I won the inaugural Adrien Abbott Prize for a short story which – beyond the money (always appreciated. writers are rarely paid enough; coffcoff.) – is a boon to my self-esteem. I haven’t entered or submitted much in the last 18 months what with moving from country to country so often my friends tell me they can no longer keep track; A generally wonderful, inspirational if in-the-moment unproductive experience.
I appreciate the words of the judge, Kathryn Heyman,
“Winner: Nature Morte
This is a stunning piece of work – well crafted, confident, compelling, moving. In just four pages the writer manages to create a world – two characters, who love each other, who are afraid, but brave – full of subtext, an implied past, an implied future. The dialogue is pacy and sharp, and at times funny. The reveal towards the end of the story is heart-rending and reveals the hand of a masterful writer.”
As an emerging writer receiving feedback like this from a respected, published author is manna from Heaven. It’s the kind of thing you want to staple to your forehead so you remember this gig isn’t all rejection slips and wondering if that MBA wouldn’t have been a such bad idea after all.
The constraints of the award make it a less-than story in terms of how I feel about it now. I’d “fail better” if I had another go. It was themed, ‘water’, which is always tricky and had to be under 750 words so it’s microfiction really and that is a thing unto itself. Not something I’ve written before and not quite poetry but wanting a poetic touch to keep it from seeming too little, too thrown together at the last second and stuffed with whatever’s on hand.