And the Winners Are…

To celebrate National Short Story Week, the winners of the Solstice Shorts Festival Short Story Competition were announced last night at the Story Sessions

COMPWINNER email

(Trumpets, drum roll, searchlights… you know, that sort of thing)

Congratulations to:

Andrew Gepp
Cindy George
David Mathews
David Turnbull
Deschaney Tate
Emma Timpany
Helen Morris
Jayne Pickering
Pippa Gladhill
Sarah Evans
Tannith Perry
William Davidson

We are delighted to congratulate our twelve winners, who will receive various prizes including a surprisingly untacky trophy, and whose stories will be read at the festival, and published alongside a story from each of the judges in the forthcoming anthology, Solstice Shorts: 16 stories about time.

Five Judges Special Recommendations will be announced at the festival at SUNSET.

Thanks to everyone who took part (all 106 of you), we appreciate your interest in our festival which we hope is the first of many, so there will be other opportunities in the future.

Short-listed writers will receive brief feedback sometime next week.

Solstice Shorts Shortlisted authors – some detail

We asked all the shortlisted authors to provide us with a short biography – here’s what they have to say for themselves:

Alex Bruty has always lived in Swansea and doubts she will ever escape. She consoles herself by living in her imagination where unspeakable things are prone to happening. She has a MLitt in Creative Writing and focuses on writing short stories and flash fiction. Stories tend to arrive whilst she’s walking Mr Blueberry the whippet and Coconuts the lurcher; they have started to badger her for their share of royalties. She is currently mentoring with the Womentoring project and plans to keep doing so until they discover she’s an impostor.
List of Publications (all short stories)
‘The Cold Fire’  In Creative Writing Journal ‘From Glasgow to Saturn’
‘The Box’ In an Ink Pantry anthology.
‘You Me and The Moon’ Extract in ‘Glitterwolf’ magazine.
‘You Me and The Moon’ Published in full in ‘Chase the Moon’ magazine.
‘The Elephant’ due out on ‘Ink Tears’ in December

Andrew Gepp is a writer; he lives in North London.

Angela Graham speaks Welsh with a strong Ulster accent. She is a tv producer and writer. She is an award-winning feature film producer and has just made her first radio documentary, about Welsh war memorials, for BBC Radio Wales. She loves writing short stories and last year received a bursary from Literature Wales towards a collection. She recently had the pleasure of sharing a gig as a poet with Jasmine Donahaye, Gillian Clarke and Christine De Luca and has just finished five years of teaching documentary-making at Cardiff University.  She is currently producing a tv series about the ancestral DNA of Wales.

Bartle Sawbridge was born in Bath, and has lived in SE London for 30 years. He has had short stories performed on BBC Radio 4 and published by Arachne Press.
He has completed one novel, ‘A Piece of String’, and has a sequel in progress.

Cindy George is a writer and teacher based in Coventry. She has done many jobs, from advertising copywriter to music journalist, to teacher of academic English for foreign students.  She now mainly writes fiction and poetry. She has an MA in Writing from Warwick University, and two unappreciative cats.

For 35 years David Mathews  was a work psychologist. That gave him a license to mind other people’s business. He comes from Wales and lives in Bath and SW France. Recently his collection of short stories was shortlisted for the Impress Prize, Brittle Star magazine published his story ‘Florence, who made mustard’, and Audio Arcadia are currently recording ‘Removed’ about a man who looks for stones.

David Turnbull is a member of Clockhouse London Writers. His recent short fiction has appeared in Best British Fantasy 2014 (Salt Publishing), Life is a Roller Coaster (Kind of Hurricane Press) and Horror Uncut (Gray Friar Press). His story ‘He Slashed Some Lines For Wiskers’ featured in the October Liars’ League ‘Slash & Burn’ themed event.

