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NFFD 2019 Judges’ Notes – Adult

Siobhan Harvey and Lloyd Jones

 

Highly Commended

Siobhan Harvey, Judge

The Visitors

This is an entry we kept returning to. It is like one of those pictures you can go on looking at, never satisfied you have exhausted all its detail. We very much enjoyed its tone – it confirms forever after that anything written on ‘bird watchers’ must be in this very register.

There are two lots of noticing. There is the bird watchers observing the birds; and a second pair of eyes on the bird watchers adds to the layering of experience.

The Museum of Curiosities and Natural History

Very imaginative, surreal and impactful.

The Beautiful Thing

Evocative tale of loss. Beautiful music and imagery. Well structured.

The sound a horse makes when it comes to drink at night

Feels like a poet at work here. Rhythms and sentences lengths are sumptuously constructed. Story is vast and yet personal.

Third

T Is For Tiger

Every sentence sings for its supper. All critical to the sum of its moving parts. Clever word association. Excellent craft and wordsmithing going on here.

Second

Lloyd Jones, Judge

Over the Fields from Ballyturin House, 1921.

We kept returning to this story because as much as it lets the reader in it keeps us out. We found it to be mysterious and gripping. At the same time, we feel as if we’ve only been permitted a glimpse. So much is held back which is why perhaps we kept returning to it, and its conclusive line – ‘The men hopped it for home, which was the place to be if you wanted to be found.’ The reader may nod, as we did, as if this was known to them all along.

First

The Boat People

Conceptually imaginative. Beautifully layered. Packs a punch. Rich in repetitions of phrase and music. Approaches and maintains story keenly. Sets up its characterisation cleverly and the twist at the end works well.

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