2020 First Chapter Competition Longlist

 

Many thanks to everyone that entered the 2020 First Chapter Competition. Louise Walters and I have read a lot of novel openings to make the longlist decision. We received 308 entries and have a longlist of 36, which we’ll now be choosing a shortlist of 10 from to go to our final judge, Carrie Plitt, literary agent with Felicity Bryan Associates.

Congratulations to all the writers who stories are listed below. We’re still reading anonymously at this stage so please don’t let anymore know what your story is called if you’ve made it through!

 

2020 First Chapter Competition Longlist

  1. A Charm To Mend Lost Causes
  2. A Whisper In The Woods
  3. Boy Nightingale
  4. Brantwood
  5. Down Came A Blackbird
  6. Flatfoot In Fleece
  7. Girls Like Us
  8. Hush
  9. In Our Father’s House
  10. Iris Vine Remembers
  11. Jack
  12. Level 44
  13. Life After The End Of The World
  14. Love
  15. Love The Dark Days
  16. Motor City Resolve
  17. No Woman Is An Island
  18. Passing Through Fire
  19. Static
  20. Summers With My Father
  21. Swimming Lesson
  22. The Book Of Gates
  23. The Candidate’s Husband
  24. The Circle
  25. The Cuckoo Clock
  26. The History And Remarkable Life Of Octavia Swallow
  27. The Inquisitor’s Papers
  28. The Katie Experiment
  29. The Orchid Child
  30. The Pearls, The Lake, And Yoshio
  31. The Slighting Of Livia Rathbone
  32. The Slow Knife
  33. The Sunday Painters
  34. We Make Dreams
  35. Words We Shoud’ve Said
  36. Your Sorrows Rise

 

We’ll be re-reading these chapters now and will have the shortlist in the first week of April.

We asked our members and followers about who they would like to see judging the 2021 competition and the unanimous decision was for it to be an indie publisher. So we’ve got a very exciting one lined up, which we’ll be announcing when the new competition details go live later this year.

We’re also very excited to have partnered with Casa Ana Retreats for the 2021 competition. Find out more about Casa Ana here. I’m lucky enough to be their guest mentor for a 2-week retreat later this year, so if you fancy some writing time in the mountains in southern Spain with 1-1 support to develop your novel, short/flash fiction or memoir, then come join me!

 

2019 Short Story and Flash Fiction Prize Winners

2019 Short Story and Flash Fiction Prize Winners

We’re very excited to announce the winners of the 2019 Short Story and Flash Fiction prizes. Many thanks to our judges for taking on the tough job of choosing the winners from the shortlisted stories. Angela Readman picked our winning short stories and Meg Pokrass our flash fictions.

Well done to all of the writers who made our long and shortlists and a HUGE congratulations to the winners of the top 3 spots.

2019 RW Short Story Prize Winners

I was delighted to judge this competition; of all the competitions I’ve worked on this was the closest. Any of the stories in the shortlist would have been worthy winners, the standard was exceptional. Each story varied in subject and style, but was impeccably structured. I read each story in the shortlist a few times, and my top five even more. I took my time, and ultimately chose the stories I couldn’t forget even after a few days had passed. I’d like to congratulate all the writers who made the shortlist and want them to know they all wrote stories I am certain will find a place in the world and be read for years. It was difficult to choose only three out of so many wonderful stories, but, in the end, I had to choose the ones I couldn’t stop thinking about.

First Prize: Sal by Emma Hutton

Reading Sal gave me goose bumps. The title is deceptively simple, yet the originality of the character took this coming of age story to a whole other level. The writing shone. The tension between men, women, and social expectations is palpable. I found that the more I read the story the more layers it revealed. This is a story that just keeps on giving. It deserves to be read more than once. Every word earned its place as the winner.

Second Prize: Whale Watching by Louise Farr

A delightful story of how we become who we are and the ways that we cope with loss. I was impressed with the use of childhood impressions that made the disappointments of daily life almost magical. The voice leapt off the page and continued to surprise me throughout. Funny, sad, strange and moving, it was impossible not to place this story. I know it will stick with me for a long time, the character is so compelling I felt I could hear her heartbeat.

