Text Box: Text Box: Winning Entries Second Quarter 2017

First: Another Coffee by Guy Russell

Second: Sky Lighter by Tracy Fells

Third: Sprezzura by Pam Morrison

Click on the titles to read the three winning stories

Highly Commended: The Smart Loser’s Guide to Surviving High School by Grace Miller

 

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

This doesn’t get any easier. I read and re-read these stories, finding something new to admire every time. There is anger, bitterness and very satisfying vengeance. There is love, passion, humour and tenderness.

There is the ability to step into another’s shoes. Putting your reader in another person’s mind is an exceptional skill, especially if it’s not somewhere we feel comfortable. Step to the Edge and Black Coffee and Shampoo are two excellent examples of a very particular point of view, experiencing the world through a different filter.

Eventually, I opted for these as my personal favourites. Each is a surprise, with language, concept and confidence. Such stories with a tight focus on one individual’s perspective made me wonder. They may lack a big dramatic twist but the detail and subtle allusion to the narrator’s frame of mind/reference is what draws this reader in. For me, it’s like watching a stranger in a coffee shop, piecing together a personality from a few well-chosen clues.

Thank you for all these stories.

 

1st: Another Coffee

Almost 500 words as one sentence, this story is an understated vignette of a friendship. A summary of a life and a personality, the carefully judged pieces of the jigsaw are left for the reader to piece together. Yet as much as we do see what the protagonist sees, and judge the subject according, we know precious little about the head we’re in. [Note to the author: Have you read Dürrenmatt’s The Assignment?]

 

2nd: Sky Lighter

A story within a story. And in this world, stories and songs are a kind of currency, so it is a perfect fit. Another subtle piece, embedding a legend in an interaction, showing how powerful a story can be. Imagery and sensory detail pull us physically into this brief exchange, hypnotising us so that the magical realism feels wholly natural.

 

3rd: Sprezzura

Words as potent talismanic tokens of power. Our unconventional, intelligent protagonist whose mind we inhabit has an obsession. His love – or hate – for words is a kind of synaesthesia. He feels them, tastes them, chokes upon them and desperately wishes to use them. His observations are as accurate as his memories while the reader considers his objectivity.

 

Highly Commended: The Smart Loser’s Guide to Surviving High School

Painfully sharp. In a voice both sassy and vulnerable, this piece shows the agony of trying to find an identity while still fitting in. Written in the form of a list, it highlights the impossibility and contradictions inherent in meeting social expectations.

“Talk about yourself. Talk over people. Talk more. Don’t listen, don’t ask questions, just talk.”

 

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 Second Quarter 2017 — in alphabetical order

 

A Kind of Kidnapping by Vanessa Savage

A Pumpkin in the Scatter Zone by Neil A. Edwards

Afternoon Delight by Susan Howe

Angel by Emily Sharma

Another Coffee by Guy Russell

Ashes to Ashes by Sherri Turner

Behind Her Eyelids by Jane Westwell

Bikini by Sherri Turner

Black Coffee and Shampoo by Donna Louise Greenwood

Cuts by Susan Howe

Dog Days by Vanessa Savage

Founders of Rome by Sharon Boyle

Grandma's Christmas Cake by Ian Burton

Is That Everything? by Amina Gautier

Melange by Karen Jones

Parabolas by Christopher Stanley

Photo Album Number Five of Ten by Julia Anderson

Plans by SJ King

Promises by Brindley Hallam Dennis

Sky Lighter by Tracy Fells

Sprezzura by Pam Morrison

Step to the Edge by Linda Grierson-Irish

The Pilgrimage by Pam Keevil

The Smart Loser’s Guide to Surviving High School by Grace Miller

What's Inside Me by Jamie D Stacey

 

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

 

A Kind of Kidnapping by Vanessa Savage

A Picnic in the Park by Diane Simmons

A Pumpkin in the Scatter Zone by Neil A. Edwards

Afternoon Delight by Susan Howe

Angel by Emily Sharma

Another Coffee by Guy Russell

Ashes to Ashes by Sherri Turner

Behind Her Eyelids by Jane Westwell

Bikini by Sherri Turner

Black Coffee and Shampoo by Donna Louise Greenwood

Certain Ways by Maxine Alterio

Confessions Found Etched in a Yew Tree by Mervyn Marshall

Cuts by Susan Howe

Dog Days by Vanessa Savage

Founders of Rome by Sharon Boyle

Going off Suit by FJ Morris

Grandma's Christmas Cake by Ian Burton

Heat by Taria Karillion

I Get It by Sarah Gunton

Is That Everything? by Amina Gautier

Mayday by Helen Kampfner

Melange by Karen Jones

Out of the Mouths of Babes and Sucklings by Colleen MacMahon

Parabolas by Christopher Stanley

Photo Album Number Five of Ten by Julia Anderson

Planet Earth Will Soon Be Closing, Please Make Your Final Choices by Taria Karillion

Plans by SJ King

Porkin' in Heaven by Sharon Boyle

Promises by Brindley Hallam Dennis

Sky Lighter by Tracy Fells

Snakes by Carolyn Paul Branch

Sprezzura by Pam Morrison

Step to the Edge by Linda Grierson-Irish

Sunshine after the Rain by Douglas Bruton

The First Stone by FJ Morris

The Next Chapter by Matt Bourn

The Pilgrimage by Pam Keevil

The Sleeping Girl by Nigel Ashcroft

The Smart Loser’s Guide to Surviving High School by Grace Miller

The Words in the Space Between Us by Rachael Dunlop

Time’s Up by Karen Silverthorne

Twice You Have Painted a Lighthouse by Rhona Millar

Veteran by Ciaran Chillingworth

What's Inside Me by Jamie D Stacey