I have found this decision a very tough one to make as all of the 10 shortlisted opening pages had so much that was great about them. So a huge congratulations to all of the writers who made the shortlist, and to those who were longlisted and entered the competition too. It has not been an easy year to focus on creativity.
The biggest congratulations go to our winners.
First place winner: We Were Furies by Victoria Richards
This is a difficult subject that’s been dealt with in a compelling, original voice; along with some fantastic imagery and descriptive writing that is creating a strong atmosphere right from the start while foreshadowing the story to come. Really great writing and a strong ending that gripped me.
Second place winner: Places I Find My Mother by Cari Oleskewicz
Loved the opening to this memoir, which instantly posed so many questions in my mind. Great introduction to the narrator’s world through the character in action and I felt completely immersed in it instantly and all my senses were engaged.
Third place winner: Things I Want Back from You by Elizabeth Stix
Great narrative voice which reveals so much about the character so deftly with just a few lines. Love the set up of the lists to show us this character’s world as it unfolds. Clever stuff how each list item reveals more about the narrator that makes you want to see what she’s going to ask for next.
Between the Sea and Shore by Stephanie Percival
Lovely imagery and great use of the senses with a great hook in the final line of the opening. Great atmosphere developing, a strong narrative voice and I wanted to know what happens next.
My Father is a Rougarou by William Hawkins
Captivating, direct narrative voice. Instantly intriguing with questions posed as to what a rougarou is and why/how the father turns into one. Great final line that sets up a clear, compelling narrative drive to compel the story on.
The Voyagers by Meg Charlton
Great set up of the potentially unreliable narration from Alex because of the fallibility of memories and intrigue from the fact he and his sister had gone missing. I’d have like to have more set up of this though rather than ending with the mother.
Devil-Girl by Ian Spiegel-Blum
Well-written and hooky and with some really stand-out lines and images. Good narrative voice but wanted a clearer idea of what the narrator wanted to achieve in the story.
The Last Will and Testament of Peter Pan by Chris Huntington
Great premise and stong narrative voice introducing an interesting and original concept of a man meeting Peter Pan in a prison cell. I wanted to have a stronger sense of what was at stake for the narrator though.
Unclean by Esther Mizraki
An intriguing opening to a memoir with great use of the senses. I’d have liked the opening to give more of an idea of what the author was going to write about the community and why she wanted to do it.
Gone Viral by Carolyn Sanderson
Fantastic world-building here and I could really see where the action was taking place. Good narrative voice but I wanted more about the narrator’s place in the story.
Victoria wins a free week’s writing retreat at Casa Ana in Spain; Cari wins a half price retreat; and Elizabeth receives detailed feedback on her opening page. Congratulations!