It was a fitting occasion last week, that when we asked for stories about superheroes, two of NiTH’s most heroic writers stepped up the the plate, better still, less than a point separated our two duelists. Let’s recap:
Lydia Trethewey’s lyrical tone brings the quality of a fable to the urban mythology of Levitate the Birds
He was sitting on a park bench, staring into the white sky, watching flocks of swifts play patterns in the air. As I passed, his roaming eyes fell to me, and a gnarled finger curled and uncurled in beckon.
We never quite know whether our hero has the powers the old man tells him he does, but then it wouldn’t be a Trethewey tale if there wasn’t done disruption, some element of doubt to the plot:
I watch the leaves and wonder if I have a hand in the way the wind picks them up and sends them skidding across the pavement. I stare up and see clouds expand and break, faster than seems natural, malleable to invisible winds. They seem not to move at all when my attention is elsewhere.
On the other side of this coin flip, Alicia Bruzzone brings us A Lukewarm Love Story. Alicia’s comic timing and round-the-twist situations are light in tone:
Darin shoved his fist into the glass, spilling chocolate milk over the linen tablecloth of the restaurant…. “I have to touch it you see. Look.” He whipped out his phone, and Gina watched in horror as he opened a temperature reading app and dunked it in the beverage.
“Is that waterproof?”
Offering up some sweet casual escapism with this romantic tryst.
“I can’t offer you much, but with me I promise I’ll never let you freeze to death.”
“You know how to warm a woman’s heart,” Gina laughed, her joy genuine.
We figured we were giving our judges a break this week, with only two stories to read and score. As it turns out the smaller the pool, the harder it is to judge, with several noting that splitting these two equally interesting but tonally opposed stories seemed almost too difficult to acheive. Once we’d tallied up the scores, it became clear that only 0.2 points selected first from second, and made us question at what point does a score become academic?
There was but a whisker in it, but that’s shouldn’t take away from congratulating our winner this week. Lydia Trethewey’s reflective ballad, Levitate The Birds, claims victory this week, enticing us to consider perhaps the small everyday powers that we might hold, and the Patten’s of nature in vibrancy that we often neglect, or at the very least take for granted.
Both authors feature in our upcoming publication Burn, Thrive, Burn. A short story collection with original works by NiTH authors due out towards the start of May. You can check out the cover art for this exciting book in our Publications section, and beyond digital release, were exploring a limited print run for all those close to the site who want to grab onto something physical in this increasingly holographic world, so stay tuned for that.
Later in the week we’re going to apply a bit of makeup and foundation and give NiTH the makeover it deserves, a fresh coat of paint with more naivgatable homepage and a clearer outline of our aims, including the process from competition in comps to publishing through NiTH.
In many ways it’s a natural evolution of the website. For the last ten years the publishing midlist has slowly faded away, cannabalised by the self publishing industry, along with the rise of suspiciously fictive nonfiction.
We believe that people still want stories that are raw, powerful and creative. Fiction that retains the editorial qualities sometimes lacking in a lot of self published fiction, tales that are accessible outside the university system yet aren’t afraid to aspire to new modes of literature. We think that without the midlist, we’re left with broad crowd pleasers and self congratulatory dalliances, starters and dessert, without the main course.
By eschewing traditional structures of publishing, putting creative control back in the hands of the creators, and most of all focusing on the fun and adventurous nature of writing and collaboration, we’re forging a path for future generations of writers, editors and artists to come together and make good books.
If you like what were doing, then please check out or Patreon Campaign. For the price of a cup of coffee (or two) every month, you can help us publish more cool stuff.
In the meantime though enjoy our not so short list for the Duets &, Duvets Award, Part 1, our short list this week.