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Beauty in Flash Fiction and Creative Non Fiction: Winners and Finalists

From a wide range of highly imaginative stories, we are delighted to announce the winners and finalists in our latest ‘Wild Atlantic Writing Awards’ (WAWA) flash fiction and creative non-fiction competition on the theme of ‘beauty.’

And here’s a general description illustrating the impressive breadth of entries we received.

Inspirational stories about people overcoming difficult medical conditions such as facial palsy, blindness, lung and breast cancer and severe scarring from burn accidents.

Quirky stories featuring characters such as Rapunzel in her ripe old age, a maker of harmonicas living in a lighthouse, a flower girl at a wedding and a nervous first-time scuba diver swimming with green sea turtles, sea slugs and giant clams in North Queensland.

Locations ranging from a nudist painting class to cosmetic surgery offices, counselling centers, a beauty pageant, a music store, a ship at sea, the diamond encrusted Milky Way and a picnic table.

Surprise endings, always a delight to read, including different kinds of love - for a guitar, for a World War Two Spitfire.


Nature playing a leading role, from the intricacy and elegance of spider webs to the aerial displays of ospreys, to the sheer shapeliness to agility of wasps and the color of maple leaves in sunlight.

Character portraits focusing on individuals who radiated beauty due their kind and generous personalities, including husbands, wives, children, grandmothers and mother-in-laws, often it being the small, selfless things they did for others that set them apart.

Arts stories, with poetry featuring in some entries, original verse as a key part of stories or famous poets such as John Keats being quoted. Music and song were also entwined in story plots, ranging from the popular Irish ballad ‘Rose of Tralee’ to Claude Debussy’s La Mer and Sergei Rachmainoff’s Piano Concerto Nr. 2.

Worldwide travel, from Canigou, a legendary mountain in Languedoc, France to the Isle of Bute and Lochs Lomond and Sween in Scotland to the immense sand dunes of Sossusvlei in southern Namibia.

It must also be mentioned here that unfortunately some writers entered their work in the wrong category, particularly creative nonfiction in the fiction category, so we would urge future participants to be careful about the differences between the two.

Some promising entries fell short of being considered finalists due to a lack of a ‘story arc,’ so we feel it necessary to encourage writers to study this key literary technique carefully. Depending on the interest level, we are considering hosting an online workshop on techniques to help those entering future writing competitions, in both creative nonfiction and flash fiction. If this is something you think you’d enjoy, please email us.

These are also important subjects we will focus on at length during workshops at our upcoming writing retreats in both Ireland and France next year. See here our 2023 writing retreats.

Many congratulations to everyone who entered our competition, well done in developing the ideas and the discipline necessary to complete and submit your work. We only wish we could honor each and every one of you for your efforts.

And the winners and finalists in each of the two categories are:

Flash Fiction

Winner: Whitney Whitener with the story, Love At First Sight

Finalists (in alphabetical order): Arabella McIntyre-Brown with The Color of Bruises; Caroline Beuley with Debutante, Donal Flynn with Not Just Skin Deep; Judith Hannan with Playing With Dolls; Kate Kelsen with Reflections; Mariana Schroeder with The Box; Richard Avery with A Glance Through The Window; Sharon Pilbeam with Beauty And The Wasp; Sumi Wattters with Airbrushed.

Creative Non-fiction

Winner: Elizabeth Stanforth-Sharpe with the story Sweet Sylvia

Finalists (in alphabetical order): Caroline Stevens Taylor with The Congregation; Celia Chandler with Legacy Of The Vine; Elena Fahey with One Night; Julie Birrell with Monster Hands; KT Ryan with Chin Up; Moira Smart with Stark Beauty; Norman Longworth with Leonard; Shannon Clair with Father’s Day; Vanessa Wright with The Calm.

Winning and finalist stories will be published (with the authors’ permission) on our News section over the coming months. We will also announce a new competition soon, so please become a Friend of Ireland Writing Retreat to receive timely details on them.

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