I am pleased to announce the prize winners in The Yellow Room Autumn Short Story Competition 2011!
1st Prize (£80): Anouska Huggins - La Fille Du Jongleur
2nd Prize (£45): Tracy Fells - Fish of the Sea
3rd Prize (£20): Rosemary Dun - Cry Baby Bunting
Liz Ringrose - Ma's Trip To Europe
Jo Carroll - Mother Ganga
Jo Waterworth - Accidentals, Guitar Mick-Style
Angela Buckley - The Pick Up Point
Pam Eaves - He Was Beautiful
I chose the winner, La Fille Du Jongleur, because it was fresh, quirky and vibrant. It stayed in my mind long after I'd read it. A really memorable story. There was an explosion of colour in the story (yellow eyeshadow and a spinach-green plait), which perfectly matched the story's theme. It appealed to the senses. Also some wonderful imagery: a tutu of bright shopping bags; chattering like the seagulls outside our old Brighton bedsit; my torso twisting and turning like a rose bush in the wind. This story had a definite beginning, middle and end, unlike many in the competition. A daughter finally breaks away from her overbearing mother and achieves her independence. The story wasn't as technically sound as the story placed second, for example, but it had more appeal. My one criticism is that too many characters were introduced too soon.
The story placed second, Fish of the Sea, was more subtle. A mother and her daughter mourn a premature baby who succumbs to pneumonia. Parallels are drawn when a pod of whales are stranded on a local beach. Mother and daughter are striking out on their own and a potentially new relationship is on the horizon. Again, great use of imagery, and a superbly constructed story.
The third prize winner, Cry Baby Bunting, was another moving story about the end of a relationship and a pregnancy. Milly unpicks the jumper she's knitting for her boyfriend's birthday when he tells her he's leaving to travel the world and uses the wool to knit a blanket for her unborn child. Again, this writer shows excellent short story technique and the writing was flawless with memorable imagery: The sky was soft and plumply dark; Brighton Pier, all-a-dazzle with its garish signs, candy-striped helter-skelter and funfair rides charging the air with an electricity she fancied she could whiff through her window.
The next Yellow Room Short Story Competition closes on 31st March 2012. Email entries only this time.