The Ed

Apologies for the delayed winner announcement. Seems like some of our judges were a little late in getting their scores in. Maybe they were busy writing rejection responses of their own… Not that we encourage that, ahem, ahaw. Our winner this week is not new to the scene, nor are they a seasoned veteran either. They’ve been around for a little while now, with a win already to their name and a lot of strong stories in the bag. If you haven’t already guessed our winner this week is Charlie Novak for his story To The Editor At Needle In The Hay, a satrical, metafictional story that, like a lot of satire, could have gone either way. Well recived by both judges and readers. I’m happy to award this week’s …

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It is a truth universally acknoweledged that a writer, upon discovering yet another rejection, must be in need of some reply Like chilren in an oprhange authors are told to bite their tongues when it comes to speaking out on this particular subject. By all means, write as many stories as you can, but when it comes to why ‘we’ need ‘them’, yours is not the place to question why. It’s above your paygrade. Publishers are simply to busy, you see. They don’t have the time… The whole industry’s in crisis good fellow, don’t you know. Even Needle In The Hay has fallen on hard times. They’re advertising now. So let’s let bygones be bygones. Forgo the sentimentality and get to business. After all, fiction is big business, and all …

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Food can feature strongly in many stories, to the point where whole recepie books have been published. Our winner this week didn’t go so far as to serve us lamprey pie, Instead, the focus was on preserving memory through food: The lemon tree from Catherine’s childhood stood in the corner of the yard, rotting fruit scattered across the ground. She remembered inhaling the strong citrus scent as she stood on tiptoes to pluck fruit from the branches for her grandmother. She’d also tried scrambling onto the metal fence beside the tree to reach the higher-hanging lemons and cried when the hot posts blistered the soles of her feet. “Silly pork chop,”… A big congratulations to Victoria Nugent, taking out first place by a single, all important point. Special mention to …

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It’s no secret that for decades publishing houses have been cheating the system. A quick google of ‘best seller scandal’ returns over 5 million results detailing plot after pot of publishers and their cohorts cheating the system by bulk purchasing their own books to improve their ranking, or employing other companies to do so in their stead. So next time a major author or publisher bemoans the failing sales or ‘industry crisis’ maybe they should look inwards. After all, they’ve only got themselves to blame.   After much consideration, bribery, gratuity and schmoozing, we can release the winner for the VISIONS OF 2020 Award. Congratulations to Joey To. Joey’s ‘Uranus Journal’ is a tongue-in-cheek (which cheek? -Ed) deliberation on current trends. Absurdist, but still relevant. As one judge described it: “I …

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Publishers have been clamoring for anything to do with the recent Palace tragedy; this is especially clear in the list for this week. Harry Potter is finally toppled, and a surprise or two round out the top ten. ThisWeek   LastWeek WeeksOn List   10 Diana : Beyond the Grave – Shirley MacLaine (Bloomsbury and Rowling, ?0.5493)MacLaine re-imagines interviews with Princess Diana in her lifetime, plus bonus “beyond the grave” content. Re-entry 12   9 First Man – William Clinton (Harvard Press, ?0.5493)US President Hilary Clinton’s husband tells his story from President, to Diplomat, to Statesman, to “plus-one”. 3 107   8 Diana : Her Story – Andrew Morton (Simon & Schuster, ?0.3135)Essentially a ghost-written autobiography, Morton interviewed the Princess of Wales to expose the truth of her daily life …

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Merry Christmas, Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year It’s the holiday season, so I’ll try and keep this as brief as possible, cause I’m sure you’re all busy digesting large quantities of cake to avoid talking to relatives you only see once a year. Christmas is a time for giving though, so it’s apt this week’s winner captured the essence of charity. Congratulations to newcomer Evret Marr for his story Finnigan’s Wake. Evret beat out a small but tough field of stories to claim this week’s top spot. Our next award is the VISIONS OF 2020 competition. If your New Year’s Resolution is to write more, or even to read more, we’ve got you covered. Head on over to the Awards and Collaborations page and check out what’s coming up. …

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A strange situation this time around with 4 of the 5 stories sharing second place. Well done to Fingernails, Grading On A Curve, Mrs Williamson’s Rose Garden and The Box on running a tight race. Ultimately though our congratulations go to Lisa White for her story “Better Than Most.” A win on your first short list probably doesn’t qualify as a NORMAL SUCCESS, but it’s more than deserved (Insert ‘Better Than Most’ pun here). Don’t forget to check out all the new awards we have up for the first couple of months of 2015 on the awards and collaborations page. Also, the NORRISH GIFT Award short list is up right now. That’s all for the moment. We’ll have some interesting new elements coming up this week, including a public schedule …

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Special thanks to Daniel Norrish for donating his winnings back to the competition. Even though it was a slew of late entries we have some excellent submissions. A few tear jerkers in there are well. Check out the full short list here   One Good Turn by Sean C Grid Lock by Jason Fink The Nightmare by Charlie A Novak Raindrops by Little Miss Carmello Finnigan’s Wake by Evret Marr

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The short list for the NORMAL SUCCESS Award is up. You can find them all here   Mrs Williamson’s Rose Garden – Charlie Novak Better Than Most – L White The Box – Jane Basil Grading On A Curve – Joey To Fingernails – Clarissa NG (Student)

