It’s said that melancholy is the strongest emotion. In Cam Dang’s All The Dead Lovers we are taken on a journey back in memory, time and place. The narrator recounts the story of their uncle migrating across the ocean. Who feels out of place in his new country. For whom home is…
…Where children played marbles under white frangipani trees, where rain dripped from the tips of coconut leaves woven together to put a roof over Uncle’s head, where the roosters woke him and a bowl of steaming pork congee topped with spring onion and coriander started his day.
It’s a powerful yet relatable story tinged with melancholy and permeating with issues that remain relevant today.
It’s been a little while since we’ve seen Lydia Trethewey on a short list. An award about journeys seems a perfect fit for the Perth native. In Where Home Was we join an Australian couple on a road trip through the English countryside. Glenn drives, while Taylor ruminates:
A slippery thing, home; Australia was flat and hot, filled with the dusk sound of cicadas, and England was cold and condensed, tasting like the oversweet hot chocolate dispensed from roadside gas stations. Perhaps Australia was only home because she’d been born there – it didn’t seem like enough.
Though less immediately distressing as All The Dead Lovers, Lydia’s story also share a feeling of melancholy. Though the resolution leaves Taylor with something to doing too, is unclear if it is a good thing.
Our third story in the Hotel Diaspora also struck a melancholy note. ReLynn Vaughn is relatively new to the NiTH shortlist, but she’s made strides quickly, and is now mixing it up confidently with more experienced shortlisters.
Dust on Turku is the tale of one woman’s journey in the shadow of a deceased grandfather, learning self acceptance and gaining knowledge of where she truly comes from.
I came back to Father’s house after my husband left me. Bitter and broken, I worked and stored away money. I kept my head down and imagined what was wrong with me. And then one icy cold day, I found Grandfather.
I’d forgotten about him, a rare ghost of my childhood, only physically near me a handful of times. Instead, I hoped to find a more stylish hat to wear out to the bar than the ugly navy watch cap from the hall closet.
The smallest of margins separates our shortlist in the Hotel Diaspora Award. Three points between three authors. While each story touched readers in their own way, we need to have a winner.
Congratulations to Cam Dang for he powerfully written All The Dead Lovers. Cam wins an edit and feedback on 5,000 words and all three of our authors share in the Patreon sponsor cash for this award.
Well done to everyone, writers, readers and judges. Make sure to check out the latest short list, and maybe try having a go at our next comp. That’s all for now. We’ll have more awards up shortly, and a new shortlist next week.