Dizz Tate is a recent graduate, with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Goldsmiths University. She writes poems, plays, and stories. She lives in London.  @dizzdizzdizz

Eamonn Griffin  sometimes writes short stories.
http://www.eamonngriffin.co.uk and @eamonngriffin

Emma Timpany was born and grew up in the far south of New Zealand. A pamphlet of her stories is forthcoming from Red Squirrel Press in April 2015 and a collection will be published by Cultured Llama Press in September 2015. Her most recent stories have appeared in Dream Catcher, The Interpreter’s House and takahē. She is one of the organisers of Falmouth-based live literature event, Telltales (www.telltales.org.uk).
www.emmatimpany.wordpress.com

Frances Gapper’s story collection Absent Kisses was published by Diva Books in 2002 and a flash fiction booklet The Tiny Key by Sylph Editions in 2009. Stories  have appeared in Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off, a Penguin anthology edited by Ali Smith, Sarah Wood and Kasia Boddy, the London Magazine online, the Reader’s Digest, Ireland-based magazine The Moth and Plymouth University’s Short Fiction.

Helen Morris lives and works in Essex. Her distinguishing features are the amount of washing she does (3 sons) and the amount of time she spends swimming. she has just started writing after a life spent reading and drinking. This is the second story she has written.

Jayne Pickering enjoys creative writing, especially experimental pieces, and reading literature of all genres. She is naturally curious and her life has been spent predominantly in academia (firstly reading Philosophy and English Literature and then undertaking degrees in Psychology).

Jodie Ashdown is studying an MA in Creative Writing at Cardiff University, focusing on science fiction, horror and post humanism through prose. She is an avid surfer, has backpacked all over the world and really enjoys a nice glass of red. She has just started to hold her own creative writing workshops in and around Cardiff, and has previously had a poem published in ‘Furies: An Anthology for Women Warriors’.

Lada Redley is an emerging writer living in London, she is doing MA English Language and Creative Writing at University of Westminster. Lada’s flash fiction piece ‘A Stranger with no Agenda’ has been recently published in  online magazine The Wells Street Journal. Lada loves travelling and enjoys her life in London.

Max Dunbar was born in London in 1981. He recently finished a full-length novel and his short fiction has appeared in various print and web journals. He also writes criticism for 3:AM and Butterflies and Wheels. He blogs at http://maxdunbar.wordpress.com/ and tweets at http://twitter.com/MaxDunbar1.

Paul B Cohen is a native of Manchester, He read English at the University of Leeds, took a Master of Arts in English at Vanderbilt University, and gained a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. His plays have been produced in LA, Miami, Orlando, and New York City. He is now focused on writing literary fiction. Recent short stories have appeared, or are forthcoming, in ‘Poetica Magazine’ and ‘Conclave: A Journal of Character’.  His tale ‘Lecha Dodi’ has just won the Moment-Karma Foundation Short Story Competition for 2014. http://www.paulbcohen.com

Pauline Walker was commissioned to write a short story by StrongBack Productions and a sonnet celebrating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a Dream’ speech for Tangle International’s tour of south west England.
Her short story ‘Always Smiling’ was read at Are You Sitting Comfortably by White Rabbit.  And she has had a poem published by Forward Poetry.
Pauline is currently writing a novel.

Peter Adkins is a writer based in Canterbury. His writing has previously been published in magazines, anthologies and journals – and on one occasion, on the inside of a bus. He is also the director of Bookmarks Festival in Northamptonshire.

Pippa Gladhill‘s work has been supported by Arts Council bursaries, her stories have won awards, been broadcast on Radio 4, Radio 3, and been read at spoken word events in Bristol and Bath. She have recently begun writing plays which have received script in hand performances at the Ustinov Studio, ( Theatre Royal, Bath) Rondo Theatre (Bath) and  Marlowe Studio (Canterbury).

Rebecca J Payne is a science fiction author from Cambridge. She has previously had work published in Interzone, Ethereal Tales, Dark Currents, Looking Landwards and Weird Lies.

Rhiannon Jones has loved stories for as long as she can remember and having worked in a Story Museum and as an oral storyteller, is now developing the courage to write herself.

Rory McCarthy is a recent university graduate and is, so far, completely unpublished. He is mainly influenced by modernist novels and poetry, and recent writers that hark back to them, such Teju Cole and Lydia Davis.

