Vernal Equinox Competition results

Flash Fiction Results with comments on individual entries by judge Gavin Inglis

1st: Debbie Love for Taking Tea To Margaret

The best flash fiction invites the reader to fill in the story left untold. Here we have a gentle, familiar character doing everyday things. The writing is effortless and welcoming. Yet brewing beneath
is deep, deep heartbreak.

Read more HERE

2nd: Sherry Morris for Shoes Made For Walking

An understated tale of life’s changes, handled with a light, believable touch and an easy confidence. This would be a crowd-pleaser at any spoken word event.

Read more HERE

3rd: Helen Cormack for Folly

At unexpected times, life throws darkness at us, and we cannot always explain our actions in those moments. This story captures that, and its lack of explanation is its greatest strength.

Read more HERE

Highly Commended: Evelyn Proctor
for The Rock
With all the tricks in the writer’s toolbox, sometimes simplicity is the best way to tell a story. This one felt direct and touched something fundamental.

Read more HERE

Commended: Ann MacLaren for The Poet

A knowing, charming piece, told with an assured rhythm and a twinkle in its eye. The author clearly understands poets.

Commended: Stephen Smyth for The Headland
Economy of language is everything in flash fiction. Here, thousands of
years of savage faith are captured in less than 150 words.

Read more HERE

Poetry Results with comments on individual entries by judge Andy Jackson
1st: Lydia Harris for Snow in Viljusa on your Name Day

This is a strange and lovely poem, weaving nursery rhyme, folkore and domesticity and studding it with colourful jewels. The last line hints that something isn’t what it seems, and provides an unsettling end to a singular poem. I chose this poem as the winner because I felt the author had taken to heart what I had said on the website at the launch of the competition; I wanted to see poems that went to places other poems hadn’t yet been, and that made me go ‘Wow!’. This one did exactly that.

Read more HERE

2nd:   Marka Rifat for Lingua Ferrovia

I love the playfulness of this poem, working as it does betwe en two variants of the language – on the one hand, the sterile language of official announcements and, on the other, the warped invention of misheard lines. It takes the banal and makes it beautiful, which is a noble aspiration for any poem. This kind of poem opens up the possibilities of the everyday as a source of inspiration. Poems are all around us – this one just needed to be plucked out of the air of a rattling railway carriage and recorded with skill and style, which it was.

Read more HERE

3rd:     Kyra Pollitt for how time passes on Islay

This poem sets out its intention in the title, and delivers a poem which conveys that sense of stillness and the gradual advance of the seasons with clarity and precision. It is shot through with memorable images and paints a vivid picture with subtle economy. Many poems focus on landscape/seascape and the changing of the seasons, but something in its description of how it all fits together inside the dome of an egg made it fresh for me.

Read more HERE

Commended: Fran Baillie for Sea Cheenge

A jangling, dramatic poem of land, sea and season, with a great variation of pace throughout. Of all the poems I selected, this is the poem I would most like to hear read aloud.

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Commended:   Lucy Crispin for more trees, and the ransoms beneath them

This is a little nugget of poetic insight into familiar themes of rebirth and death, made wiser but more sombre by its ending.

Commended:  Ian Murray for Bounding Marginal East Fife

This is a dense and erudite poem marking a coastal span and reads like a scientific travelogue of one of Scotland’s most beautiful areas. It is an ambitious interleaving of geology, history and emotion.

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Commended:  Derek Parkes for Insomnia

Sometimes one image makes a poem, and here it is the sustaining of the ‘closed eyes’ image in the first and second stanzas. The rest of the poem lives in that state of restlessness the title alludes to, but the visceral barbecuing at the end ensures this poem will not easily be forgotten

Read more HERE

Commended: Diana Stevens for Time Warp in Craiglockhart

A neat exploration of a place through its history – more recent history (if I’m reading it right) with its references to Sassoon and Owen – but what makes this poem stand out is the expansive and wholly unexpected payoff.

Read more HERE

Short Story Results with comments on individual entries by judge Colin Will

1st:  Douglas Bruton for Lexi In a Blue Dress
This story is breathtakingly good. It contains writing which is both fresh and original – qualities I said I was looking for. I loved lines like ‘Lexi was almost seven and taller than a table and not as tall as a door.’ That is so good. The language is poetic and clear, and there are no unnecessary words in the story. The ending is a surprise, and it feels just right. Very impressive writing. I scored it 9 (out of 10).

Read more HERE

2nd:   Neil Leadbeater for The Engine Room of Europe

This is so cleverly written. I like the way the characters shift from fairy tale to reality and back into fairy tale. It’s very ‘knowing’, and full of jokes. It’s also full of surprises, and a very good read. I scored it 8.

Read more HERE

3rd: Marka Rifat for Spring journey.

This is a good story, well told. It contains good character development, and a strong structure, with a definite beginning, middle and end. I scored it 7.5.

Read more HERE

Highly commended: Bob Toynton for Churchill, God and Nietzsche

This is a likeable portrait of a couple of characters I could believe in, and a story about how not everything in life is black and white. It lost me at a couple of points, and the dénouement was perhaps a little too hasty – some foreshadowing would have helped. But a good read. I scored it 7.

Read more HERE

 

 

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