The Death and Public Speaking Award asked authors to compose stories about situations where the fear of public speaking could actually lead to death.
We also made it clear that Joey To’a Death character should make an appearence, extending an invitation in the writing prompt. Fortunately, the Melbourne based author didn’t disappoint. in War Crimes Death is asked to address the U.N. Security Council about a resolution that could put him (them?) out of business.
Katie Brice also joined the shortlist with Banged to Rights, a short about Holly, the owner of an air conditioner business afraid for the release of her former husband and business partner, and for good reason.
Natus Nihilum by Darajabi Nnamani puts us in the mind of a cult leader delivering a terminal sermon. While Sachin Sharma’s Prisoner’s Dilemma is about a murderer looking for redemption, or at the very least survival, in a prison talent show. a unqiue and inspiring angle given the context of the award and a personal favourite for this week’s shortlist.
Before we announce the winner, I want to give special mention to second place. Rebecca Hadland has made a terrific resurgence of late, returning after more than a year away from the shortlist. Her story, Repurposing, tackles the idea of fake news and coercive media in an Orwellian style piece about a radio host facing ‘repurposing’. Hadland pulls no punches, in a time where words are weilding like clubs, we need more authors who aren’t afraid to step into the foreground.
Our winner is one of our most prolific authors. While we haven’t seen much of her as late (hopefully she’s working on something bigger) it’s always great to see them on the shortlist. First place in the Death and Public Speaking Award goes to Sophie L Macdonald for her story Human Jokes. A tale about the potential futures (and risks) that lie ahead in our A.I. driven future. It also beings with this excellent opening line:
‘This isn’t real,’ I wanted to say but, of course, no words could form, as they had already muted me.
Well done Sophie and thanks to everyone who entered and of course our wonderful jury judges.
There’s still a few placed open for volunteers who wouldn’t mind helping score the shortlists, so if you’re interested, be sure to drop us a line. Otherwise be sure to check out our new comps and shortlists coming up over the next few days.