This year’s judges for the adult competition were Sandra Arnold and Helen Heath. Thank you for sharing comments on the winning stories!
From the judges
It was a great pleasure to read all the stories for this competition and difficult to decide which ones went on the long list and short list. The variety of stories, both in terms of subject and style, was wide-ranging, from those with a distinct narrative arc to those that were close to prose poems. The writers on the commended, highly commended and winners lists are to be congratulated for the way they pushed the boundaries of the form.
The winning story, ‘Best friends’ by Jenna Heller, is a superb evocation of the betrayal of friendship. Without a single wasted word, it cuts straight to the heart.
Second place, ‘The gulls or maybe the rats’ by Mary Francis, is a childhood memory of the seemingly simple task of shelling mussels with an elderly aunt, but it contains a deeper message with a warning.
Third place, ‘Last call’ by Tim Saunders, has two siblings trying to remember the voice of their deceased father by imitating and recording it. The language is searing and poignant.
These three stories attest to the power of flash fiction to penetrate the reader’s imagination and create whole worlds.