Judge Pamela Painter had the difficult task of choosing a winner, two finalists, and shortlist for this year’s writing contest. We received over 1,000 international entries that kept our editors busy for months. Special thanks goes out to Assistant Editor Charline Poirier for her tireless efforts and, of course, we’d like to thank every writer who submitted an entry.
FIRST PLACE: MARSH OMEN AUGURY
Judge’s Comments: “The unstable situation is introduced right off in a superb first sentence when thirty-three egrets appear as an omen and the locals call in the narrator to interpret it. The natural world of the narrator is filled with the sun, swamp flies, silky mud, reeds and tidal creeks, a keeled water snake, a gator and a hard-shelled turtle—and the egrets that s/he reads for The Truth, which the locals really do not want to hear. They are happy with a half-truth they celebrate with spaghetti dinners and swallow as easily as communion wafers. The startling ending arrives but the writer has prepared us for it well.”
Marsh Omen Augury By L. Michelle Souleret
Thirty-three egrets flew into the salt marsh last night and lined up in a perfect row along an old, slanted pier. The locals chattered nervously at this omen and called me in.
I wade out, ankle-deep then to shinbone in the sun-warmed water, and stand all afternoon, watching. The white birds flap and preen and shuffle, but stay in formation. I wait. The sun passes overhead and swamp flies patter against my arms. My feet sink further into the silky mud. A keeled watersnake ripples past. I wait and I watch and I wait until, at last, a pattern emerges in the sinuous curves of the egrets’ necks and their awkward shifts from foot to foot. Meaning jangles into my brain with the snapping jaw-strength of a gator and the rightness of a hard-shelled turtle in the sun. I fall to my knees, choking, and cough out a glossy tangle of Truth.
The FEED US Writing Contest was held June 1-September 1, 2019, in conjunction with the 2019 FoCo Book Fest in Fort Collins, Colorado, the new home of nonprofit organization Brilliant Flash Fiction. We received 376 international entries and shortlisted seven stories that were published in our first print anthology, Hunger: The Best of Brilliant Flash Fiction, 2014-2019. (Make a donation of $10 or more via the donation link on our homepage, and we’ll send you a copy of our new book as a thank you!)
Contest judge Kathy Fish selected the three prize winners and announced her decision at the anthology launch, October 19, in Fort Collins.
We would like to thank Kathy for taking time from her hectic schedule to spend two days in Fort Collins, not only judging our contest and speaking at the anthology launch, but also giving an inspirational free writing workshop that was filled to capacity with a waiting list. Continue reading “FEED US – WRITING CONTEST RESULTS”→
I wondered what kind of “closure” did Jean think she was going to get?
YOU ARE FEMALE & DRIVE
A RED CAR.
YOU RAN OVER MY CAT
ON WINGRA STREET
PLEASE CALL JEAN.
NEED HELP WITH CLOSURE
I came across this notice the week that Eric, my boyfriend-since-high-school, suddenly moved out of our apartment to follow an Edgewood College grad to Schenectady, New York. Apparently, someone’s cat darted into danger, a simple case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. What was there to explain or describe—unless apathy meant the driver didn’t brake or she actually went out of her way to hit the animal. But who would fess up to that?
I pictured Jean barely out of her teens, just a few years younger than me, stapling laminated notices to phone poles outside of The Yellow Platter, a neighborhood café. I had started going there for breakfast so I wouldn’t have to start the day alone. I imagined her returning to an empty apartment where a catnip bunny lay under a chair, saw her reaching instinctively for fur among the bedcovers at 3 AM. I doubted that meeting the red car phantom would make 3 AM’s any easier. Continue reading “ISSUE 16: JANUARY 2018”→
Brilliant Flash Fiction would like to thank Judge KJ Hannah Goldberg for suggesting our contest theme (the dubash), and for volunteering her time to choose the prizewinners. Thanks also to the 110 writers who entered this contest and shared their creativity with us.
FIRST PRIZE: Stephen Lodge, AXE THE QUESTION SECOND PRIZE (tie): Claire Lawrence, Amitay Dubash SECOND PRIZE (tie): Faiza Bokhari, Chicken Tikka Sandwich
Judge: KJ Hannah Goldberg
Theme: the dubash
First Prize: AXE THE QUESTION by Stephen Lodge
Judge’s comments: I’m a sucker for a playful tale. Our literary venues are brimming with doom and gloom, with proscribing darkness as the new “sexy” in short fiction. Thankfully, this writer’s piece was perky. The bit of groaning that results from this work’s bad puns and other low brow humor, too, helps readers get through their days.
AXE THE QUESTION
By Stephen Lodge
This is a thankless job, thought Aaron Schultz, as he made his way to the Presidential Palace atop the Boulevard Of Heroes in Ringstad, the capital of the Republic Of Belzon. If only I could get out of this country. But Belzonians are not allowed passports unless granted by the President and he never travels outside Belzon for fear of a coup attempt if he left the country. So, for the foreseeable future, I am tap-dancing for idiots, translating stuff from one side of the desk to the other that no one wants to hear, which I mostly make up anyway to appease their easily bruised egos and maybe prevent a war or two. Continue reading “LOST IN TRANSLATION – WRITING CONTEST RESULTS”→
Many thanks to the 450 international writers who entered this contest—and we extend our deepest gratitude to Judge Abigail Favale for offering her time and expertise to choose the top three prizewinners.
First Prize: Erin O’Loughlin, Brother Fox Second Prize: Susan James, Home for the Holidays Third Prize: Anne Anthony, Bathroom Break
Judge: Dr. Abigail Favale
FIRST PRIZE: Brother Fox by Erin O’Loughlin
Judge’s Comments: This piece does everything a flash fiction piece should do. A benign yet beguiling beginning, zooming out to reveal a potential tragedy unfolding in real time. I read it with a slow-dawning dread that climaxes at just the right moment, the moment of the “flash.”
By Erin O’Loughlin
Imagine the fox, the only spark of color in this bright landscape. All that endless powder white, broken only by a flash of red—there—then gone again. There is more life than you know, under all these layers and layers of snow.
Imagine how he cocks his head listening (the skill is not unique to the male of the species—vixens do it also). You can see he is straining his senses, listening for the soft scrabble under the snow. Then, ears high in the air, he dives headfirst into the snow, body flailing awkwardly as the front paws find purchase under all that cold white. And he will come back up with a limp little mouse in his jaws. So far this might be an acute sense of hearing, an expert dancer’s timing. But the strange thing is that nine times out of ten, a fox that dives to the north will catch his prey. A fox that leaps and dives to the south will lose it. Somehow a fox’s body is aligned to the magnetic north. In tune with it. If his quarry lies that way, the hunt will be good. An innate geo-location, gift of the wintry gods that govern small creatures. Continue reading “AFTERMATH – WRITING CONTEST RESULTS”→