Third Prize: Mess of Love by Jason Jackson

A fascinating exploration of the dynamics of a relationship and what strength really means. I was submerged in this story by the sensory opening and was impressed with how details are used to convey character. However flawed these people may be, the use of touch in this story made their relationship utterly convincing. The mess of their love seemed incredibly real.

2019 Flash Fiction Prize Winners

First Prize: Treating the Stains and Strains of Marriage by Sherry Morris

Treating the Stains and Strains of a Marriage is a story about the fading colours of a marriage. With brilliant sensory flourishes, startling use of metaphor and internal rhyme, this darkly funny story tackles the world of domestic drudgery and whips it into something deliciously unsettling and surreal.This story’s originality and jaunty confidence won me over! I have never read anything else like it.

Second Prize: Riverwater Cistern by Niamh MacCabe

Riverwater Cistern is an enchanting story about early love and friendship, and the magical world of childhood. Filled with gorgeous use of poetic language and finely tuned emotional detail—a visceral reading experience that made me remember (with longing) what it was like to be that young, and intensely alive.

Third Prize: Wormholes, Mushroom, Silverfish by Timothy Boudreau

Wormholes, Mushroom, Silverfish is a fresh and original coming-of-age story, shown through a sensory-rich lens. I admire the way this author trusts the reader, and the masterful way they express the gritty emotions of teenage isolation without being gloomy, or overtelling.
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These stories and all of the shortlisted stories in both categories will be published in the winner’s anthology later this year so be sure to snap up a copy then!
Many thanks to all of the writers who submitted stories for the 2019 prizes, we enjoyed reading them all. We’ll be announcing the details of the 2020 judges and prizes next month…

Earth Themed Flash Shortlist

Earth Themed Flash Longlist

Once again, a big thank you to everyone who submitted an entry in the Earth themed flash comp!

Congrats to everyone whose story appears on the shortlist below. Please don’t tell us which is yours if it’s there as readings are still anonymous! Winners will be announced soon!

Shortlist

  1. Soil
  2. Celestial Bodies
  3. Buried
  4. Undertaker, Sexton, Mourner
  5. The Five Stages of Hopelessness
  6. Ten Things I have Learned From Being a Troglodyte
  7. Terra
  8. Freewheeling
  9. Unearthed
  10. Rasul: Spa Treatment with Rosie

 

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The next themed flash deadline is 29th March and the judge, Gaynor Jones, has chosen the theme: Abandoned. So get writing! Get all the info on this year’s comps and judges here.

 

Earth Themed Flash Longlist

Earth Themed Flash Longlist

Many thanks to everyone that entered the final themed flash comp of 2019. We received 92 entries this time around and enjoyed reading them all.

Congrats to everyone whose story appears on the longlist below. Please don’t tell us which is yours if it’s there as readings are still anonymous! Shortlist will be announced in a couple of weeks.

Longlist

  1. A Carillion For Earth
  2. All This Talk
  3. And Far Away
  4. Buried
  5. Celestial Bodies
  6. Coming Out Of The Upstairs
  7. Don’t Pity The Whistle Pig
  8. Earth
  9. Earth To Tilda: Can You Read Me?
  10. Folly
  11. For Sale
  12. Freewheeling
  13. Gone To Earth
  14. Grounded
  15. How Trees Breathe In Winter
  16. Ice Between Us
  17. It Came From Below
  18. Looking After The Earth Dog
  19. Rasul: Spa Treatment With Rosie
  20. Stones Among Trees
  21. Safe In The Earth
  22. Soil
  23. Ten Things I Have Learned From Being A Troglodyte
  24. The Death Of Mother Earth
  25. The Five Stages Of Hopelessness
  26. The Rhubarb Rebellion
  27. Unearthed
  28. Undertaker, Sexton, Mourner
  29. Warpaint
  30. What She Sees When The Earth Moves

 

***

The next themed flash deadline is 29th March and the judge, Gaynor Jones, has chosen the theme: Abandoned. So get writing! Get all the info on this year’s comps and judges here.

