Judge's Report by Angela Readman
The winning stories all stood out for not wasting a word. They were beautifully done, and all felt unique. “Urineworts” impressed me instantly. It’s rare to see such scope in a very short story, but the sense of place and a whole community is incredible. This story breathes. I could not only see the lives of the people who live in this place, I could smell it. I felt their aches. The story had such a powerful ending I had to go back and read it again immediately. It was that beautiful and sad. Simply breath taking.
“More than Sex” was another story that hit me hard from the off. It starts in the middle like a continued thought and drags you along at a runaway pace. The writing is stunning. It’s the sort of story you read and find yourself saying, yes, yes! out loud in places, ‘I want Shakespeare more than sex…I want to listen to birds more than sex…’ This was a character like no one else, yet one we can all relate to.
What struck me about “Something like Drowning” was how incredibly well structured it is. It’s wonderfully vivid and startling at the beginning, daring the reader to come on this journey. It almost felt dangerous to follow these characters, so much seemed at stake, yet it was impossible to look away. I had no idea what would happen, yet the writing is so strong I knew was in safe hands. The story delivered.
Special Issue: Anton Chekhov Prize for Very Short Fiction 2019
Short Listed Stories
The Sum of the Parts
Hurts so Good
Suck it Up