The Librarians’ Choice contest was held February 24-May 30, 2020, and evoked a bit of sadness that we can no longer wander the aisles of public libraries.
Contest Judges Anne Macdonald (based in the Poudre River Library District, Fort Collins, Colorado) and Molly Thompson (Front Range Community College Librarian, Larimer Campus, Fort Collins) chose a “Lost in the Library” prompt, and 192 international writers submitted a wide range of creative entries.
The gang at Brilliant Flash Fiction will launch its “best of” fifth-year anthology during the Fort Collins Book Festival on October 19, 7-9 pm at Wolverine Farms Publick House. Flash fiction writer and teacher Kathy Fish will host the evening, announcing the shortlist and top three prizewinners in the FEED US Writing Contest. Authors whose writing appears in the anthology will read their work, and copies of the anthology will be on sale. Kathy will share her wisdom on what makes a good flash piece work, so it’s an event not to be missed. Everyone is welcome—no registration needed.
Wolverine Farms Publick House is located at 316 Willow Street, Fort Collins, CO 80524. www.wolverinefarm.org
Many thanks to the 180 writers who entered our contest and to Judge Adam Kluger who created the art prompt and volunteered his time to select three prizewinners.
First Prize: The Lion’s Tooth by Nell Jenda
Second Prize: A Night With Old Friends by Chris Espenshade
Third Prize: Infinite Morning by Alyson HilbourneJudge:
A quick note to thank you so much for participating in the Art Prompt Writing Contest. It is such an honor to have so many talented writers participate.
In my opinion there are 180 winners. Each entry I’ve had the pleasure to read is making its own very strong argument for recognition. But contests being what they are, only three of you will win prizes.
So what was actually going on in the painting? In case you are curious—the painting shows a writer sitting by himself in deep thought at a diner (The New Amity Diner in NYC) with a red-nosed waiter named Frankie stationed behind him. The painting was rendered in charcoal pencil with pastels and some water-color mixed in to create a grainy feel. On the ceiling is a old fashioned fan emitting some yellow light. That’s it.
Our deepest gratitude goes out to Judge Kirby Wright, who volunteered his time to choose three prizewinners from a shortlist of ten out of a total of 175 writers who entered this contest.
FIRST PRIZE—Nod Ghosh, A Day to Remember SECOND PRIZE—Serena Molloy, Leaving THIRD PRIZE—Tom Hazuka, Nowhere Station
First Prize: A Day to Remember by Nod Ghosh
Judge’s comments: This story is marred by several clichés, yet overall I found the interior world of the narrator compelling. He reflects on Gretchen, perhaps the love of his life, and the things he did with her and wished he’d done before losing her. Certain lines and thoughts are stunning, such as “His hands look like they are made from china.” I enjoy the idea that memory can defeat photographs by remembering those moments when light and shadow dance upon a lover’s face. I also like the line about catching a friend’s sorrow if you hold him or her for too long in an attempt to comfort—a great way to close.
A Day to Remember
By Nod Ghosh
The monsoon air hits me like a brick wall.
I don’t enjoy protracted goodbyes, but wish I’d spent longer holding Gretchen’s face close to mine, absorbing her perfume.
‘You go, Shane.’ She’d dotted a handkerchief on her face at the airport. ‘Our guests need you.’
We would like to thank Judge Paul Beckman for his able assistance in selecting three top stories; and we are, as always, grateful to the 287 international writers who entered this contest.
First Prize: It Came in the Mail by Damhnait Monaghan Second Prize: Princess Party by Jennifer Stuart Third Prize: The Secret of the Snoring Time by Elizabeth Fisher
Judge: Paul Beckman
Theme: It Came in the Mail
FIRST PRIZE: It Came in the Mail by Damhnait Monaghan
Judge’s comments: “The reason I selected this story is that at no time did the author give in and let the reader know what it was that came in the mail. It’s hard to not sprinkle clues but this author pulled it off and finished with a perfect ending. Readers’ imaginations will take them from place to place deciding what came in the mail and that makes this a fun read as well as a creative one. Congratulations.”
It Came in the Mail
By Damhnait Monaghan
It came in the mail, addressed to The Occupant. There were two of us so I waited for my flat mate to get home from work. When I heard her keys jingling, I went to the meet her at the door.
“We got mail.”
We never get proper mail; it’s all advertising circulars and find Jesus pamphlets. I’ve often wondered why people bother with post-boxes. Until today.
She followed me into the kitchen, flinging her bag on the table. I gave her the mail. She twisted it around, examining every angle.
Many thanks to the 253 international writers who entered this contest. We would also like to thank UK reviewer Paul Gray for his invaluable assistance.
First Prize: Churn by Laura Lindsay Second Prize: On Her Knees by Tim Dadswell Third Prize: White by Chang Shih Yen
Judge Ty Spencer Vossler comments: “Oh … my … God! How difficult it was to place the top three finishers in this contest. Each story was unique, deeply satisfying, and well written. Congratulations to every one of the twelve finalists. Each story was amazing, and it was a privilege to have read them. Keep up the great work. The cream always rises to the top, and you are all there.”
FIRST PRIZE: Churn by Laura Lindsay
Judge’s comments: “This is such a powerful tale. This author has a finger on the pulse of what makes a story great. The idea of using a small child, and a dispossessed man to create tortured relief and retribution—brilliant! This story caused me a physical reaction as if a cold finger had touched my heart. I really loved this! At this moment I am picturing the hanging tree and the rope still suspended from the branches.”
By Laura Lindsay
Walking. The man had walked most of the night, pausing only occasionally to cough, hawk, and spit. Rain began to pelt the dirt, drops shattering like spidersacs dropped and burst open to reveal a thousand within.
At a crossroads ahead, a child played beneath an enormous oak, digging a small branch into the earth and flicking it toward the tree’s trunk. Now and then, she would spin around to flare her long dress, purple-crimson-purple. As he neared, he saw they were toadstools she was gouging and flicking. A large circle of red-spotted toadstools. Fairy-ring, he remembered from when he was young.
She was chanting something he never got to hear, for one vigorous flick made her lose her balance on the rain-slicked mossy roots below her and she landed on her backside.