Rosalind Stopps has had several short stories published, and several performed at Liars’ League in London and New York.  She has recently completed a novel set in a shoe shop.

Sarah Evans has had dozens of stories published in magazines and anthologies. Highlights include: appearing in the 2008 Bridport anthology; having several stories published in the acclaimed Unthology series (Unthank Books); recently winning the inaugural Winston Fletcher Prize with her story ‘Acclimatising.’ She’s had work published by (amongst others) Bloomsbury, Writers’ Forum, Earlyworks Press and Rubery Press, and performed at live events in Faversham, Leicester, Hong Kong and New York.

Scott Lewis started to write fiction in 2012, having previously been a journalist in the UK and China. There he wrote his first book, a travel guide. He is currently working on his first novel and has had short stories published in several anthologies including Wizard Tower Press’s Airship Shape and Bristol Fashion. In his spare time he enjoys playing sport, gaming, hiking, fencing, and collecting both Lego and pith helmets.

Sheila Scott has recently returned to writing after thirty years varied employment as a chambermaid, barmaid, floor-cleaner, waitress, vet, bookseller and environmentalist.  However, she enjoys sitting with pen and paper turning idle thoughts into text and doodles most of all.  She was born and has lived in Glasgow most of her life with one happy decade in Yorkshire.  Her husband is first proof reader for all her work.

Tannith Perry is an American living in Bristol. She has lived in all kinds of places including West Africa, New York City and Sidmouth, England. She currently teaches ballroom dancing in order to earn enough money to enter competitions and buy books. Her short story All is Music was shortlisted in the Bristol Short Story Prize and published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Vol. 7. She is working on her second novel.

Tim Bancroft began writing as soon as he could hold a pencil, creating fantastic worlds and stories that bemused his family. He has written numerous articles, shorts and a few books on SF, fantasy and historical gaming and is now writing fiction.

Wendy Gill lives in Hertfordshire. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Middlesex University. Her first short story Moving Mike was published in Stations by Arachne Press. Her story, The Deal, was selected for an inaugural anthology, Words and Women One, published by Unthank Books. She has written the libretto for a musical That Man which previewed this year and is working on a collection of stories, entitled The Female Condition.

William Davidson lives in York and works as an English tutor for deaf students. His stories have been published in Synaesthesia Magazine and The Puffin Review.

SHORT LIST ANNOUNCED for Solstice Shorts Festival Short Story Competition

Congratulations to the Solstice Shorts Festival shortlisted authors!

Winners will be announced live at The Story Sessions during short story week on 19th November.

Alex Bruty
Solstice Shorts Logo copyAndrew Gepp
Angela Graham
Bartle Sawbridge
Cindy George
David Mathews
David Turnbull
Deschaney Tate
Eamonn Griffin
Emma Timpany
Frances Gapper
Helen Morris
Jayne Pickering
Jodie Ashdown
Lada Bakanova
Max Dunbar
Paul Cohen
Pauline Walker
Peter Adkins
Pippa Gladhill
Rebecca J Payne
Rhiannon Jones
Rory McCarthy
Rosalind Stopps
Sarah Evans
Scott Lewis
Sheila Scott
Tannith Perry
Tim Bancroft
Wendy Gill
William Davidson

Witching Hour Approaches

Your final warning, as Hallowe’en settles into full darkness and all the little witches and ghoulies come prancing to your door in  the hope something unsuitable to eat…

YOU HAVE ONLY SIX HOURS LEFT TO SUBMIT YOUR TIME STORY TO SOLSTICE SHORTS FESTIVAL SHORT STORY COMPETITION.

Ok, you can go and answer the door now.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Solstice Shorts Judge Anita Sethi gives some last minute advice

With only 12 hours left before the Solstice Shorts Short Story Competition deadline,  our series of interviews closes with some final words of inspiration from the last of our judges, Anita Sethi.

 

How do you approach judging?

