Winners – ECHO themed flash competition

We’re excited to reveal the winners from our ECHO themed flash competition as chosen by our judge, Vanessa Gebbie. Thanks so much for making the difficult decision Vanessa! Well done to all who made our shortlist, and longlist, and many congratulations to our winners!


  • Aircooled VW Baja by Emily Macdonald
  • Echoes of Pink and White by Taria Karillion
  • Embers by Dreena Collins
  • Grief Like the Apple Tree Grows Crooked Not Straight by E.E. Rhodes
  • If You Scream Long Enough Into Darkness by Cheryl Burman
  • Same-Same But Different by Marie Gethins
  • So You Wrote a Play About Me by Stephanie Grand
  • The Last Birthday Party by Hanne Larsson
  • Two Months Later by Jane Broughton
  • What’s Wrong with a Kebab, Anyway? by Katie Holloway

Winner: If You Scream Long Enough into Darkness by Cheryl Burman

Vanessa said: I loved this one. It is original, it is fresh, it bounces along. It interprets the theme in a very different way to all the others, and makes ‘Echo’ the plate of a rather glitzy car, seen by the narrator, a student on a Gap Year in the US. The car is all dazzle and shine in the dusty forecourt of the garage where he is waiting for his next ride. And the owner of the car – with her ‘cheekbones as sharp as the car’s tail fins’ is unforgettable — as dazzle and shine as the car. The voice is great, it is filmic, clipped and sharp — and the ending is super — as the piece pivots into the future and makes the flash itself echo. Clever and hugely enjoyable. Congratulations to the writer. 

Runner-Up: Grief Like the Apple Tree Grows Crooked Not Straight by E.E. Rhodes

Vanessa said: I suspected, with a theme like ‘Echo’, I’d get a lot of flashes about death and its aftermath, and I wasn’t wrong. This one is that, but it is so beautifully done, and the vision expands as you read. Told in ten tiny sections, all with intriguing titles – starting ‘Crumble’ that mostly build a positive, organic atmosphere, the flash builds an unforgettable  and surprisingly complex picture of a sibling relationship seen after loss. It is filled with echoes, this one, visually, atmospherically. It is beautifully done, and in such a short space, takes  the reader on a journey through coming to terms with the loss, and confronting its complexities. This line towards the end echoes still:

Over coffee, my boss asks what it’s like to lose a twin. I tell her to ask me again when I have. 


Runner-Up: Aircooled VW Baja by Emily Macdonald

Vanessa said: OK, so is there a car-theme going round?  I much enjoyed this one too, with its terrific structure, following the ten steps of taking a car to pieces and putting it back together again, echoing the short tale of a relationship, which ends unfortunately. I enjoyed the kaleidoscopic nature of the piece, the careful bare-boned prose. And it wasn’t until I got to the end that I appreciated the cleverness of the interpretation – as a scar is left in that last sentence which will echo long into the future. Well done indeed.

Well done to our winners! Cheryl wins £200 and E.E. and Emily both win £100. 

Our final themed flash competition of 2021 ends later this month (30th Dec) — the them is AFTER and the judge is Shaun Levin. Get all the info here.