I was honoured to be asked to judge the 2013 H E Bates Short Story Competition, and last Friday 17th January I presented the prizes to the winners, which was both humbling (I wish I’d written some of those stories) and nerve racking (I had to do a short talk too). By the way, do these two gentlemen in the foreground and on the right of the photo look as though they are asleep? I’m sure I didn’t “hold forth” for that long!
So without further ado, here are the results and a brief summary of why I chose them.
1st prize: Last Tango in Space by Anne Corlett
2nd prize: Ancient Wing by Tracy Fells
3rd prize: Make Mine Mythical by Rosa Johnson
1st prize:Something In The Mist by Katie Bunting
Best short story written by a Northamptonshire writer:
Memories Through My Grandfather’s Eyes by Dave Martin
Why did I choose these stories? There were different reasons, but… they all had the X Factor. I’ve gone into a bit more detail below:
Memories Through my Grandfather’s Eyes was both warm and poignant and a lovely portrayal of an ordinary family.
Something In The Mist was both gripping and full of insight and I was impressed by the author’s grasp of storytelling and structure. It was in male viewpoint and I was even more impressed when I discovered the author was female.
Make Mine Mythical was very funny and had brilliant characterisation and dialogue.
Ancient Wing was original, unusual, and beautifully written. Tracy managed to make me love the ‘at first’ unsympathetic main character – well done.
Last Tango In Space was fabulous. I cried when I read it. I cried again when Anne read it out on Friday. It was about an older couple on the first manned trip to Mars. Written in diary form, it was both amusing and deeply moving and ended with a fabulous universal truth. Thank you Anne for writing this. I wish I’d written it myself. I can give you no higher compliment.
Well done to all the winners of this incredibly hard to judge competition.
And here is Anne Corlett, winner of the H E Bates, with Morgen Bailey, Chair of the Northampton Writer’s Group, and myself.