Many thanks to Judge Charles Rammelkamp for choosing our contest theme and volunteering his time to select the three prizewinners. Thanks also to the 250 brilliant writers who entered this contest.
FIRST PRIZE: Andrew M Stockton, Sunday Lunch (Again) SECOND PRIZE: Lesley Middleton, Little Joe THIRD PRIZE: Mark Warren, The Cleaner
Judge: Charles Rammelkamp
First Prize: Sunday Lunch (Again) by Andrew M. Stockton
Judge’s Comments: Sunday Lunch (Again) is like an oyster concealing a pearl. Just as the food smells are described as “invisible but powerful,” so is the secret of incest that’s only alluded to. Is it the daughter’s father? Her uncle? Both? All that’s certain is the shame and the “naked, remorseless memories” behind the sham of the family dinner.
Sunday Lunch (Again)
By Andrew M Stockton
Walking into cooking-smells, cabbage, the roast, food smells, invisible but powerful, making me salivate. “Hi, it’s me; your daughter’s home for Sunday lunch! Feed me!”
Dad’s laid the table, and the tablecloth is so bright and white it could warn ships about hazards. Wish I’d had such a hazard warning years ago. Mum checks the cutlery and moves the bottle of wine that uncle Danny bought to hide a small stain on the cloth. Continue reading “CONCEALMENT – WRITING CONTEST RESULTS”→
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.’
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”→
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.