“You want to remember that while you’re judging the book, the book is also judging you”, wrote Stephen King in his short story collection Night Shift – and the same can be applied to judging short stories, too – by which I mean a certain open-minded approach and paradoxically a non-judgmentalism to what’s before me, so that I avoid pinning on pre-conceived thoughts.   A strong voice tends to grip the reader from the word go and hold the attention until the very end so often it’s a visceral emotional as well as cerebral experience that one’s taking into account in the reading and judging process.

What do you look for in a short story?

“The short story, which acts like the flare of a match struck in the dark, is the only real form for describing the briefness, the brokenness and the simultaneous wholeness of people’s lives”, wrote William Carlos Williams.  I look for that flare, those moment of startling insight, to be moved and transported into another’s world, another’s mind.

But as well as flare I also, of course, look for flair.

What would you hope for in terms of responding to the theme?

“Short stories are absolutely about the present moment”, insisted Nadine Gordimer. But in the present moment often whole lifetimes are compressed – the seething regrets of the past, or dreams of the future jostling for attention.  Short stories in their very brevity of form compress time but can paradoxically also expand it.  Time has always been a fascinating theme for literature; in their very nature, words and language are a time-bound medium, moving from then to now, so time is always an intrinsic theme – but bringing it to the very forefront is a great way of shining even more of a spotlight on it.  I’m looking forward to reading about that elusive present moment but also about the past and the future, too – and perhaps even those moments that are able to stand outside of time.

The ‘solstice’ is also a brilliant day to focus the attention on the transience of time through the festival.  I always remember a scene in The Great Gatsby which takes place on the longest day of the year and Fitzgerald powerfully grapples with the issue of temporality; the shortest day of the year could well prove an equally potent point in time for writers.

Samhain and the dark half of the year

This time of year is not all about ghosts and chocolate you know. (although if you are celebrating Dia de los Muertos, it probably is).

Samhain is the ancient festival that celebrates the end of harvest and the start of winter, a time to look ahead, and plan for the lean times, while appreciating the glory that is summer as it closes. Probably back then they weren’t basking in 20 degrees and sun though.

So if any of that inspires you to write a STORY about TIME you should by now know where to send it! You have until 23:59 tonight.

Final countdown for Short Story Competition

Sorry, blown off course by exciting news of Alex Smith’s Devilskein & Dearlove being nominated for a CARNEGIE AWARD. (Imagine me waving my arms about like Kermit and shrieking.) Anyway folks, you have JUST OVER 30 hours left to submit a story for Solstice Shorts Competition.

Stories on time, of which you don’t have much left. Tick Tock!

IMG_8833

Robert Shearman talks about short stories, judging and Time

Robert Shearman, one of our judges for Solstice Shorts Festival Short Story Competition talks to Cherry Potts on the phone (not from outer space, despite the dreadful echo at the beginning!) about what he looks for in a short story, the joys of judging and the excitement of the competition theme of Time.

If you are thinking of entering a story, you have only 3 days left, the competition closes at 23:59 on 31st October 2014. Please read the rules carefully, we’ve had to disqualify a few entries for including their name, or being too long or too short!!

Spring Forward, Fall Back*

An hour’s grace, because the clocks just went back.

What will you do with that extra hour? Sleep?! Get on with you, don’t you have a short story on time to write?

One whole extra hour! get the pen and paper out, fire up the laptop, get writing!

* Spring Forward, Fall Back: A useful reminder of which way to turn the clock, even if it does rely on the American term for autumn, Also a rather sweet book by Sheila Otiz Taylor, the author I was talking about when A. misheard and thought I’d said Shelord and her Tailor, giving rise to my first ever short story. Many mishearings later I still find them a useful inspiration for writing.

One week to go for Solstice Shorts Festival Short Story Competition Deadline

In the spirit of the theme of TIME it seems only fair to have a countdown of some sort.
You have (at time of posting)

1 week
or 7 days
or 168 hours
or 10080 minutes…

To send us your story on the theme of time. Details here. I won’t go to seconds, by the time you’ve finish reading, it will have changed again!