“Rollaway” by Lorna Wood: read the story that won 3rd prize in the 2019 OWT Short Fiction Competition Reply

4557996255_57faa63051_oWhen I got to my hotel room I found I had the wrong rollaway suitcase. As I opened it, a light floral aroma transported me to my mother’s spring tea parties in Westport, with the lilacs trumpeting their triumph over winter while the lilies of the valley nodded more modestly around the borders of the newly cut lawn. Once, home from college, I had seen a young woman there, just turning towards the house as I came out with a tray of petits fours. My attention was caught by the amusement in her brown eyes at our shared plight, trapped amongst the ladies, and by her long dark hair—so different from their matronly coifs.

We never saw each other again. I had dishes to wash in the kitchen, she left early, and the aunt she was visiting moved away soon afterward. But in the dreams I have about her, I always smell spring flowers and fresh-cut grass. More…

Piece of My Heart by Hannah Whiteoak: Read the story that won the 2019 OWT Short Fiction Competition Reply

Heart by Lerkoz

Valentine’s Day was always busy at Piece of My Heart. The couple waited in the doorway for over a minute before I had a chance to dash over and greet them. The woman was staring up at the chandelier, wide-eyed, when I approached. The man returned my smile.

“Do you have a booking?” I asked.

“Jackson,” the man replied. “I called last week.”

They were an odd couple. She was so thin she looked like she might break in half. Her big blue eyes darted as if looking for danger. He stared at the ground as I led them to their table, watching his footing on the thick carpet. I slowed down to accommodate his limp.

I reached for the woman’s coat, but she recoiled. As Jackson helped her out of it, I noted the three stumps on his left hand. He handed me the fur, thanking me as I stepped forward to take it. I draped it over my weaker left arm, which immediately started to ache.


Lizard by Mina Ivosev: Read the story that won 2nd prize in the 2019 OWT Short Fiction Competition 1

Sunday morning at a truck stop by Randy Heinitz

Katie was not much for similes but she once said to Darin that a man is like an appendix. They were in the shower when she said this, and she was holding him in her warm hand, or maybe it was just the shower that was warm. Darin doesn’t remember what he said back, and maybe because he can’t remember the next line the scene can’t move forward and so it replays in his mind over and over: the shower, the simile, and Katie’s laughter right after she said it. Darin remembers this scene around Kemptville and thinks of it all the way to Ottawa, where he pulls into the truck stop at about one in the morning and feels the nervousness (which is like anxiety, but not anxiety, because Darin doesn’t like that word) reach a level seven out of ten.


Announcing the OWT Short Story Prize 2019 Reply

Yes, the Online Writing Tips Short Story Prize is back for 2019, and the deadline has just been announced as midnight on Friday May 31st (GMT). It’s free to enter and international entrants are welcome. There’s no theme, but to get an idea of what we’re looking for, check out the winning story from 2016, the winning story from 2017, and the winning story from 2018. This year, first prize will again be a sumptuous £100, with £50 for second place, and £25 for third. There are richer story competitions, but none brought to you with more love: our only goal is to encourage new and experienced writers to excel, regardless of their means or location. All the submission information is available here – good luck!


“A Little Folding of the Hands” by Hillard Morley: read the story that won the 2018 OWT Short Fiction Prize 2

Hillard Morley

Hillard Morley

She had refused to move to Australia. It hadn’t been an easy decision, though she’d made it almost instantly. The question had surprised her, coming out of the blue; it had made her feel conventional, square, because she knew immediately that she needed to say no.

“I tried to consider it, tried not to answer out of lazy prejudice,” she told herself, but to be honest the energy exuding from Philip had frightened her. (A man on fire would have to result in burns, surely?)

As she walked, Ava thought about how he had rattled on and on about change, as though it were something to be desired, something to be sought after. She had made a tentative move, had asked, “When would we go?” and had been startled when he suggested the very next week.

“Just to look around, you know, to check it out,” he’d said. “Just to see…