New writers abound in this excellent contest that asked authors to look at life in an enclosure for decidedly non-human characters. Let’s recap.
Silent Night | Cheryl Fairclough
Cheryl Fairclough’s flurry of recent activity since debuting at NiTH a few weeks ago has shown readers an author that’s not afraid to stretch their wings.
Silent Night is the story of suburban encroachment on nature, told from a literal bird’s eye perspective. Rich with powerful and delicate turns of phrase, it’s a soulful watermark on the shortlist that well and truly announces the arrival of another big player on the NiTH.
African Spirit | Jason Hemens
Jason is another recent debutante, following up Crossed lines with this week’s African Spirit. A twisting tale that recalls the classic Animal Farm, if only to end a little more like 1984.
“Look,” said Gary the Gorilla, “None of us like performing for snotty nosed children. But the visits pay the bills. And I for one prefer this sanctuary to a poacher’s bullet.”
“I belong on the African plains,” said Merv nostalgically.
“African plains?” said Gary. “You were created here, in the sanctuary. Get a grip, Merv.”
Shreya’s first effort at NiTH was the entertaining and beautifully rendered Shark Tooth. This week’s effort follows a brooding pigeon in search of meaning, and begins with one of the best opening paragraphs I’ve had the pleasure of reading in recent times:
Like everyday, I am flying and brooding; I get profound when I fly. I am TO DO, not to be done, it’s my name. I am an ordinary pigeon with various shades of grey.
Robert Madden’s delightful Creature Comforts makes us rethink the ills of captivity, as one lucky leopard recounts the fringe benefits of luxury zoo life. It’s a light touch from Mr Madden, well realised and with wit and humour.
On debut, Sachin Sharma shed light on life after humans as pets compete for who really is the favoured animal. But beneath the quirky humour Sharma shows us a darker side to human’s perception of our environment.
Welcome to NiTH, Sachin!
Also on debut, Coco Huang’s The Tour pairs a boy and and a 100 kilogram gorilla conversation, carried out completely in sign language.
He paused by an exhibit of sun bears, squinting at the two distant figures tussling amongst the grass and rocks. Suddenly, a leathery hand tugged at his elbow. You shouldn’t watch them love-making, Martha signed. It’s not very polite.
A closely fought contest, second place went to the excellent Cheryl Fairclough for Silent Night. But edging out the top spot by a single point, please congratulate Coco Huang! It’s not every day we get a winner on debut, but The Tour is a top notch tale that’s well worth your time if you haven’t yet checked it out.
And if you’re on the fence about submitting your first story for NiTH, maybe The Tour could be your spirit… gorilla. Check out more contests here.