[Report by Jocelyn Simms] I’ve been reading and re-reading aloud the entries for some months and have discovered a feeling of ‘in-dwelling’ with the ones that somehow, I couldn’t eschew. They were veritable ‘cling-ons’ and became internalised in my psyche.
A splendid variety of material was presented with an emotional range encompassing tenderness, fearlessness, anger and humour. History, philosophy, conflict and loss all found a voice. The skill level required to create these convincing mini-worlds in one hundred words is awe-inspiring, for not a word may be casual.
The final batch of commended stories are all memorable and entertaining. I was impressed with the quality of the writing in the works [by Cecile Bol, Alan Kennedy, Steve May, Mandy Pannett, Sally V Pearson, Philip Thomas, Kate Twitchin and Catherine Westwell].
[Editor’s note: the competitions are judged anonymously but I have now added the names of the authors to the works Jocelyn mentions.]
My final three are: Special Delivery [Philip Thomas], which packs a filmic punch. I liked the first-person encounter, the graphic language and frenzied despair evoked. Conflict Resolution by [Kate Twitchin], which brought a wry smile of recognition, taking me back to counselling days. I thought it was daring to go for repetition but it works perfectly. Can’t you just hear these two? Authentic dialogue beautifully captured. My winner, Orchard [Mandy Pannett] is one that refused to let go. This is one of the most eloquent and enchanting pieces of writing I have ever read. It quickens my pulse every time I read it. I love the leaps it takes from a supposition concerning light by way of an imaginary visit to a character portrayed in Shakespeare. The last paragraph where we are transported to what smells and sounds like a real garden is sublime.
Thank you Earlyworks Press for inviting me to judge this year’s competition. I consider this an honour and have learnt a lot from the process. I’d like to wish the best of luck to all the entrants in their forthcoming writing projects.
Joceyln Simms, October 2019
Our first prize winner Mandy Pannett receives £100, and the runners up Philip Thomas and Kate Twitchin £10 each. The shortlisted works by the authors listed in Jocelyn’s report will be published in our next anthology. All those authors will receive free copies of the anthology, a discounted club membership (£5 for the year) if they wish, and further discounted books on request.
All the works mentioned will be published in the Earlyworks Press anthology in the new year, along with the shortlisted works from the poetry and short story competitions. To hear news of this and other projects as they arise, please sign up to the Earlyworks Press Newsletter or follow us on Facebook.
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