Segora short story competition 2018

THE WINNERS

The winners of the 2018 Short Story competition chosen by Harriett Springbett.
Harriett has written an appraisal of all twelve short stories on the list, which we are sure will be helpful. Thanks to Harriett for the detailed response. Click here to read the appraisals
Our thanks to all who entered.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS:

FIRST An Ode to those who believe in Luck (And All that Lovey-Dovey Stuff):   
Sherry Morris, Ross-shire

Sherry Morris is from a small Missouri town, but she still gets around. After living in London for almost twenty years, working as a university administrator, she moved to a farm in the Scottish Highlands where she goes for walks, watches clouds and dreams up stories. Her monologues, short stories and flash fiction have won prizes, placed on shortlists and been performed in London and Scotland. She loves a crumpet and a cup of tea in the morning, and still has her American accent. Her first published short story was about her Peace Corps experience in Ukraine and appears in A Small Key Opens Big Doors. Her other published short stories can be found on www.uksherka.com. Feel free to follow her @Uksherka.

SECOND The Birth of God:    Rob McInroy, Beverley

Rob McInroy has a PhD in American literature and an MA (with Distinction) in Creative Writing, both from the University of Hull. Since graduating he has concentrated on writing novels. His first novel, Cloudland, is a humorous literary novel set in Perthshire in the 1980s. He is currently seeking representation for this and is finalising a second novel, recreating a real-life crime in 1930s Perth.
He is also active in short story writing circles and in the past year has won three competitions and been placed or shortlisted in a further eight.
A Scotsman, he now lives in Yorkshire, where he does missionary work.

THIRD Finding your Feet:    Emily Sharma, Exeter

Emily Sharma trained as an actress at Mountview Theatre school before working as a LAMDA teacher for twenty years.  She has had several stories published in anthologies and been short and long listed repeatedly in the Flash 500 competitions.  She is currently completing her first novel based in the Cornish town where she grew up. When her youngest daughter leaves home for University this September she hopes, once she’s stopped crying, she’ll finally have more time to write and work on her allotment. Her rhubarb gin is legendary.

 

Click on the story titles to read the winning entries. Copyright remains with the author.

First prize: £300 Second prize: £50 Third prize: £30 or equivalent €

The short list of potential winning entries was:

A Sex Manual for the Over-60s:    Thomas Malloch, Girvan The Birth of God:    Rob McInroy, Beverley
An Ode to those who believe in Luck (And All that
Lovey-Dovey Stuff):   
Sherry Morris, Ross-shire
Finding your Feet:   
Emily Sharma, Exeter

Stop the clock for a bad daughter:    Christine Tennent, Milton Keynes

 

The long list of potential winning entries was:

Just a Room:    Michael Hall, Ceredigion

Beautifully written and atmospheric, the detail of the moment drew me in. Good use of showing rather than telling. The historical element is fascinating, there are great transitions between the two settings, and I picked up a real sense of internal conflict.

Given to Fly:    Richard Hooton, Mossley

What pleased me in this captivating story was the juxtaposition between the ordinary traffic jam situation and the way the story takes off into the realms of magic realism. I was transported, thanks to the effective imagery, and I liked the way the magical element brought about a change in the supporting character.

Taking Flight:    Elizabeth Howell, Néré, France

An atmospheric story that reads like a fable and reminded me of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. The writer’s choice of a deceptively simple narrative style is perfect for the philosophical question it explores.

Yellow Skelly:    Frances Hurd, Havant

What a brilliant title! It intrigued me, as did the confidence of the shocking opening line. I absolutely had to know what it all meant, and why. The teenage voice was totally convincing, living up to the shocking opening statement. I chose this story for its title and the strength of its voice.

A Sex Manual for the Over-60s:    Thomas Malloch, Girvan

The style of this story, in which the narrator speaks directly to the reader, is perfect for the intimacy of the subject. The strong narrator’s voice drew me in as I read the frank, informative content, and allowed me to engage emotionally with her. The humour of the narrator’s tone doesn’t deflect from the authenticity and sadness. A confident writer, as can be seen from the excellent dialogue.

The Birth of God:    Rob McInroy, Beverley

An ambitious title followed by a deadpan philosophical story that made me laugh out loud, due to the incongruity between the protagonist and the subject matter. Skilfully written in the narrative style reminiscent of a bible story.

An Ode to those who believe in Luck (And All that Lovey-Dovey Stuff):    Sherry Morris, Ross-shire

This is a modern, clever story, packed with subtext and written by a confident writer who associates ideas and lets the reader work things out for herself. Its strengths are the protagonist’s voice, the characterisation and the writer’s skill with rhythm and rhyme. I drooled with writer-envy as I read this. I swear I could hear the narrator talking – or is he rapping? It stood out for its originality. A high-concept piece.

Stop the clock for a bad daughter:   
Christine Tennent, Milton Keynes

An emotional story. I loved the title and the way it echoes through the story. The rhetorical question as an opening sentence really struck me. The mix of memories and the suspense of the present moment worked well together, making me both intrigued and emotionally involved. I was right there with the protagonist. This story shows a moment of realisation, signalling a change in the protagonist. But has her realisation come too late? A simple, authentic story about a situation many readers will identify with.

Finding your Feet:    Emily Sharma, Exeter

This story is full of unexpected surprises. The characterisation of the sisters and their dialogue are both excellent, and the situation they face convincing. The way the corny jokes are used is clever and holds the parts of the story together well, and the language is modern and efficient.

Search for me:    Ruth Pedley, Guildford

A convincing crime story with an opening that only makes sense much later in the narrative. The descriptions of bleak landscapes and effective use of beautiful language balanced the suspense of the crime investigation. Good use of back story to increase the suspense, and a satisfying ending.

Choosing Another Goodbye:    Jennie Tucker, Chester

A skilful, light-hearted story about a moment of decision. It engaged me and drew me into the protagonist’s dilemma. Great plotting.

Shitsplash:    Alice Warren, Cardiff

This portrayal of school bullying read authentically, the dialogue was excellent and I was struck by the violence. I was intrigued by the title and gratified when it was explained. We are launched straight into the action at the beginning, and the ending is unexpected.