Text Box: Text Box: Winning Entries Third Quarter 2016

First: Peacock Blue Feathery by Douglas Bruton

Second: Ogden When He’s Not Ogden by Douglas Bruton

Third: Lifeline by Judith Davies

Click on the titles to read the three winning stories

Highly Commended: Quicksand by Adam J Wolstenholme

 

Judge’s Report for the third quarter’s competition 2016 from Chris Curran

 

I love a good short story and the best can pack a punch as powerful as any novel, but the lower the word count the less forgiving the format is for the writer.  It was a mark of the overall quality of the short list that I found it incredibly difficult to pick my winners. I read each story several times and every rereading brought new pleasures. In the end the ones that stood out were those that gained resonance with repeated visits.

The story that eventually became my winner always seemed likely to be in the final top three, but there were at least five others that I dithered over. What these shared, apart from very good writing, was an oblique way of looking at a situation that made me see it afresh. From this group my winners emerged as those that lingered with me the longest and most powerfully.

 

1st: Peacock Blue Feathery

I was immediately intrigued by the title and was pleased to see that it not only fitted the mood of the story perfectly, but served to enhance the theme. The story is about memory and aging, but is far from downbeat. In fact it’s infused with a sense of joy in just being alive. The elderly narrator revisits his dancing days and, whilst the photographs of him shimmying with his young wife may be all shadow and blur, his memories remain brilliantly vivid. Sorrows have come with the passing years, but the spirit of the young man survives inside his older self.  This is a character I would love to meet and maybe even go dancing with!

 

2nd: Ogden When He’s Not Ogden

This is a moving study of grief and loss and, if I’m honest, I resisted this for a while because I found it such a heartrending read. But it is also wonderfully written in the most lyrical language and builds such a distinctive and beautiful atmosphere that I had to go with it. I defy anyone to read it without tears in their eyes.

 

3rd: Lifeline

There were several stories on the short list with a similar theme, but this had real warmth and heart. Written in simple and straightforward prose that perfectly suits its subject, the twist in the tail is subtle and very satisfying.

 

Highly Commended: Quicksand

William Trevor once described the short story as "the art of the glimpse" and Quicksand fits that description perfectly.  The author presents us with the snapshot of a moment in the life of a ruptured family. This is another story where the title works really well. In this case it highlights the way an all-too-familiar situation can suddenly become unpredictable so that the ground seems to shift beneath us. 

 

We 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 Life Lived In Colour by Vanessa Savage

Afternoon Delight by Susan Howe

Cyan Summer by Kaori Crawford

Cyclical Rhythms by Kim French

Duck Plucking Time by Robert Walton

German Steel by Bradley Blair

Home Run by Robert Harper

Hunting the Light by Vanessa Savage

Ice Cream by Sherri Turner

Lifeline by Judith Davies

Low Fat Quiche by Debs Riccio

New Year's Eve Rain by Lucía Damacela

Ogden When He’s Not Ogden by Douglas Bruton

One More by Margaret Leggatt

Peacock Blue Feathery by Douglas Bruton

Quicksand by Adam J Wolstenholme

Safe House by Susan Howe

Sponges by Russell Reader

That's All, Folks! by Sharon Boyle

The Anniversary by Robbie Mori

The Camel's Back by Philippa Bowe

The Exchange by Julia Anderson

The Identighouls by Alison Wassell

Underneath by Graham Pembrey

Welsh Waves by Jamie D Stacey

 

Long Listed Entries — in alphabetical order

 

A Life Lived In Colour by Vanessa Savage

Adlestrop Remembered by Martin Parker

Afternoon Delight by Susan Howe

Annette and I went to Bristol Zoo by Anthony J Dandy

Balance by Sarah Dixon

Basic Anatomy by Karen Jones

Beneath A Mother's Gaze by Jane Dugdale

(Career) Going Down? by Steven Deighan

Cyan Summer by Kaori Crawford

Cyclical Rhythms by Kim French

Deathbedridden by Barry Charman

Duck Plucking Time by Robert Walton

Everybody Hurts by Lani Watt

Gene Pool Party by Steve Startup

German Steel by Bradley Blair

Green by Ezekiel Wallis

Heat by Taria Karillion

Home Run by Robert Harper

Hunting the Light by Vanessa Savage

I Am Afraid by Michelle Chan

Ice Cream by Sherri Turner

Kindling by Jack Francis

Lifeline by Judith Davies

Low Fat Quiche by Debs Riccio

Mums and the Sun by Susanna Olson

New Year's Eve Rain by Lucía Damacela

Nothing More by Joanne Elphick

Ogden When He’s Not Ogden by Douglas Bruton

One More by Margaret Leggatt

Peacock Blue Feathery by Douglas Bruton

Purple Rain by Jamie D Stacey

Quicksand by Adam J Wolstenholme

Safe House by Susan Howe

Sharks by Tim Jamieson

Sponges by Russell Reader

That's All, Folks! by Sharon Boyle

The Anniversary by Robbie Mori

The Camel's Back by Philippa Bowe

The Exchange by Julia Anderson

The Follow Through by Laurie Theurer

The Identighouls by Alison Wassell

The Meaning of Words by PJ Stephenson

Things Mr Google Doesn’t Know by Dianne Bown-Wilson

True Confession by Carol Witherow

Underneath by Graham Pembrey

Welsh Waves by Jamie D Stacey

When Sally Was Happy by Louise Mangos

Wild Green Fig Jam by Jude Higgins