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.
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.
- Pax Chmara
- Bari Lynn Hein
- Amarachi Iheanyichukwu
- Jen Knox
- Monique Lennon
- Nathan Alling Long
- Jennifer Moore
- Hillard Morley
- Yong Takahashi
- Alexander Xavier Urpí
- Hannah Whiteoak
- Grace Wynter
Spare a thought for the dutiful team at Online Writing Tips who’ve been bingeing coffee in a bid to meet their midnight deadline to publish this year’s longlist. With more than 600 entries to debate, selecting our favourite 10% has been fraught and exhausting. But we’ve made it, just.
We’ve picked a longlist of 70, which is actually more like 11%. We could have picked any of several hundred high-quality stories, so commiserations to those who didn’t make the cut this time. These decisions are subjective, and luck plays a big part too; it always seems to me that if the previous story made the list then the next story up for consideration is at a disadvantage. You need a lot of skill to be placed in a writing comp, but you need a bit of luck too. In that way, I guess writing comps are more like poker than chess.
Anyway, congratulations to the following authors, listed in alphabetical order by surname. Next up, we’ll be narrowing this esteemed field down to a shortlist of 12, which we’ll publish on Monday 9th July.
The 2018 OWT short fiction competition is now closed for entries – thanks so much to everyone who has submitted their work. We’re still counting the entries and it looks like we have nearly 600! Once again, that’s almost double the number of entries we received last year (in 2016 we had 148 entries, in 2017 we had 300 (exactly), and now we have almost 600; if the competition continues to grow at this rate then in 25 years we’ll have more entries than there will be people alive on earth.) We are thrilled – and a little overwhelmed – by the volume and range of submissions we’ve received.
The judging now begins. Alas, we have only three prizes to award, so we apologise that there is no way we can give all entries the recognition that they deserve. Please know how grateful we are to everyone who shared their work, and please remember that with so many strong pieces our choices will inevitably be subjective.
Our judges this year are Tyler Keevil, D.D. Johnston, and Lucy Tyler. Tyler Keevil is the author of three novels and a collection of short fiction. His short story “Sealskin” won the $15,000 Journey Prize and his novel No Good Brother has recently been shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Prize. He is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Cardiff in Wales. D.D. Johnston is the author of three novels, which have been described as “Funny as all Hell” (The Sunday Herald) and “determinedly extraordinary” (The Morning Star). His short story “The Invitation” was shortlisted for the £5000 Bridport Prize. He’s a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Gloucestershire, England. And adding a different perspective to our deliberations, our third judge, Lucy Tyler, is a theatre maker whose creative work has been performed in Europe and the US, and whose critical writing appears in several scholarly books and journals. She’s Lecturer in Performance Practices at the University of Reading, England.
Given the volume of entries, we plan to make our selections in two stages. In the first instance our aim is to narrow the field to a longlist of 60 (approx. 10% of entries), which we plan to announce on Monday 25th June. We will announce authors by their name (or pen name), but, so as not to hinder non-winning entrants’ chances of publishing their stories elsewhere, we will not publish story titles at this stage. Please be patient as we try to choose between so many excellent pieces of writing. Thank you and good luck!
In our last video, we considered the similarities between short stories and jokes. We said that, just like the punchline of a joke, whatever happens at the climax of a story is unexpected, but in retrospect seems obvious and inevitable. In this video, DD Johnston develops that idea and think about what it is that happens at the climax of most successful literary short stories. (We say ‘literary’ short stories, since in other genres the endings of stories can sometimes be more about plot resolution than character transition.)
read video transcript