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2018 RW Short Story Prize and Flash Fiction Prize Longlists

December 20, 2018
Many thanks to everyone that sent their short stories and flash fictions for this year’s prizes. We received 200 short stories and 148 flash fictions, which is the most to date and the first time we have received enough money from the entry fees to cover the costs of running the competition! It’s great that the reputation of our annual prizes are growing and we hope to receive even more entries for the 2019 prizes. Congratulations to all of the writers that have made the longlists below (readings are still anonymous until we’ve chosen the shortlist so please don’t reveal which story is yours if it’s listed here) and good luck for the next round. 2018 Short Story Prize Longlist A Beginner’s Guide To Stammering Between the Times Buon Appetito Change Cuckoo Divisional Board Minutes, Etc Exit Stage Right Fatal Mistakes Future Shock Hide, Barricade, Look For A Weapon, Prepare to Fight For Your Life I Visit My Dad Every Thursday Letting Go Like A Dog Minding Your Own Mojigangas Old School Satellite Presence She Lives Sleeping Beauty Snow Day Something Else Tears From Uncle Ray The Blank Page The Creature’s Grip The Gold Cheongsam The Great Escape The Lost Letter The Professional The Storm Singer The Stutter The Tailor’s Shears The Taken Will You Go Out Tonight   2018 Flash Fiction Prize Longlist Angel Hair A Beige Spot Beneath The Pond Broken Shackles At Her Feet Burger Raid Childish Things Connor And His Amazing Ejector Boots Going Undergound Gold Band How To Friend Your Shadow Ice Cream Last Bite Of The Kipper Let It Snow Mayim Momma Newling Old Woman Cooking Eggs, Diego Velasquez 1618 Snakes And Snails Something In The Air Sticking Point The Boar The Last Encampment The Mountain The One Thing Hate Can Never Take Away The Pretender The Problem Is This Day, This Dawn You Needn’t Be A Bird To Fly Wilder’s Day In Court   Well done everyone. We’re going on a festive break now and will be re-reading these stories in January to choose a shortlist of 10 for each category that will go to the judges for the final decision. All shortlisted writers will receive a cash prize and be published in the annual anthology. The shortlist will be announced by the end of January 2019 and the winners in February. The 2019 Prizes will open in April. Happy festive season!

Winners of the Protest themed flash competition

November 28, 2018
Thanks again to everyone that sent stories for this competition. And thanks to all the shortlisted writers for their patience while I made the decision. It was great to see so many different takes on the protest theme. Winner: Lumpen by Jennifer Riddalls Why I chose it: This is beautifully written and despite the harrowing subject matter, filled with hope. The narrator’s voice perfectly blends despair with the underlying belief that things will change for the better. As it recreates the building of the wall between East and West Germany in 1961, the story shines a light on the ways societies today are being led down the same divisive path, while also leaving us with the message that there will always be those who protest against it and spread a message of togetherness, peace and love.   Runner-Up: The Candidate by Hilary Ayshford Why I chose it: Firstly because of the strong voice coming though and because the protest was one that most people would never find out about but a major turning point in the narrator’s life. It shines a light on the absurdity of job recruitment and the way that businesses feel they have rights over their employees lives and minds way beyond the job they are paying them to do. Great stuff and a protest I’m sure that most of us have wanted to make at some point.   Runner-Up: Ted, Sylvia by Jason Jackson Why I chose it: Great take on the theme and the writing crackles and zings with life. I like how it’s not clear if the narrator is unreliable or not. Is her actor husband having an affair with his leading lady, or is it all in her head? The ending is great, leaving you to make up your own mind for how things play out for these characters.   Congratulations to our winning writers!   If you’d to be in with a chance of winning up to £400 in cash prizes and getting published on the website then the next themed flash competition closes on 30th December. The theme is Running Away. Get all the info on how to enter here.   

Ted, Sylvia by Jason Jackson

November 28, 2018
Ted, Sylvia Jason Jackson   I’m at the theatre. He thinks I’m at home, but I’m here, wearing the dress he likes. I texted him an hour ago: break a leg, darling. There’s a hush, and the curtains part. An empty stage, and then there he is: my husband, but he belongs to someone else tonight. Even though I know the lights hide me from him, I shrink into my seat. And then she comes on stage. White dress, off-the-shoulder. Smaller than I expected. Beautiful. I came because I had to see. At night, in bed, he recites his lines, and I fall asleep wondering if he does the same when he’s in bed with her. He’s told me a little about her, and a little about the play. “The opening scene shows the first time Ted and Sylvia meet,” he said. “Is it love at first sight?” “She bites his cheek. Draws blood.” “Shit. Why?” He sighed. “Haven’t you ever felt like that?” “What? Have I ever wanted to bite someone?” “Not someone,” he said. “Have you ever wanted to bite me?” And now the theatre is hot. I want to say to the man on my right, “That’s my husband.” On the stage, they’re both spotlit, moving towards one another, spinning. It’s a scene he was unsure of. He thinks it looks stupid. But the director is experimental. I watch as she spins. Her hair is longer than mine. I imagine myself at home, spinning in front of the mirror, naked, trying to see my own chaos. He’s surprisingly graceful. She’s taught him that move dancers do when they twist around, where their head seems a little behind their body, and then it quickens at a point in each turn to catch up with the body’s spin. And now they collide. Their spotlights join in an intense brightness. The director was right: it’s incredibly effective. They don’t kiss, but their hands are on each other. An intense embrace, and then she pulls his head down by the hair, drags it to the side. She bites his cheek. There’s a gasp from the audience, and he pulls back, covering his face. When he takes his hands away there is blood on them, and he rubs them down her dress, over her breasts. She throws her head back and her laugh breaks the silence. The spotlight cuts out, and I’m standing, fists clenched. The man to my right is looking at me. I want to say, “I know how it’s done. A blood bag in his hand. She didn’t bite him.” I want to say, “He’s sleeping with her.” A single spot: Sylvia – her real name is Catherine – alone at a writing desk. And only now do I see what I can do. I ask the man to my right if I can get past and I walk into the aisle, then straight up to the stage. I put both hands on its lip, take a breath, and