Hot off the press! Judging in the 2016 Short Story Competition is now complete and we have a shortlist for both the adult and junior categories. The winners will be announced on Friday 1st July at the presentation which follows immediately after ‘An Evening with Katie Fforde’.
Adult Category shortlist:
Nimue Brown ‘The wrong sort of day’
Donna Brush ‘World’s best wife’
Rebecca Burns ‘Mayflies of Apollo’
Joanna Campbell ‘The shift inside’
Benedict Gannon ‘In Absentia’
Jenefer Heap ‘Cleo’
Taria Karillion ‘The Stolen Day’
Gwenda Major ‘Family Matters’
JR Moeller ‘Excepting February Alone’
Jan Petrie ‘That time again’
Zoe Tromans ‘A summer day, 1916’
Junior category shortlist:
Age 8 – 11
Lauren Bibby ‘The worst ever day’
Rowyn Clark ‘The green glowing pen’
Emily Cubitt ‘An extra day’
Morgan Dagley ‘Andy’s 11th birthday’
Age 12 – 15
Solomon Ambler-Danyluk ‘An Extra Day’
Lizzie Austen ‘You’
Florence Cross ‘An extra day’
Judge’s Statement (adult category)
It was my pleasure and privilege to judge the first Evesham Festival of Words Short Story
Competition on the theme of ‘An Extra Day’. As with all good short story competitions the stories were anonymised so I judged them “blind”.
The theme of ‘An Extra Day’ had been chosen by the Festival to reflect the fact that 2016 is a leap year. As a theme for a short story it is quite demanding. Yet the eleven shortlisted authors, whose stories will appear in our anthology, addressed the theme with extraordinary imagination. The subject matter of the stories selected covers everything from First World War trenches to breeding mayflies, the manufacture and marketing of biscuits and even the Thomson-Whewal Dialetric Neuro-Capacitor! (You will need to buy and read the anthology to understand that).
Yes, there were some tried and tested themes, such as relationship break-ups, but all the stories selected were written with verve and energy, and, in the case of about half, with wit and humour. There were serious pieces too. And poignant, nuanced writing of the highest order.
All the stories selected surprised me. In a good way. They all had consistent authorial voices, but were genuinely engaging and unpredictable. I’m not the biggest fan of stories with a twist in the tale but the couple I selected that used that device worked well because the twist was presaged, the authors having constructed the stories in order to make the final denouement work. I was asked to choose ten stories (including an outright winner). I chose eleven. I’m grateful that I was allowed a little flexibility. As well as these eleven, there were quite a few stories where the writing and narrative engaged, but I had to draw the line somewhere. Thank you to all the submitting authors for making my task so pleasurable. And, for disappointed authors, remember that this is my choice. There is inevitably some subjectivity in my decisions. So keep writing.
John Holland (www.johnhollandwrites.com)
Judge’s Statement (junior category)
I was immensely impressed by the quality of all the stories that I received, so it’s been a real pleasure to read the junior entries in this competition. When judging a short story competition, I tend to go by how the story makes me feel – to see whether the writer has created emotion through their words. And some of these stories certainly either touched my heart or made me smile. Every single one of them was enjoyable to read, so my congratulations go to all the young writers who entered a story into the competition. You have all done brilliantly well.
Ann Evans (http://www.annevansbooks.co.uk)