Sci-fi and mystery emerged as the most popular genres of stories entered in our ‘Wild Atlantic Writing Award’s fiction category on the theme of time.
Not surprisingly, the tantalising prospect of time-travel was popular. Innovative approaches to the subject including a character returning in time to plant evidence to ensure the arrest of a murderer and a boy sending his parents a message informing them he had been transported back in time but that he was safe and well.
Other stories focused on the intriguing idea of buying (or stealing) time, then selling it as a valuable commodity, black-market style.
Other topics writers tackled included a story focusing on how time seemed to move slower than normal as a woman lay alone, fearful in bed as she listened to intruders roaming around her home and a heart-rending story about good times remembered fondly by owners of a beloved dog as the pet nears its end on the veterinarian’s table.
Nostalgia for the loss of family members, mistimed romances and the effects of Covid on time also featured highly.
Among other enjoyable reads were a captivating conversation between a thief and the owner of a stolen mobile phone and a story reflecting concerns about Man’s encroachment on Nature which involved a discarded plastic sweet wrapper being swept up by the wind and its effect over time on a magpie, a slug, a hedgehog and a fish.
Settings for stories also varied greatly, from a prison to a bridge, an airport to a doctor’s waiting room and a pub to a moonlight night under the stars.
It must also be mentioned here that unfortunately some writers entered their stories 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 stories 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.
These are important subjects we will deal with during workshops at upcoming writing retreats in both Ireland and Paris later this year. See here our 2022 writing retreats.
Another important point to make is that in reviewing the stories entered, some were found to be well over the 500-word limit, leading to their automatic disqualification.
The ten finalists in alphabetical order selected in the flash fiction category of our latest ‘Wild Atlantic Writing Awards’ are:
Adele Evershed with ‘The Taste Of Longing,' Charmaine Smith with ‘The Second Thief,’ Christine Colliar with ‘The Most Valuable Resource,’ David Lynch with ‘There’s Always Bloody Time,’ Frances Pamley with ‘Less Than A Second,’ Jennifer McMahon with ‘Old Boys,’ Paul Bassett Davies with ‘Please Stay On The Line,’ Sinead Kelleher with ‘The Test,’ Sumi Watters with ‘A Good Life’ and Vanessa Horn with ‘Homecoming.’
And the winner is ... Paul Bassett Davies... with his story entitled ‘Please Stay On The Line.' Paul will receive a special winner's certificate, 500 euro in prize money or a free participation* valued at 1,200 euro including all excursions, by land and sea, food and drinks tastings, concerts and dance performances, and all writing workshops and author talks – at one of our retreats of his choice this year.
Judges said there were several excellent, innovative stories vying for top spot but they chose the winner due to the writer’s skilful use of dialogue.
“It moved the story along at a fast pace, created a beginning, middle and end, but also a surprising twist,” said one judge. “It was also a classic example of how simple use of dialogue can help portray two very distinct characters.”
Added another judge, “It’s never easy to write dialogue. Authenticity is key but sometimes dialogue can sound overly formal and artificial, it just doesn’t ring well on the ‘inner ear.’ It takes a lot of practice to get it just right. In this story, however, the conversation between the two men is credible. You can almost picture them both talking to each other over the phone. To create a strong flash fiction story using only dialogue is certainly not easy, but the writer has achieved this in spades.”
All finalists will receive a special 'Certificate of Excellence' in creative writing.
(*Participation package does not include accommodation or travel costs to and from retreat)