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Winners Announced In ‘Hope’ Wild Atlantic Writing Awards

With several hundred stories to read, the task, while enjoyable, wasn’t easy for judges of the latest ‘Wild Atlantic Writing Awards’ competition on the theme of ‘Hope.’

But after much reading and re-reading, winners and finalists have been selected.

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

Themes and writing styles in both the flash fiction and creative nonfiction categories were innovative and wide-ranging: some sad, some happy, some philosophical, some poignant.

Among the topics tackled were surviving wars and natural disasters such as earthquakes; enduring and overcoming abuse - both in childhood and marriage; finding love, sometimes in the strangest of places; facing life-threatening illness including cancer; inspiring stories about heroic people saving others; the joys of adoption; the frustration of infertility; loss of loved ones, whether parent, sibling or favorite pet; serious car accidents; overcoming loneliness and praise for the beauties of Mother Nature.

One frustration for judges was reading some excellent stories that unfortunately were entered in the wrong category. These included memoir-like stories or essays that had been entered as flash fiction. Some stories entered in the flash fiction category had memorable characters, insightful imagery and intriguing dialogue but failed to reach the final round of selection because they lacked a story arc.

Sadly, some writers entered interesting stories but broke one of the rules of the competition - that the word ‘hope’ be used only once, either in the body of the story or in the title. Some writers, unfortunately, used the word twice or more.

Other writers, however, won extra points due to the unexpected twists they managed to create in their stories.

With this in mind, it is worth mentioning that many of the challenges writers faced in this WAWA competition are covered by professional tutoring during our writing retreats. Participants complete flash fiction and creative nonfiction assignments following real life prompts presented during diverse excursions. These include a visit to an Irish castle and a ferry-boat ride to an island; a traditional music seisun in a century-old thatched cottage facing the Atlantic Ocean; a guided tour of a charming French medieval city; workshops in historical cafes in Paris frequented by legendary writers and an exclusive literary salon in the shadow of Notre Dame Cathedral. Such experiences inspire the Muse and the resulting assignments are discussed and critiqued.

If you want to improve your writing skills in both fiction and nonfiction while enjoying diverse cultural activities, sign up now for our Paris Writing Retreat in October.

In view of the growing popularity of our ‘Wild Atlantic Writing Awards,’ for a limited time, we’ve decided to offer a special editing service for those of you who entered our recent competition on the theme of ‘Hope.’

During this process, you will receive a comprehensive review of your story (or stories) including suggested structural changes and an overall assessment of your story's strengths and weaknesses, all of which we believe will improve your chances of winning future writing competitions you may decide to enter.

And the winners and finalists are:

Flash fiction

Finalists: Anna Babcock with ‘Germinate,’ Annie Percik with ‘The Outer Shell,’ David James Delaney with ‘Beyond,’ David Longstaff with 'Unlocking the Darkness,' Paul Bassett Davies with ‘Watch The Skies,’ Rosemary McGuire Berry with ‘Glistening Lights,’ Rosie Cullen with ‘Home Again,’ Rosie Morris with ‘Day Eleven,’ Sumi Watters with ‘Broken Promises’ and Trenton Pomeroy with ‘The Faithfulness of Dogs.’

Winner: Annie Percik with ‘The Outer Shell’

Creative nonfiction

Finalists: Abbs Pepper with ‘Reflections On If,’ Carolyn Bateman with ‘East To The Sunrise,’ Christine Colliar with ‘On The Step,’ David McVey with ‘Lockdown,’ Elizabeth Stanforth-Sharpe with ‘Looking Out From The Rubble,’ Emma Frances Simpson with ‘Rubble,’ Emma M. Murray with ‘Wildflower Dreams,’ Jennifer Berger with ‘A Loving Gamble,’ Joan Donnelly-Emery with ‘One Percent Chance, One Hundred Percent Hope’ and Judith Fetterley with ‘A Positive Sort Of Folk.’

Winner: Emma Frances Simpson with ‘Rubble’

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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