2020 Retreat West Awards – the shortlists!

We are so excited to reveal the shortlisted stories and writers in our first ever Retreat West Awards! We’ve re-read all the flash and micro stories we’ve published online and in our anthologies between August 2020 and July 2021 to choose our winners from.

We’ll be announcing the winners and runners-up in each category at our first Online Flash Fest in September. They’ll get a lovely prize too!

But in the meantime, well done to the writers who appear here! And good luck for the final round of judging.

Best Micro Fiction Title Shortlist

  • ‘If You’re Trying This Hard to Salvage Your Marriage Should You Call it a Crusade?’ By Fiona McKay
  • ‘Pieces of Our Boy’ by Kay Rae Chomic
  • ‘Sad Song of the Backwards Selkie’ by Becky Tipper
  • ‘The Only Way I Can Make Sense of the Word Recovery is to Smash It
    Into Pieces’ by James Montgomery
  • ‘The Significance of Horses in the Dreams of Young Girls’ by Rosie

Best Flash Fiction Title Shortlist

  • ‘Diadem Through the Eyes of the Bear’ by Donna L Greenwood in
    The Impossibility of Wings (Homemade Weather anthology)
  • ‘Drowning Hazards in the Traditional Irish Kitchen’ by Tom O’Brien
    in Homemade Weather (Homemade Weather anthology)
  • ‘Love is Many Things, None of Them Logical’ by Hannah Storm (How to Hold an Umbrella anthology)
  • ‘Manslaughter is Muddy Water You Cannot Wash Your Hands With’
    by Ian O’Brien in What The Fox Brings In Its Jaw (Homemade Weather anthology)
  • ‘My Year of Useless Miracles’ by Tom O’Brien in Homemade Weather (Homemade Weather anthology)
  • ‘On the Tideline, A Piano’ by Sam Payne
  • ‘Wormholes, Mushrooms, Silverfish’ by Timothy Boudreau (How to Hold an Umbrella anthology)

Best Micro Fiction Opening Line

  • ‘Marianne awoke to find she’d turned into a washing machine.’ Domestic Appliance by S.A. Greene
  • ‘Afterwards, all Matt could do was smash everything he and Sam had built together.’ The Boy Who Only Ever Wanted to Build Bridges by Anne Howkins
  • ‘Grit on Sonny’s hands conspires with sweat to create tiny diamonds,
    glittering under the prison lighting.’ Bird in Flight by A.Joseph Black
  • ‘A rich man hires me to prevent ghosts from haunting him.’ Ghost Blocker by Andrew Boulton
  • ‘She feels pretty in her sister’s dress, but her father’s look is ugly.’ The
    Weight of Blue by Karen Mitani
  • ‘While my neighbours are at work, I climb the fence and slash their artificial lawn into latticed piecrust.’ How to Sow a Wildflower Meadow March by Keely O’Shaughnessy
  • ‘A still small voice whispered “it’s time to feel wild again”, so I hiked to a
    secluded spot I knew.’ A Still Small Voice by Anna Grimmett
  • ‘Now Tiff won’t stop talking about that bit in Jurassic Park where they
    extract the dinosaur DNA from the insect trapped in amber and I think if
    mama was here she’d tut and say that girl’s got a gob on her.’ Last Week I
    Was Bitten by a Mosquito by Sam Payne
  • ‘At the zoo, my daughter informs me she knows why vampires are so mean, and returns to her ice cream without further comment.’ Without / Without by Nathan Sindelar
  • ‘The border stopping dreams from passing into reality is not as clear-cut as the Dover Lorry Border Patrol.’ Lest We Perish by Kathryn Aldridge-Morris

Best Flash Fiction Opening Line

  • ‘We go to the river, stand on the bank like true girls of summer, our bare legs exposed in bikinis as red as our mother’s lips, our long hair flowing like gypsies.’ Girls of Summer by Sara Hills
  • ‘She ask you if you want to make another baby, taking your left hand and pushing it down the front of her pyjama shorts.’ Buried by Emily Harrison, (How to Hold an Umbrella anthology)
  • ‘My father doesn’t shout, but his voice hurts my head.’ From Loud in
    Homemade Weather by Tom O’Brien (Homemade Weather anthology)
  • ‘He read somewhere that when trees prepare for the winter, they drain the leaves of their nutrients, store them in their roots.’ From The Places We Go When the Winds Blow Cold by Ian O’Brien in What the Fox Brings in its Jaw. (Homemade Weather anthology)
  • ‘The hyenas came for my mother when I was ten years old.’ From In the Night They Will Come For Me by Donna L Greenwood in The Impossibility of Wings. (Homemade Weather anthology)
  • ‘I can see music.’ The Shapes of Sound by Poppy Lyle
  • ‘In Venice I dreamt I was vomiting glass.’ Glass by Louise Watts.

Best Overall Micro Fiction

  • ‘In Which my Botanist Father Becomes a Tree’ by Jo Withers
  • ‘Martha Takes Her First Drive in Frank’s Car’ by Alison Wassell
  • ‘Otoch’ by Fannie Gray
  • ‘Rewilding’ by Alison Wassell
  • ‘Sanctuary’ by Annie Soilleux
  • ‘The Significance of Horses in the Dreams of Young Girls’ by Rosie

Best Overall Flash Fiction

  • ‘Buried’ by Emily Harrison (How to Hold an Umbrella anthology)
  • ‘Girls of Summer’ by Sara Hills
  • ‘Glass’ by Louise Watts
  • ‘Riverwater Cistern by Niamh MacCabe (How to Hold an Umbrella anthology)
  • ‘Python Parlari’ by Kathy Hoyle
  • ‘Shapes of Sound’ by Poppy Lyle
  • ‘The Quickening’ by Abi Henning
  • ‘Wormholes, Mushrooms, Silverfish’ by Timothy Boudreau (How to Hold an Umbrella anthology)