The results of the Mslexia 2011 short story competition have been announced and the first 3 prize winners’ stories are on the website here.
The other 3 runners-up are published in the latest edition of the magazine but I haven’t read them because, I must admit, my subscription has (temporarily!) lapsed.
I feel rather smug NOT, I hasten to add, because I am amongst the winners! (I didn’t even enter!) because you may remember me urging you to read about the judge, Jackie Kay and, if possible, to read some of her work, if you were intending to enter this competition and my advice has proved pertinent: the top three stories are definitely what I would call ‘Jackie-Kay-kind-of-stories’.
Read them for yourself and you’ll see what I mean. She says she chose them because “they all made me think about what a story could do and should do.” If I had to sum them up in one word, it would be ‘disturbing’ (they are about as far from a womag story as you can get!) but that’s not to say they are not good stories. They are haunting, they are clever (the winning story, Concessions, is written entirely in the second person, which is not an easy thing to do), they are intense – and by that I mean I don’t think the style and subject matter could have been sustained through a novel, but in a short story they work well. They are, to be honest, not really my cup of tea – but I can see why they were chosen and I’d be interested to know what you think of them!
On a slightly different note, even if you don’t subscribe to Mslexia (which I don’t, at the moment!) there’s plenty to read on their website. There’s some advice on how to win a short story competition (write in the first person is one tip!), a short story workshop and they’re also looking for ‘guest bloggers’ prepared to write twice a month for two months. For more details on that, see the submissions page of the website (scroll down the page).