So it seems the criteria for the MATA HARI was more difficult then I thought. Maybe it was the left of field concept of the ‘fake obit’ that threw people, or maybe there’s a bit of overkill with the ROSA, YOUTH, and MATA HARI all going off within a couple of weeks, but the submissions were, with the exception of one, either outside the criteria or not up to standard.

It’s heartbreaking to tell people who submit regularly that their work this time round isn’t up to scratch. You offer some feedback and hope they don’t take it too harshly. Writers are a sensitive lot, myself included, and the last thing you want to do is push someone back into their shell.

Even harder is telling a first time submitter that though their writing is good, they haven’t kept to the criteria. I won’t mention any names, but I hope those who I’ve had to turn down for one reason or another don’t take it personally. This is a writing competition, after all. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

Anyway onto a more subdued winner announcement. Congrats to Nathan Boole. Despite the nature of his win he’s still a deserved victor. Nathan’s work is of a consistently high standard, and I think it’s time we all started not only paying more attention, but also demanding he start sharing more with us on a regular basis. Well done Nathan.