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 3. Choosing a winner is never easy. In fact, it can be downright impossible. At Needle we use different judges for every award. Former winners, short listers, friends, people we meet on the street. We believe that everyone’s voice should be heard, and that doesn’t just mean for writers. Still, choosing is never easy. Third place this week goes to “The Choice”  2. Needle turned two recently.  In those 24 months we’ve seen some wonderful stories pass through the short lists. Debb Bouch’s Troika is no different, taking out a close second with a moving triple edit. 1 Our winner this week engaged the spirit of the award  with a unique and entertaining vingette. Both comical and poignant, it’s pleasing to see this author’s recent efforts haven’t been in vain. …

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I really enjoyed the short list for this award. The brief called for subtly and we got that, but I think we also got a lot of little windows into varied worlds of NITH authors. Writing is a shared experience, but every story is different and unique in it’s own way. There’s also a bit of magic in marine life. Here’s hoping we don’t destroy it all one day. Not an easy decision for our judges this time around. A close set of scores but a clear winner. Third place was shared between Bread and Tuna  and Where the Waves Meet the Shore. Second place was also shared, this time by Would You? and Fish in Aquariums. Luckily there was only one winner. Congrats to Daniel Norrish for his wonderful second …

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This month saw the release of Grimdark Magazine #1. Here’s my awesome review! SHADOW HUNTER Adrian Tchaikovsky’s opening story takes deep into the Insect Kinden world of Shadows off the Apt. Gaved, a freelance, fire conjuring Wasp teams up with two bandits to seek out the Moth, a scholar of dark arts in a time of logic and machinery. All thw grimdark stable are there. A damaged hero in a violent world. Magic, double crosses and a giant… OK OK no spoilers! It’s a taut, impeccably balanced tale that sets the tone for the rest of the magazine. THE NEUTRAL Grimdark of a more contemporary bent. Mike Gelpin’s The Neutral is part action thriller part existential crisis. After losing his wife and daughter our protagonist joins the Brotherhood. A group …

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“Okay.” I say looking down. “You will come? You will help me?” I kiss her bumpy forehead. “I will do whatever it takes.” I answer. The pregnant clouds above can’t hold onto their weight any longer. They release heavy pieces of snow that begin to cover the corpse we leave behind. The earth will soon be white and new. Described by one of our judges as “A solid story with a savage little twist I stumbled into like a solid right jab,” these are the final moments of our winning entry. In Crimson Hope author Jewel Shkandriy has delivered on the promise of a story where bad things are done for good reasons.  Congratulations Jewel. It’s great to see a regular contributors undertaking something new. Crimson Hope and two others will …

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We just dropped the Grimdark short list in coordination with GdM’s first issue, but what else is going on at NITH? Well just like the title says, there are two new awards up on the site. Firstly, the THREE DRAFTS YOU’RE IN Award asks you to show your work buy writing three drafts of the ‘same’ story. We’ve also just put the NORMAL SUCCESS! Award, which has much simpler criteria. Just don’t forget that white picket fence! No less important, Needle In The Hay makes it’s first foray into the ‘real world’ at the Wollongong Writer’s festival this Saturday. I’ll be sitting on a panel about Art in Isolation from 10-11am. It’s early, but if you’re in the neighbourhood please come by and check it out. Full details at the …

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Congrats to all our short listed authors for the LORD GRIMDARK Award. We received over 25 entries most of which were a very high standard. Impressive given the genre requirements usually mean we get fewer entries. It’s great to see a mix of old hats trying their hand at the genre and new blood no doubt drawn by the visceral nature of grimdark fiction. We chose a short list that hopefully runs the wide gamut of potential for grimdark. There is villany, fantasy, criminals, theives and the underworld. There  is Anger and Hope, and a little bit of wry humour in there as well. As always we look forward to your comments so check out the full short list here. Finally a big thank you to Adrian Collins and the …

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Congratulations to the twelve authors who made the short list for this award. We received over thirty entries, all of which were of a very high standard. If you didn’t make the short list, and would like feedback on your writing, please contact us via email needleinthehaywritingcomp @ gmail.com To read the full short list, click here.     

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A Tale Of Two Rebeccas  It’s with much excitement and and without further ado that we announce the winner and second placing for the MYSTERY OF THE CELLAR DOOR Award. In first place, a story that was described by one judge as ‘the most fluid, most enjoyable to read’ and another as ‘Weirdly excellent!!!’ Congratulations to the author of ‘Birdcage’, Rebecca McDowell. Rebecca wins $1000 AUD as first placing in the competition. In second place, another first timer to NITH, please congratulate Rebecca Hadland (Sylphien) for her awesome, thoroughly original story ‘You Cannot Open The Cellar Door.’ The MYSTERY OF THE CELLAR DOOR award was NITH’s first major award and we were pleased with the quality of the entries. We’ll be announcing our next major award in the near future. …

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Daniel’s story, Eatery, is part of the MYSTERY OF THE CELLAR DOOR Short List. You can read it here. What is the influence / story behind the story? I had been making my way through some horror novels because I like the idea of being able to scare a reader. For a person to be so engrossed in a book that they’re actually terrified is pretty cool. The fact that I had to sleep with every light in the house on was a small price to pay for discovering some great stories, but I noticed that the genre is full of stereotypes. There are plenty of awesome tales about zombies, werewolves, haunted houses and whatever else but it’s hard to find anything totally original. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, …

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