February 2022 monthly micro winners

Congratulations again to the writers of our 10 shortlisted stories. Here are the results!

First Prize Winner: Straight Lines by Tracy Fells

Why we chose it: we loved the original take on the theme and the way that the science of how light works was used to bring real emotional resonance to the story while empowering the narrator

Second Prize Winner: Ephemera by Stacey George

Why we chose it: gorgeous imagery and we loved the way light was used to describe how memories appear in our mind and how when you really shine a light on recollections from the past, nothing is as you thought it was

People’s Prize Winner: The Ballad of Oranmore (or When Your Grandmother Knew I was the One) by Paddy Gillies

Shortlisted Stories

There is a Light That Sometimes Goes on by Julia Ruth Smith – Read it here

For Light is Energy and Cannot Be Destroyed, Only Transformed by Jo Withers – Read it here

Everyday Eulogy by Kathryn Clark – Read it here

Words I Sign to My Five-Year-Old When They Stop Our Power by James Montgomery – Read it here

We Follow the Wolf Moon by Kate Simblet – Read it here

Send in the Clowns by Rachel Canwell – Read it here

Summer in November by PJ Stephenson- Read it here

Tracy and Stacey win the cash prizes and Paddy wins a Recordings Only ticket for our March online flash festival.

Well done to everyone!

We’ll be back with the next Monthly Micro prompt on 7th March.

Stacey George


I didn’t take all of me when I left. I kept my past tightly packed away. But I always remembered the ephemera of my youth, those dormant treasures that flickered into being at a thought. And you – suspended in time – existing alongside ticket stubs and birthday cards; forever tied to the things I kept because I never wanted to forget. 

When I opened those boxes and let the light flood in, I finally understood that you weren’t there – that your memory couldn’t be bound and confined. And I breathed out as those remnants flew free, like confetti on the wind.


This story won Second Prize in the February 2022 Monthly Micro Competition.

About the author: Stacey George lives with her partner Paul and daughter Indigo in Cornwall, UK. She’s had poetry published in The Dawntreader, Hammond House poetry anthologies and online via wildwords.org. Her microfiction has appeared in Grindstone Literary and #vss365 anthologies. Flash fiction pieces have been published online by Reflex Fiction and Virtualzine

Tracy Fells

Straight Lines

She was the school nerd, better than Google at explaining the stuff their Physics teacher mangled. With the properties of waves and particles, it was pure electromagnetic radiation in the part of the spectrum that, miraculously, a human eye could perceive. Her classmates shrugged and stared blankly. Then she thought about yesterday afternoon, when hiding round the corner from the waiting gang, how she heard them planning to cleanse her cleverness with tears of pain (not their actual words) and consequently took another route home to avoid the ambush. Unlike sound, she told them, it only travels in straight lines. 

This story won First Prize in the February 2022 Monthly Micro Competition.

About the author: Tracy Fells is a flash and micro fiction addict with over 100 short stories published online and in print journals. Her novella-in-flash ‘Hairy On The Inside’ is now available from Ad Hoc Fiction. She tweets as @theliterarypig.

First Chapter Competition June 2015 Winners

The judging has been done and Jo Unwin has made her very difficult decision. As I said when posting the shortlist the standard was really high and Jo found it so hard to choose, and it was so close that even though there wasn’t a runner-up position or prize initially there is now! So the runner-up gets their sub package reviewed by me and the winner by Jo. But Jo has indicated that she’d like to read more from all four writers in the top spots. She has also very kindly given feedback on the entire shortlist and ranked them in the order they appear below.

Winner: The Black Garden by Ruby Speechley

A good title, great, spare writing, and very well imagined, this is intriguing, and tense. I cared about Maddy immediately, and the author manages to do a lot with a very few words. I really want to read on, and more than any other opening chapter, this one gives me the confidence that the author really knows what they’re doing.

Runner-Up: A Good Lad by Terri Armstrong

Very good, lots of superb detail, tension and clarity. A very strong contender – could possibly do with a bit more sense of atmosphere. What kind of book is this?

Honourable Mention: Glass Houses by Jackie Buxton

Very good indeed, fabulously intriguing, understated phrases that layer in the suspense expertly. Great title. I’d like to read on.

Honourable Mention: Overmorrow by Rachael Dunlop

Wonderful detail, tension, tone. Really well done, and a very enjoyable read. Definitely an honourable mention but the author might find a way to lead us on more strongly. Give us a bit more of a sense of where this book might be going to take us. Where is the texture of this book, what is the tone?

Fifth Place: The Wave by Virginia Moffit

Again very strong, well written and a good strong concept. I would have been more hooked with a stronger sense of character.

Sixth Place: Down Among the Giants by Zoe Shoreland

A fascinating memoir, with a strong sense of danger and sadness. Not a strong title, and no indication of why we might be reading this – where’s the hook or intrigue?

Seventh Place: Rose Gold: A Piratical Tale by Nemma Wollenfang

Tense, atmospheric and an interesting story. Not a great title, and occasional clichés let this down.

Eight Place: Down to the River to Pray by Laurence Jones

Well written, and very good sense of place indeed. I didn’t pick up on the tone quickly enough though – the author might try to clarify HOW he wants this to be read.

Ninth Place: Queen Lear’s Legacy by Andrew Campbell-Kearsey

Nice writing and an interesting concept. I would recommend changing the title as it steers the reader too strongly to look for parallels.

Tenth Place: Give Me the Map by Alexander Barr

Some tight dialogue and a neat premise, I enjoyed this. I felt there was room for a bit of tightening here and there.

A huge congratulations to Ruby and Terri! You have until August 31st to polish up your submission packages and email them in to get your reviews. To everyone else a huge well done and maybe if you take Jo’s feedback and revise your first chapters then the December competition judged by Susan Armstrong could be your turn in the top spots!