In 2012 bestselling author Paulo Coelho made an unprecedented move, actively encouraging fans and would be readers to download his work for free. ‘Pirate Coelho’ has long been an advocate for peer to peer sharing.

He’s not the only magical realism author progressive towards technology. It’s been argued by many that Argentinian mastermind Jorge Luis Borges actually predicted the internet  and NITH favourite Haruki Murakami even has his own app!

You’ll find plenty of influence from these authors in the short list, but it was a far more musical tale that stole first place for the MARIUS DE ZAYAS Award. Needle In the Hay regular Debb Bouch lent her trademark appreciation of tone and rhythm to a tale that sweeps you away, only to twist every expectation on it’s head. Here’s an excerpt:

After some moments of this bombardment, one or two of the audience dare to raise their heads from cover. They notice that the colours they imagined are taking form and beginning to fill the auditorium, painting the walls, stalls and gallery, staining the avid faces in the crowd. Those who have seen tell others who were still under the impression that this was a regular concert. The resulting flurry of whispers and fidgeting in the auditorium are enough to disturb the maestro. He turns to face them and this time they all see. He has no face.

Congrats to our winner!

Second place was newcomer Sandra Mendes. Well done to Sandra and everyone who was short listed this time round. If you’re after feedback, send an email to needleinthehaywritingcomp (@) and we’ll send the judges comments through.

Coming up, we have the DEAR AMANDA Award, keep your eyes peeled for this rather unique short list tomorrow!