoes of the Somme by Frances Colville

Forty One Weeks by Edwina Jones

Grass by Ray Targett

Have Mercy by Anthony Farmer

Holocaust by Holly Enston

Home Movies by Karl  A Russell

I Am In the Wool by Sarah Baxter

If There's Such a Thing as Genius... by E.L Norry

Le Souffler De Bulles by Karl  A Russell

Lessons in Horticulture by Rachael Dunlop

Like by David Tombesi-Walton

Liquid Lunch by Lynn Valentine

Metamorphis by Rachael Smart

Monday Morning by Eilidh Mackay

Monster by Vanessa Savage

Naiad by Malcolm Galfe

Nine Pence by Julia Thorley

On The Wall by Harry Boulding

Peripheral Vision by Judith Dell Panny

Shift of perspective by Nigel Tomlinson

Signs by Karen Jones

Snake by Tracy Fells

Stoning the Crows by Andrea Wotherspoon

Supple Limbs by Murdoch Matheson

Sweetheart by Supie Dunbar

The Alphabet Game by Pauline Brown

The Interpretation of Dreams by Kaori Crawford

The Stone by Hilary Taylor

The Temperature of Tea by Karen Gardner

The Troll by Alexander Grant-Said

Things in Small Packages by Pauline Brown

Twist of Guilt by Sue Uden

Two Sisters and a Train by Elizabeth Willcox

Yamazakura by Charles Bliss