Bristol Short Story Prize awards ceremony took place so I can now reveal that this year's winner is...
... Valerie O'Riordan with her story, Mum's the Word. Congratulations, Valerie!
A stunning story, and - take note! - it is one page long. Yes, it is flash fiction, several hundred words, and it won the prize against stories whose lengths were up to 3000. This goes to show, as I've been saying for a while, that it is never necessary, when entering a short story competition, to enter only those stories that are as close to the maximum word limit as possible. A story is as long as it should be, this story is utterly complete, and it took the judges' breath away. (Keep this in mind as the deadline for the Sean O'Faolain short story competition deadline looms on July 31st. Stories of all lengths very very welcome!)
Congratulations to the 2nd and 3rd prize winners, Ian Madden and Rachel Howard, and the entire shortlist, all of whom are published in the Bristol Short Story Prize 3 anthology, which has the gorgeous cover above. Buy your copy now!
It was wonderful meeting many of the shortlisted writers last night, and hearing the ever-inspiring Sarah Salway share her thoughts about the short story, urging us not to waste our lives reading anything that declares either that "the short story is dead" or that "the short story is being revived" because neither is true, the short story is and always has been alive and well! She suggested that the next time we run into someone who says "I don't read short stories", we suggest a few titles they might like to try, an excellent idea. One of her recommendations is Lydia Davis, whose Collected Stories I am reading now for review for The Short Review. It is mind-blowingly good!
All in all, a great short-story-filled birthday yesterday, now I'm recovering and wondering what this new decade will bring. One thing is that Sarah S and I will have news to share regarding short stories, but more on that soon. Now, I need to get on with some writing!