‘Kiss’ – 15 September 2017
Thank you to everyone who puckered up for our kiss-themed challenge. The judges really enjoyed the sheer variety of responses to the theme. We read about kisses full of passion, hope and betrayal. From first kisses to final farewells, and maternal kisses to imagined embraces, your tales covered a huge range of emotions. We even had a story narrated by a chocolate bar!
The judges particularly enjoyed Sarah Edghill’s disorientating snapshot of a night out ending with a ‘Glasgow Kiss’, and Jenny Roman’s surprising portrayal of a beauty therapist and her abused client. Gillian Gammon’s ‘Do Penguins Kiss?’ was also a highlight, dealing with the emotional fallout at the end of a complex relationship.
Two first kiss stories stood out from the crowd – Nichole Celauro’s ‘Lemon’ featured a strong central character in accident-prone Amy, trying desperately to hide her feelings for her colleague. And we admired the inventiveness of Cheryl Ann Eggleston’s story, where Mrs Angelina Wetherbee gives the memory of her first kiss to a public archive.
We’ve published three fantastic stories this time, and given one commendation prize. We found it incredibly difficult to choose between these very different stories, so we’ve taken the unusual decision to award one first prize and two second prizes. We hope you’ll enjoy reading our winners as much as we did.
- ‘The Tiller’s Daughter’ by Anna Haldane has kisses at its very centre. We loved Anna’s original take on traditional fairytale tropes and commend her well-considered and unusual word choices. She paints a vivid picture and has created a strong central character with a compelling voice. Anna wins our first prize of £100.
- Julia Weetman’s ‘Margo’ is a woman in need of romance. Her cringe-inducing first date with the odious Greg is pitch perfect and very funny. Julia achieves that rare feat of creating characters we can imagine outside the confines of her story. After reading her brilliant snapshot, we want to know what happens next.
- ‘Kismet’ by Gary Kittle really moved the judges. The central character’s struggle with his emotions, as he tells the story of one of history’s most famous kisses, is beautifully written. We were particularly impressed by Gary’s subtle weaving of aquatic imagery throughout his tale.
Instead of awarding second and third prize, both Julia and Gary win second prizes of £50.
We’ve also awarded a £10 commendation prize to Jessica Bonnem for ‘One Night, at Eddy’s’, a tale set in an All-American bar with a richly-drawn group of patrons.
Congratulations to all our winners and thanks again to everyone who took up the challenge.
Our current competition, for stories opening with the words ‘This time’ closes on 30 November 2017. Are you up for the challenge?