Before we get to it, I just wanted to welcome our first timers, Laura Solomon, Lisa Ducasse, Chinelo Oputa, Yiyu Xiang, Ingrid Coram and Gabriela Blagoeva. It’s great to see fresh faces from such a diverse set of locations.
So we ended up with a HUGE short list for the award this time round. It’s funny when you have the high quality problem of so many great entries that you can’t slice it any thinner.
I thought… let the judges decide.
Wonderful as always, our five judges this week were made up of previous NITH participants and friends of the website. I am indebted to those of you who help out with running the award, and thank you for your honesty in proving some excellent feedback.
What was most interesting, and perhaps justified such a large short list, was the range of difference in opinion. Typically in any given award, most stories will receive similar scores from the judges.
This time, that was not the case.
To give you an example, one author received both a 5 and a 10 for their story. Now doesn’t that tell you something about how individuals judge quality. Sure, we can have categories and style guides. We can look at grammar and characterisation. But how we each relate to a story, and how an authors words resonate with us, can be very personal, individual, and unique experience.
Anyway, onto our winners.
We’re awarding prizes for second and first place this week. Drum roll, please….
In second place, a regular contributor to Needle In the Hay, congratulations to Cory O’Neile!
Cory’s story, a fantasy short called Abraham, showed us an empire turned to ruins and brothers turned against each other. It also contained this wonderful quote:
“I DIED THE MOMENT THE SEED OF BETRAYAL BLOSSOMED IN YOUR MIND.”
Though Abraham didn’t quite receive universal praise, it did prompt one judge to remark
WELL WRITTEN, AND FELT A COMPLETE STORY WITH STRONG CHARACTERS AND A GOOD END. THIS WAS THE WINNER FOR ME.
Unfortunately for Cory, he missed out on first place by mere fractions of a point.
This week’s winner is another author who has made inroads over the last few months. After a couple of reads, I knew she had done something special. Our judges agreed. Though she didn’t receive the highest individual score, her story consistently impressed, causing one judge to remark:
“A TOP EFFORT AND ONE OF MY FAVOURITES FROM THE SHORT LIST.”
Annabel Owen’s Intensive Cycle is rich with fine details, intimate observations, and a motif that is on point with the theme of the award. I won’t say any more, cause I think you should head over and read it!
Also well done to Alayna Cole, Ingrid Coram and Joanne Murphy, who all scored highly.
Thanks again everyone for reading. We’ll have a new award up shortly!