And the winners are in...
This year we had over a hundred and fifty entries and the standard of them was extraordinarily high. This presented the judges with something of a problem since there were so many they all really liked. But after a tough debate and a few compromises (there were stories they individually loved, but had to let go) they have come up with the winners.
This story stood out and was a clear winner for two of the judges. Brilliantly crafted with a sophisticated style, strong characterisation of the narrator and an ending which promises more. A clear winner a name to look out for in the future.
This story was brilliantly written, some great description and tension here and an unusual plot. And there were some lovely turns of phrase. One judge picked out: 'scrounged for a source of light' and 'the box had shifted her perception of truth'. We also liked the ambiguity of the ending, too, and the promise of a strange discovery and a mystery to be solved.
This is where the judging got really fierce and because of that we had three entries vying for Highly Commended. You couldn't insert a slim sheet of paper between them.
This was a story full of wit, enjoyable dialogue and beautiful descriptions. We particularly enjoyed the inter-dimensional wormhole mechanics, Jerome and Simon. One judge noted that he could happily read a whole book about them.
This story stood out because of its lively dialogue and interesting ambiguous ending.
This was a very satisfying, fully-realised narrative. A really enjoyable story.
We also really liked the ingenuity in the story by Isabelle Roberts (it was very very nearly a Highly Commended) and noted great imagery in the story by Dusty Morrison, the excellent use of figurative language in the story by Jacob Scarisbrick, loved the concise narrative of Henry Hindle's, and though that Nene Obiajuru's was particularly witty. Dillan Shan's was fun and the story by Ozair Sirti was imaginative and beautifully written.
After much deliberation, we finally decided on five very strong winners.
A clear winner. This story was beautifully written, but it was the subtlety of the clues in her prose that point towards the devastating conclusion that really sold it to us. That and the wonderful way she dealt with the themes of disappearance and guilt. We also enjoyed the way she describes the changing landscape of the garden. A really talented writer.
This was another really beautiful story and we loved the concept of a character whose life feels real, and who just accepts the oddness of her existence. Rich and imaginative writing.
Again we had to have three as the standard was so high.
It's unusual for a short story to make you laugh out loud, but this imaginative story succeeded. The idea of this house of gods, who act like bored students, next door to Lisa and Ollie was fantastically done.
We very much enjoyed the sci-fi twist and again this was a lively and witty story.
There was a very strong sense of immediacy in this story and a great twist at the end.
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