So, my debut award has come to a close and I must say, despite the heavy requirements for content, I have been delighted in the quality of the work I received.
Sean Crawley painted a bleak picture of alternative dystopia in his story “Aromatherapy”. Apart from the captivating description of City Zed and their corporate enslavers the Wellness Corporation, the way he set his his tone would have had Aldous Huxley picking up tips.
Zane experienced the Wildlands at age nine. It is on the curriculum, a school excursion in a fortified bus through the horrors of the outside world.
Debutant Neil Watt arrived on the scene with a bang. Literally. His sex shop set story of voyeurism and intense dissatisfaction with life really brought an edge to the often taboo dealings of the backstreet adult stores. Littered with awesome perceptions of angst and in a setting that is a difficult one to give credit too, Neil excelled. His narrator provided the perfect voice to a man who dreams of riches whilst cleaning up other peoples bodily fluids.
Having spent countless hours religiously reading the life stories of well-known rich people, self-help guides and business manuals and making pain staking efforts to absorb any relevant wisdom—he was still very much not rich. As the days went by Laurence was getting increasingly desperate for a way out of his cum-stained confinement.
Lydia Trethewey, what can I say? Not many people can make working in a train station appear so mind numbingly boring that you want to kill yourself, but you can’t stop reading it because the story is just brilliant. The moral fabrics of society were truly tested in this narrative, and this passage in particular highlights just what I said above.
It would be frighteningly easy to snap the bonds of moral adherence, to rebel. In a single moment I could reach into another’s life and change its course, a stranger’s future crystallised in a sudden firing of neural impulses and an uncontrollable jerk of muscle.
Alicia Bruzzone is a queen at making readers feel things they never expected too, and this is no different. To feel empathy for a potential heinous murderer is a true skill and testament of talent. Comparing humans to ants is a cliche metaphor, but reading this story, it was like I’d never seen it employed before. Bravo.
Perhaps that’s why the male ants fly off to die, willing to leave as a suicidal escape
Finally but certainly not least, Barry Quinn takes on a subject that most people would hear someone talk about and look the other way. Transphobia is a huge issue in todays society and the way Barry managed to not only convey the absolute horrors of it, but treat it with the respect and dignity it deserves is amazing. Not only that but it was a bloody good story.
The camera swings up, forgetting the report of underage drinking, and zooms in on the woman hanging from the bridge. On her naked stomach is scrawled three words, three words she hopes will change the world.
This weeks winner is our flying debutant, Mr. Neil Watt. Congratulations Neil on your first win and all the crushing Nihilism that goes with it, and a happy existential crisis to all our other shortlisted writers, your work was incredible.
A special mention too to the listed writes on the Unenlightened list, it was such a hard choice to leave anyone out of the shortlist so I am delighted you received well deserved recognition for your tremendous work also.
One last word from me. It’s been a pleasure curating this award and I hope to do it again soon. This has been the Enlightened Award by David R. Ford, signing off.