Text Box: Text Box: Winning Entries Second Quarter 2012

First: Spontaneous Human Combustion by Dan Purdue

Second: Boxing, Kids, Lovers by Ken Elkes

Third: Mactext by Alison Clink

Click on the titles to read the three winning stories

 

Highly Commended: Teacher's Pet by Bud Craig

 

Judge’s Report for the second quarter’s competition 2012 from Jo Reed

 

The high standard of entries made picking just three winners a very difficult task. Every story on the shortlist was worthy of its place, and I felt privileged to be able to read them all. Good fiction needs to tell the reader a complete story through the eyes of one or more compelling characters – a difficult thing to achieve in just 500 words. Many of the entries fulfilled these criteria with consummate skill, but the stories that leapt out at me were the ones that made use of unusual ideas or points of view, and whose prose was not just technically accomplished, but contained a sense of exploration and sometimes playfulness, of wanting to take me on a journey to somewhere I hadn’t been before.

 

Some stories, although well written, were a little one-dimensional in approach. As other judges have commented, even the darkest tale needs to contain a little light! Others didn’t quite round off the tale with that satisfying ‘spark’ of a good or unpredictable twist. As always, the test is whether or not a story is truly memorable, and these are the ones that made my short shortlist:

 

Mactext

The Art of Parisian Colours

Trouble on the Home Front

The Silent Sentinel

Teacher’s Pet

Boxing, Kids, Lovers

Spontaneous Human Combustion

 

These were all excellent stories. However, the ones that really stood out and make up my final choices are:

 

1st: Spontaneous Human Combustion

This was a fabulous tale, very cleverly written, that had me laughing out loud, and at the same time made me feel slightly guilty for doing so. Tragedy, comedy and absurdity were all present and nicely understated, and the voices of the narrator and his unfortunate Granddad were spot on. The writer’s visualisation of the scenes was very well conveyed, so that I was reminded of the classic black comedy of Spike Milligan or Eric Sykes. The final line was perfect.

 

2nd: Boxing, Kids, Lovers

I found this story intensely moving, mainly owing to the writer’s skill in knowing exactly how much to say. The writing is beautifully descriptive, every image is crystal clear, but as we are taken through the tragedy of Georgie’s life, the narrative never gives way to sentimentality. The final paragraph brings the tale full circle and is wholly satisfying. This was a very well-crafted story that left the character of Georgie hovering in my mind long after I had finished reading.

 

3rd: Mactext

This was another excellent piece of flash fiction that not only made me laugh, but showed great skill in packing a complicated plot into just 500 words. While translating famous works into ‘text speak’ is not a new idea, it is rarely executed with such aplomb as in this piece, and I couldn’t imagine a better introduction to Shakespeare for young people!

 

Highly Commended: Teacher’s Pet

It’s not often a story can make the reader feel sympathy for the blackmailer as well as for the victim, but this dark tale of an ambitious, savvy schoolgirl and her lecherous art teacher managed it brilliantly. I was drawn in right from the start, and found myself grinning with (reluctant) satisfaction at the final lines. I particularly liked the subtlety of the ending – a confirmation of the teacher’s continued misery rather than a startling twist, which is a sign of a writer’s confidence in a good tale, well told.

 

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

 

A Backwards Story by Ian Bowrey

A Day in Barry Island by Jo Derrick

Boxing, Kids, Lovers by Ken Elkes

Condition by Laura E. James

Down the Line by Susan Howe

Eggshells by Mandy Huggins

In All but Name by Christine Steenfeldt

Mactext by Alison Clink

Magic Marbles by Joanna Campbell

Perfectly Balanced by Judson Mark MacCaull

Please Turn Left by Joanna Campbell

Praying to Mister Scargill by Lizzie Boyle

Price of Perfection by Michael Twist

Snowglobe Girl by Joanne Fox

Spontaneous Human Combustion by Dan Purdue

Tantric Twister by Tracy Fells

Teacher's Pet by Bud Craig

The Art of Parisian Colours by Amanda Jayne

The Man under the Bridge by Amy Monteil

The Meeting by Moira Ashley

The Other Side by Anna Hogarty

The Silent Sentinel by Amanda Taylor

Tolling by Sarah Naismith

Trouble on the Home Front by David Bryan

Waiting by Renee Anderson

 

Long Listed Entries — in alphabetical order

 

A Backwards Story by Ian Bowrey

A Day in Barry Island by Jo Derrick

Alone At Last by Paul Chiswick

At Tether's End by Ian Blacklock

Boxing, Kids, Lovers by Ken Elkes

Choirs of Angels by Fiona Whyte

Clare by Lorna Louise Hutchison

Condition by Laura E. James

Conversations with Mr. Makov by Ryan Scott

Do it yourself on a Rainy Surbiton Afternoon by Renee Anderson

Down the Line by Susan Howe

Eggshells by Mandy Huggins

Going Home to Mayo by Cliona O Gallchoir

Hockey Dad by Althea Prescod

In All but Name by Christine Steenfeldt

Just Right by Kate Jones

Last Orders by Claire McGowan

Lili Marleen by Danielle LaPorta

Little by Little by Ruby Cowling

Lovesick by Michael Twist

Mactext by Alison clink

Magic Marbles by Joanna Campbell

Odd Man Out by Michael Twist

Our Pyrrhic Victory by Alexander Kingsley Gladstone

Perfectly Balanced by Judson Mark MacCaull

Please Turn Left by Joanna Campbell

Praying to Mister Scargill by Lizzie Boyle

Price of Perfection by Michael Twist

Snowglobe Girl by Joanne Fox

Something Old, Something New by Maria Farrell

Spontaneous Human Combustion by Dan Purdue

Tantric Twister by Tracy Fells

Teacher's Pet by Bud Craig

The Art of Parisian Colours by Amanda Jayne

The Buzz by Fiore Ramacciotti

The Leafleteer by Dermot McKeone

The Man under the Bridge by Amy Monteil

The Meeting by Moira Ashley

The Other Side by Anna Hogarty

The Portrait Artist by Robert Jenkins

The Silent Sentinel by Amanda Taylor

This Far North by Rosie Irish

Tolling by Sarah Naismith

Trouble on the Home Front by David Bryan

Waiting by Renee Anderson