Judge’s Report by Gaynor Jones
It was a pleasure to read the shortlisted flash fictions for this quarter and I was once again impressed by the breadth of themes on offer, and the depth to be found in such short pieces. It’s always a hard task for a judge to choose favourites, the three stories I’ve chosen this time are quite distinct from each other but called to me for different reasons. I wish everyone else on the shortlist the best with placing or publishing your stories elsewhere.
First place: Let’s Talk About United
I must confess it feels very strange as a Scouser to be so enamoured with a story about Man United, but of course this isn’t just a story about Man United. It’s about loss, life, change, hope and acceptance. The author has handled their choice of language so deftly. There’s relatable, down-to-earth dialect but also beautifully woven words, and overall I found the piece really moving.
Second place: This Withered Eden
This story has a very excessive feel, which sometimes wouldn’t work for me, but here it just did. A lot happens within this short word count and I was taken on a real journey reading it. At times, language almost smothers the piece, which for me successfully reflects what has happened to the earth in the narrator’s world. An unusual flash which stood out from first read.
Third place: Three Lilies
This story uses language beautifully to elevate the theme. Every part of the process with the flowers echoes the emotional journey of the protagonist and there’s a real delicacy to the writing. The strong central image of the lilies holds up throughout, and it’s a clever and affecting way to write about this subject.