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Finalists And Winners of ‘Change’

First love, last love, murder, adolescence, old age, careers, empty nest syndrome, emigration, war, the environment, illness and motherhood - these were just some of the subjects tackled by writers in our latest ‘Wild Atlantic Writing Awards’ competition on the theme of ‘Change.’

Some stories were poignant and sad, about final goodbyes between family and friends, others were inspiring about people surviving debilitating injuries and sickness that almost ruined their lives. Others were funny, even whacky, with plenty of black humor.

Concerns about climate change and the damage being done by major industries on a massive scale worldwide and the uncertain future was high in peoples’ minds. Moving to another country and the challenges that posed in starting a new life, learning a new culture, a new language, was another fascinating topic.

With conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine dominating the news cycle now and so many innocent lives being lost, especially those of young children and infants, it was little surprise some writers vented their anger and their sorrow in their stories.

Some of the stories would have reached the final list of ten in each category, perhaps even have won first prize, if it wasn’t for simple writing mistakes such as poor story arc, lack of engaging dialogue or inadequate character development. 

If you are thinking of entering your story in other competitions or simply want feedback and advice from our editors, who are themselves published authors, please take advantage of our editing and guidance services. Our discounted rates are only open to those who enter our competitions. 

It could be the difference between being an also-ran and a competition winner.

After much reading, re-reading and discussion, here is a list of finalists and winners in both the flash fiction and creative nonfiction categories. 

Many congratulations to all the finalists and indeed to everyone who entered the competition. For those who failed to make the final, don’t give up. Remember, if you want to be a writer, write.

The winners will receive 500 euro in cash or a voucher worth 1,000 euro redeemable towards any one of our retreats of their choice in 2024.

We're also delighted to say that as part of our special 10th year anniversary celebrations this year, we’ve also decided to offer all the finalists in this competition 500 euro off any of our next two writing retreats, the first in March in southern France and the second in May in beautiful Donegal, Ireland

Participants to any of our retreats this year will also receive goody bags with gifts as keepsakes. 

The topic for our next WAWA competition will be revealed next month. 

And finally, just as we prepared to send this message, we received delightful news. We were named the world's top creative retreat by a leading national publishing company in Ireland, ahead of 11 other contenders in Europe, Asia and Africa.

And the winners and finalists are:

Creative nonfiction 

Finalists: Elizabeth Stanforth-Sharpe with ‘Christmas in November,’ Emma Ward with ‘Supernovae,’ Jacqui Kelly with ‘Life goes on until it doesn’t,Kate Durrant with La Bella Luna,’ Kate Harmond with Patient,’ KT Ryan with ‘A Chemical Reaction,’ Margaret O’Doherty with ‘A Tram Journey,’ Nicholas Watts with ‘The Lost Village,’ Taylor Hitson with ‘Eterna Primavera,’ Tracey Calnan with ‘Marrakesh and the Movies.

Winner: Taylor Hitson with ‘Eterna Primavera’

Flash fiction 

Finalists: Annie Percik with ‘Making An Impact,’ Barbara Anderson with ‘Atlas Archibald Aristotle Jones,’ Caitlin A. Quinn with ‘Flamingoes,’ David Longstaff with ‘I Crossed The Line,’ Fiona Dignan with ‘Two boys, one book, in Jim Crow’s Jackson,’ Gill James with ‘The Old Boots,’ Jean Buie with ‘The Bench,’ Mary Fraser with ‘Restyling An Icon,’ Phil Cummins with ‘Regeneration,’ Sumi Watters with ‘An Altruistic Society.

Winner: Mary Fraser with ‘Restyling An Icon’

With the writer’s permission, the winning and finalist stories in each category will be published on the ‘Ireland Writing Retreat’ News site, with a short bio and photograph of the writer. Writers retain all copyrights to their work.

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