Text Box: Text Box: Winning Entries Second Quarter 2011

 

First: Mother’s Pride by Susan Howe

Second: Finding a Solution by Christine Steenfeldt

Third: Butterfly Nights by Deirdre Palmer

Click on the titles to read the three winning stories

 

Highly Commended: Trees that Bear Fruit by Pete Clark

 

Judge’s Report for the second quarter’s competition 2011 from Amanda Hodgkinson

 

The first thing I want to say is how much I enjoyed reading all the contributions to the Flash Fiction competition. The standard of writing was high and I found that each one of the shortlisted stories had something to recommend them, something unique or powerful about them that has stayed with me.

I was looking for writing that led me straight into a story. Even in just 500 words, I was hoping to be taken on a journey.  I was less interested in beautiful writing (although that pleased me whan I found it) than in storytelling. And with such a tight word count, I was delighted to find so many of the contributors managed to convey so much in such a tight format. 

I was (hard taskmaster that I am) also looking for writing that flowed and appeared effortless. A lot to ask for? Probably.  But I found some great writing here and in a world where most writers have a very hard time getting published, I believe writing flash fiction is a brilliant way of honing your craft. You only have to find 500 words, but they had better be the right words...

I read and reread all the stories several times and want to offer my congratulations to all the shortlisted writers but the stories that really stayed with me were the following:

 

1st: Mother’s Pride

This was a rich and humorous story that I just loved from the first reading. Actually, I loved it from the first line which gives us the first person voice of a fully formed, delightfully unreliable, narrator. The writing is insightful and funny and the story is warmly told. A very clear winner for me. The writer manages to create not one but four, totally believable and complex characters.  Actually, I think I should say five because the pudding surely stands as a character in its own right…Glorious!

 

2nd: Finding a Solution

I thought this was a great story with a lovely ambiguous ending and a delightful black humour to it. While the plot might not be the most original, the storytelling is wholly successful and utterly engaging. A terrific bit of storytelling and again, really good characterisation.

 

3rd: Butterfly Nights

This was a very affecting tale. I particularly liked the way the narrator drew me into an urban world of prostitutes and night scenes and then reveals that one of the street girls is in fact his daughter and he wants only to be allowed to wrap a warm coat around her shoulders and reassure himself she is eating properly. A poignant, finely wrought story.

 

Highly Commended: Trees that Bear Fruit

This was a very touching story. Elegiac and delicate, I found myself thinking about it long after I had finished reading it. The ending was hopeful and nicely original and the writer created an intimate portrayal of a woman grieving for her husband which was also thankfully, never melodramatic or overdone. I was particularly impressed by just how much of a life this writer managed to convey in just 500 words. A very elegant story.

~~~

Once again we received several hundred entries this quarter, so those making the long and short lists have reason to feel proud of their achievement.

 

Short Listed Entries — in alphabetical order

 

7 Seconds

A Hotel in Mumbai

A Walk

All's Right With the World

Aunt Sassy

Butterfly Nights

Cherry Tomatoes

Crime of Passion

Curly Girl

Early Morning Sunlight Casts Shadows on the Terrace

Fast Lane Phonetics

Finding a Solution

For The Moment

Looking for Rainbows

Mother's Pride

One of a Set

Orange

Red Like My Shoes

Requiem

Soul Catchers

The End of the World in a Second-Floor Bathroom

The girl with no mobile phone

The Present

Trees That Bear Fruit

White Sheets

 

Long Listed Entries — in alphabetical order

 

7 Seconds

A Hotel in Mumbai

A Real Gem

A Walk

All's Right With The World

Arrivals and Departures

Aunt Sassy

Broken & Fixed

Butterfly Nights

Cherry Tomatoes

Crime of Passion

Curly Girl

Dogsbody

Early Morning Sunlight Casts Shadows On The Terrace

Enough

Escalator

Fast Lane Phonetics

Finding a Solution

For The Moment

For This, I Am Grateful

Implementation of the Counsellor's Action Plan

Joe Parker

Looking for Rainbows

Many Is A Man Who Once Was One

Mother's Pride

One of a Set

Orange

Precious Hours

Racecar

Red Like My Shoes

Requiem

Right Place, Right Time

Site-Specific

Soul Catchers

Telling It Like It Was

The End of the World in a Second-Floor Bathroom

The Girl

The girl with no mobile phone

The Hat

The Present

Then It Was Autumn Again

Things Unsaid

Transmogrification

Trees That Bear Fruit

White Sheets

Whitechapel