Text Box:    Short Story Results 2018

First: When the Pitch Drops by Amanda O’Callaghan

Second: Miracles, Mercies and Mary… on Toast by Sherry Morris

Third: Odd Sunday by Kathryn Clark

Click on the titles to read the three winning stories

 

Judge’s Report for the short story competition 2017/18 from Sheila Bugler

 

As a novelist who has tried her hand at short-story writing, I know what a difficult art it can be. In under 3,000 words, you have to create a complete and credible world with characters the reader cares about. The fifteen shortlisted stories are all excellent examples of the genre. I thoroughly enjoyed each one and was impressed with the quality of the writing and the diversity of themes and topics.

I have been asked to judge writing competitions in the past and choosing a winner always feels slightly arbitrary. Our appreciation of art is so subjective it seems unfair to select one story above all the others, especially knowing a different judge might have made different choices.

However, there does have to be a winner. So, here are my three top entries, plus another that I wanted to give a special mention to.

 

1st: When the Pitch Drops

My reaction to this story can be summed up in one word: wow. I simply adored When the Pitch Drops. It is written with such skill, such subtlety, such compassion and intelligence. Every element of this story fits together exactly as it should.

The story covers a single hour in the life of Helen, a stay-at-home wife and mother whose two children are now adults and living elsewhere. With immense skill, the author gradually reveals more and more of Helen’s past and the desperate life she has led in the ‘biscuit-coloured house’ she shares with her husband.

 

2nd: Miracles, Mercies and Mary... on Toast

This was a very close second. Written from the view point of Grace, the story focuses on what happens when her farmer husband, Bobby, believes he’s being visited by the Virgin Mary. The story is clever, quirky (very quirky), funny (very funny) and full of warmth. I adored it.

 

3rd: Odd Sunday

Another one that made me smile. Odd Sunday is the deceptively simple story of an afternoon in the life of Keith, a teenager whose grandfather has just died. There are many reasons to praise this gem of a story. For me, the moment I realised it would be on my final list was the jaw-dropping newspaper headline midway through the story. And if you want to know what that is, you’ll just have to read the story for yourself!

 

Special Mention: The Cripple by Andrew Bell

This is a beautifully written murder mystery, set in seventeenth century Venice. As a crime writer, and someone who has spent a lot of time in Italy, it was inevitable I’d love this story. And I did. So much so that I was desperate to read more.

In fact, this atmospheric tale with two really compelling central characters (Lo Storpio and Caterina) felt less like a short story to me than the beginning of a crime novel.

I don’t know what plans the author has for this story, but I think it has the potential for a cracking crime novel.

 

 

Short Listed Entries — in alphabetical order

 

A Mile in Her Shoes by Shannon Savvas

Art Appreciation by Fiona Thackeray

Conflict Zone by Christine Venzon

Cupboard Love by Tracy Fells

Hot Chocolate for One by Catherine Hokin

Miracles, Mercies and Mary... on Toast by Sherry Morris

Odd Sunday by Kathryn Clark

The Cripple by Andrew Bell

The Devil's Food by Susan Bennett

The End of the Pier by Sherri Turner

The May Coffee Wars or How Chrystalla Kept Her Crown by Shannon Savvas

To the Person You Can Say Anything to, There Are Some Things You Can’t Say by Adam Lock

When the Pitch Drops by Amanda O’Callaghan

Where Are You, Elin? by Victoria Lloyd

You Can Keep Your Hat On by Sherri Turner

 

Long Listed Entries — in alphabetical order

 

A Children's Story by Adena Graham

A Mile in Her Shoes by Shannon Savvas

Art Appreciation by Fiona Thackeray

Books Do Furnish a Room by Peter Kettle

Conflict Zone by Christine Venzon

Cupboard Love by Tracy Fells

Curve Ball Strategy by Sherry Morris

Death Likes a Sunny Day by Jacqueline Winn

Dreamsnatcher by Richard Hooton

Going Offline by Matthew Cox

Hot Chocolate for One by Catherine Hokin

I’m a Dyslexic Alchemist by Bridgett Kendall

Kevin the King by June Whitaker

Legs by Sophie Lovett

Lessons in Love and Betrayal by Eva Sneddon

Look Back on Goodbye by Tom Szendrei

Miracles, Mercies and Mary... on Toast by Sherry Morris

Odd Sunday by Kathryn Clark

Operation Ritz by Joan El Faghloumi

Perfect Girl by Susan Bennett

S.A.D.S by Cait Chamberlain

Shotgun and Lipstick by Charles Warren

Siren by Emma Dykes

The Cripple by Andrew Bell

The Departing Digit by Peter Kettle

The Devil's Food by Susan Bennett

The End of the Pier by Sherri Turner

The Guardian by Chris Heyward

The Guest by Colleen MacMahon

The Larkers' Luck by Sherry Morris

The May Coffee Wars or How Chrystalla Kept Her Crown by Shannon Savvas

The Usefulness of Hats by Tessa Byars

The Woman within the Dress by Eva Sneddon

To the Person You Can Say Anything to, There Are Some Things You Can’t Say by Adam Lock

When the Pitch Drops by Amanda O’Callaghan

Where Are You, Elin? by Victoria Lloyd

Who Has To Make These Decisions? by Sally Cranswick

Woman Alone by Tom Szendrei

You Can Keep Your Hat On by Sherri Turner

You’re Packing a Suitcase by Mandy Wheeler