World Book Day + ‘Seagull’ Shortlist

World Book dayToday, as I’m sure you know, is ‘World Book Day’.

Now, I don’t want to sound all bitter and twisted but (*stamps foot*) WHY didn’t we have this when I was at school?! (‘eh up, when I were a lass’).

I could have dressed up like a character from ‘Malory Towers’ or something. Anyone else out there, over the age of about 12, feeling deprived?

There are lots of great features on the WBD website (OK, so it’s really aimed at kids, but we can still look) and one of them I liked was ’50 books that will change your life’.

If that doesn’t make you want to pick up a book and start reading, I don’t know what will!

‘Seagull Flash Fiction’ – The Shortlist

OK, after much deliberation, the Chief Judge returned from the lounge, papers in hand, with his shortlist of 5 entries.

“Why did you pick that one?” I prompted. “Why didn’t you like this one?” I wanted to know. But, dear readers, I only listened and kept schtum about his choice because it was just that: his choice.

Another person would have chosen a different five, so please don’t be disheartened if your entry didn’t make it this far.

So, strictly in alphabetical order (and fingers crossed that I don’t get sued by Mr. Blumenthal…), here are the 5 shortlisted poems and stories, (which, in case you haven’t been following this, had to include the words ‘t-shirt’, ‘pottery’, ‘fever’, ‘seagull’ and ‘tragedy’, in no more than 100 words + title) and well done to all the writers.

Please feel free to give a mention to your favourite(s) in the comments!

(1) High Flyer – by Richard Barker

Fever gripped our seaside town,
(Not the sort that strikes you down)
The Lotto winner, said reporter,
Resided in our calm backwater.
Temporarily, life stopped,
They even closed the seafront shops
That sell the tourist pottery,
The madness of the lottery!
I checked my numbers, rubbed my eyes,
All six! So, off to claim my prize!
Yet tragedy befell my trip,
A seagull, high on greasy chips,
Swooped and snatched the winning docket,
Plucking it from t-shirt pocket.
Curses to that wretched seagull,
Who soars with grandeur like an eagle,
Flying high through salty air,
The world’s first avian millionaire.

(2) Rose’s Tragedy – by Claire Chappell

She fell they said.
Her shrine, at the edge of the rusty red rock, Jurassic Coast with its eternal stretching beauty. A hidden history and sadness.
The t-shirt was new. Stretched over the wooden cross. Someone’s favourite football club.
Her name unknown. He had known.
He placed the rose into the back of the pottery pig sat beneath the cross.
Circling seagulls cried out above him. His fever broken, his body weak, he shook a fist in silent protest.
Heavy rain had changed the land below. Earth and grass crumbled beneath his feet.
He fell they said.

(3) Got it Wrong Again – by Jan Halstead

It was a tragedy that their eighth wedding anniversary should turn out like this. He should have stuck to the traditional recommendation – a gift of pottery according to Google. But, boring or what? He watched as she tossed and turned, her new designer t-shirt now moist with perspiration. Racked with remorse, he mopped her fevered brow.
‘It was the seagull,’ she muttered deliriously.
She’d always been a fussy eater. He should never have taken her to Heston Blumenthal’s.

(4) THE GOOD DAUGHTER – by Mandy Huggins

Alice broke the pottery seagull. It landed on the tiled bathroom floor and smashed to smithereens.
Tears streaked her stupid cherub face, and she lifted the bottom of her t-shirt to scoop up the tragedy.
I ran downstairs to find Ma. I wanted to tell before Alice could hide it. This time Ma would see that it was ME who was the good daughter.
‘Alice has broken the seagull!’
But she was already behind me, offering up the pieces, her face hot and feverish.
Ma hugged her, and glared at me. ‘Better a clumsy angel than a willful telltale.’

(5) SEA POTTERY – by Rachel McNeish

There they lie –
great strong pieces of stoneware,
delicate shards of porcelain;
each fractions of a once-happy whole,
spewed out with the weeds,
the cast-off t-shirt, the forgotten shoe.

Rough edges scream their tragedy
to the faraway seagull,
the preoccupied crab.
Cruel gashes cut in the fever of fury
or by accidental bungling.

And others,
their wounds licked smooth by gentle breakers,
remoulded by persistence
tell how the broken
may be beautiful again….
the triumph of experience in the sea of life.

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9 Responses to World Book Day + ‘Seagull’ Shortlist

  1. lauraclipson says:

    I can’t believe they didn’t do World Book Day when I was at school. It’s so not fair.
    I’m off to look at that list, I have a feeling my to-read list is going to gain a few books…

  2. Congrats to the five short-listed entries. They’re all VERY good.

  3. Keith Havers says:

    Hard to choose but I can never resist a humorous poem so it’s No. 1 High Flyer for me.

  4. Virgoan Scribe says:

    High Flyer for me too, wonderful poem, clever, hilarious and totally brightened my day. Well done.

  5. hjmusk says:

    I’m disappointed that we didn’t have World Book Day at school. Maybe next year we can still take part, turning up to work as our favourite character?

  6. Tracy Fells says:

    I’m always a fan of Mandy Huggins’ flash so my favourite is The Good Daughter and then Got it Wrong Again – as made me chuckle. Good luck to all!

  7. Bernadette says:

    I’d go for High Flyer, too, though they are all good.

  8. philippabowe says:

    Well done to all five! My favourite is “Sea Pottery”, it’s wonderfully intense and beautiful. And my runner up would be “Rose’s Tragedy”, nicely strange and dark.

  9. Some really lovely pieces here. Well done to you all 🙂

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