“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…

More…

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 OWT Short Fiction Competition Reply

Today, we’re pleased to announce that three people will receive prizes, but sorry that more than 600 others have been disappointed along the way. We’ve tried to make our decisions as fairly and diligently as possible, but disappointing news isn’t nice to receive or deliver. We take comfort in knowing that with so many brilliant entries, the authors who didn’t get the breaks in our competition this year will no doubt have success placing their stories in other markets.

But, now, here’s the happy bit… After extensive deliberations, this year’s judges – Lucy Tyler, D.D. Johnston, and Tyler Keevil – have made their decisions.

On this occasion, our three winners are:

3rd place (£25): Nathan Alling Long

2nd place (£50): Grace Wynter

1st place (£100): Hillard Morley

Congratulations to all of the above, including Nathan, who becomes our first multiple prize winner after winning first place last year. They will receive their prize money this week. In a close contest, Hillard Morley clinched first place with her short story “A Little Folding of the Hands,” a subtle story remarkable for its nuanced exploration of interior process from a third-person perspective. It has an exceptional unity of voice and subject matter and caused the judges to draw comparisons with the stories of Katherine Mansfield. Hillard is our first ever UK-based winner, so football fans will know what we mean when we say that at least something is coming home this summer! We are thrilled that we will be publishing “A Little Folding of the Hands” on this site in the coming days.

Thank you again to everyone who entered – judging hasn’t been easy, but it has been a treat.

story-prize-poster-2018

Announcing the shortlist for the 2018 OWT Short Fiction Prize Reply

First there were over 600, then there were 70, and now there remain just twelve. Twelve good people and true. Our dirty dozen. Choosing just 12 finalists from our 70 favourite entries has been hard. We were tempted to publish another list of all the pieces we wanted to squeeze onto the shortlist and couldn’t, but it would have been pretty much the same as the longlist.

The 2018 shortlist includes established names and emerging talents. It features two people who were shortlisted for the 2017 prize, which is a pretty amazing achievement on their part. One of those authors, Nathan Alling Long, was last year’s eventual winner. Can anyone dethrone the reigning champion? Find out, here, on Monday 16th.

  1. Pax Chmara
  2. Bari Lynn Hein
  3. Amarachi Iheanyichukwu
  4. Jen Knox
  5. Monique Lennon
  6. Nathan Alling Long
  7. Jennifer Moore
  8. Hillard Morley
  9. Yong Takahashi
  10. Alexander Xavier Urpí
  11. Hannah Whiteoak
  12. Grace Wynter

story-prize-poster-2018

Online Writing Tips short fiction competition 2018 5

We hope you’ve all had a happy new year and that 2018 is treating you well. 2018 could be a prosperous year, for you have the chance to win the richest literary prize currently offered anywhere on this website.

Yes, the Online Writing Tips Short Fiction Prize is back for 2018, and the deadline has just been announced as midnight on 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 and the winning story from 2017. In 2018, first prize will again be a sumptuous £100, with £50 for second place, and £25 for third. All the submission information is available here – good luck!

story-prize-poster-2018

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 OWT Short Fiction Prize 3

Competition is harsh. Today, we’re pleased to announce that three people will receive prizes, but sorry that 297 people have been disappointed along the way. We’ve tried to make our decisions as fairly and diligently as possible, but disappointing news isn’t nice to receive or deliver. While many authors may have been disappointed not to make the longlist, and 28 of those longlisted may have been disappointed not to make the shortlist, it may be that the most disappointed are those who made the shortlist but aren’t among our three winners. To those who didn’t make the longlist, that may seem greedy, but it’s fair and proper to want to win – that’s what competition is for. If you’ll indulge us for a moment, we’d like to repeat a few thoughts on competition that we typed when awarding the inaugural OWT Short Fiction prizes last year:

In our society, competition is often championed for economic reasons. An investment-based economy requires perpetual growth, and a major stimulant to growth is to create situations in which individuals and institutions have to compete. In many ways, this is obstructive to human happiness. It has given us hundreds of thousands of cold callers whose misfortune it is to cajole consumers into switching mobile phone operator or utility provider. It has left us unprecedentedly unequal, alienated from each other, working for more hours than ever before, and seeking treatment for mental health problems from depression to anorexia. Its main achievement has been to produce loads of stuff, much of which has value only when accrued competitively.

I’d go so far as to suggest that competition damages relations within a community. This is why, for thousands of years, civilisations have created designated times and spaces for competitions. The social function of pankration, duelling, jousting, boxing, rugby, chess, and writing contests is to allow people to practice competition in ways that don’t have negative effects on the wider community. A recurring theme of the etiquette associated with competition is that when the competition is over, regardless of the result, the contestants cease to view each other as competitors and treat each other as friends and colleagues. The competition has to stay in a designated space because anybody who devoted their life to “the activity or condition of striving to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others” would be behaving like a total dick.

We continue to hold that the above is true. But this year the judging has been even tougher – with more than double the entries, and still only three prizes, we’ve had to disappoint even more deserving authors. Sorry! We wish you all luck with placing your stories elsewhere.

But, now, here’s the happy bit…

On this occasion, our three winners are:

3rd place (£25): Douglas W. Milliken

2nd place (£50): Krystal Song

1st place (£100): Nathan Alling Long

Congratulations to all of the above, who will receive their prize money this week. In a close contest, Nathan Alling Long clinched first place with his short story “Reception Theory,” a hilarious, clever, and multi-layered tale of a love-struck semiotician. Nathan, who teaches Creative Writing at Stockton University, has published stories and essays in over 100 journals. “Reception Theory” is an absolute delight – funny and clever and ultimately poignant. We are thrilled that we will be publishing it on this site next week.

Thank you again to everyone who entered – judging hasn’t been easy, but it has been a treat.