 

2019 Flash Fiction and Short Story Prize Shortlists

2019 Flash Fiction and Short Story Prize Shortlists

Once again, a huge thank you to everyone who submitted stories in these competitions. With 190 flash fictions and 277 short stories received, Amanda, Mary-Jane Holmes and Emma Finlayson-Palmer have been kept (happily) busy reading your work! We’re finally down to the shortlist stage and can reveal the writers!

Next, it’s over to our judges, Meg Pokrass and Angela Readman, to make the final decision. Good luck!

2019 Flash Fiction Prize Shortlist

  1. Buried by Emily Harrison
  2. Cuba by Bruce Meyer
  3. How to Hold an Umbrella by Caroline Greene
  4. Love is Many Things, None of them Logical by Hannah Storm
  5. On the Death of a Friend by Jason Jackson
  6. Ticket by Sherri Turner
  7. The President Comes Home by Reshma Ruia
  8. Treating the Stains and Strains of Marriage by Sherry Morris
  9. Wormholes, Mushrooms, Silverfish by Timothy Boudreau
  10. Riverwater Cistern by Niamh MacCabe

2019 Short Story Prize Shortlist

  1. Load More Comments by Jan Barker
  2. Mess of Love by Jason Jackson
  3. My Kind by Emma Hutton
  4. National Order by Helen Eccles
  5. Prime Meridian by Geoffrey Graves
  6. Whale Watching by Louise Farr
  7. Sal by Emma Hutton
  8. Strawberries by Claire Zinkin
  9. The Black Hole of Westminster by Rhys Timson
  10. The Pendulum by James Northern

2019 Flash Fiction and Short Story Prize Longlists

2019 Flash Fiction and Short Story Prize Longlists

Many thanks to all the writers who sent us stories this year. We received 190 flash fictions and 277 short stories. We’ve had a mammoth reading task over the past 7 weeks and my thanks go to my fellow readers, Mary-Jane Holmes and Emma Finlayson-Palmer. We’ve whittled the stories down to the longlists shown below. Well done if your story is shown here. We received two flash fictions entitled Remembrance so they are numbered below.

Readings are still anonymous until we have chosen the shortlists so if your story is shown here, please don’t tell anyone what it’s called! We are going on a festive break from this week so will have the shortlist in January now and then the 10 stories in each category will go to our judges for the final decision. Good luck!

2019 Flash Fiction Prize Longlist

  1. A Rare Bottling
  2. Atrraversiamo
  3. Buried
  4. Caged Light
  5. Cuba
  6. Dancing On Broadway
  7. Die And See Paris
  8. Die Young, Stay Pretty
  9. Echoes
  10. Enormous Gigantic Titanic Love
  11. Flesh And Water
  12. Good Girls Really
  13. How To Hold An Umbrella
  14. Insta-Life
  15. Love Is Many Things, None Of Them Logical
  16. Mouse Racing
  17. Omne Vivum Ex Ovo
  18. On The Death Of A Friend
  19. Pink. Bright. Bold.
  20. Remembrance (1)
  21. Remembrance (2)
  22. Riverwater Cistern
  23. The Albatross
  24. The Arctophile
  25. The President Comes Home
  26. The Short-Term Mourner
  27. The Way She Looks At Me
  28. The Woodsman
  29. Thistles
  30. Ticket
  31. Treating The Stains And Strains Of Marriage
  32. We Don’t Kill Our Mothers
  33. What Lawrence Did
  34. Wormholes, Mushrooms, Silverfish

2019 Short Story Prize Longlist

  1. Angerland
  2. Breathing Backwards
  3. Contacting Caroline
  4. Dead Tissue
  5. Every Scar Has A Story
  6. Latecomers
  7. Load More Comments
  8. Mess Of Love
  9. My Kind
  10. National Order
  11. Prime Meridian
  12. Sal
  13. Strawberries
  14. The Black Hole Of Westminster
  15. The End Of The Pier
  16. The Eyeglasses
  17. The Forest Road
  18. The Language Of Flowers
  19. The Pendulum
  20. The Thing That Happened To Philip
  21. The Time Of Their Lives
  22. There Is A War
  23. To Daydream On Dewdrops
  24. Tonight’s The Night
  25. Trotter
  26. Whale Watching
  27. What Counts As Theft
  28. Wings On Her Feet