Anne-Marie Garvey, journalist and writer, was our judge this year. She told the meeting that she had thoroughly enjoyed reading the very varied entries, inventive and exciting, every one of which had merits. She said that she was so much looking forward to the eBook and how wonderfully talented were all of the entries, a real treat for a reader who wants variety, style and tone from the hands of people who can take them to some unusual places with skill and conviction. Each one had a surprising angle on the short story, she said, and that it was a real challenge to choose the winners.
Her comments on the Highly Commended and Prizewinners were:
Hannah Hooton, Carvings for Sale - First Prize
Set in Zimbabwe, a woman’s personal development is paralleled by the desperate slide into poverty of the people in her native land.
Angela Wray, Behind Closed Doors - Second Prize
The story is brilliantly set in the future and has excellent detail.
Richard Gould, Art for Art’s Sake; Change for God’s Sake - Third Prize
The pacey account of a girl’s working day has exceptional dialogue and a strong defiant ending.
Highly Commended where (in surname alphabetic order):
Mike English, James: Secret Cat
A clever imagination lies behind this captivating tale. The Cat narrator has limited understanding of the wider world he is involved in and a comic awareness of his own power. There are all kinds of implied goings on behind the scenes.
Harry Goode, Bathsheba
The death of Absalom told from the point of view of his half brother, clearly Solomon. The writer is in complete control of his tone and materials, and we are convinced that this is someone of sinister power reporting on events ( always a very convincing way of adding verisimilitude to narrative) of which he has had first hand knowledge.
Anne Littlefair, Daredevil Arthur
The writer takes the reader down the wrong supposition trail, long enough to make the end funny.
Tim Love, Out of the Blue
Based in the new Berlin revisited by a man who last saw it when it was the divided city, the story plunges straight into the encounter with Hanna, his old love. With magnificent details like "the way her nails dug into him", or "we were wrapped around each other like sides of a Mobius strip", the personality of his old girlfriend, bohemian, unpredictable, comes over wonderfully.
Dominic O’Sullivan, A Windswept Moor
The story with well observed comedy has a highly unusual set up. It is intruiging, well paced and carefully balanced.