Olive Lamming Writing Prize - shortlisted poems and short stories announced!

Sep 18, 2019 4:34:40 PM

We are proud to reveal the titles and authors of the shortlisted poems and short stories in the Olive Lamming Writing Prize 2019...

Usha Kishore and Janet Lees, who judged the poems, produced a shortlist of 10 titles, while short story judges Elizabeth Brooks and Rona Halsall produced a shortlist of eight. There were 41 poems and 34 short stories entered.

Both of the following lists are published in no particular order:




Bellissimo at the Garden Party - by Annie Kissack

I Feel Tuesday Like an Anvil - by Joe Holland

Digital Re-Mastery - by Jackie Morrey-Grace

Saturated - by Annie Kissack

The Vessel - by Beth Martin

Dark Beasts Circling - by Debra Tracey

Dyad Moon - by Angela Skitt

Flatfish Picnic - by Stacey Astill

Re-elected - by A.R. Looney

Schroedinger Contact - by Maire Stephens


Short stories:

Rooted - by Stephanie Sinclair-Lappi

The Chibbyr Field - by Rose Kelly

The Hazards of Horticulture - by Pam Teare

Witness - by Nerissa Taverner

The Quantity of Quiggins - by Vicky Lloyd-West

The Mourning Tide - by Gemma Varnom

After the Horse has Bolted - by Caroline Devlin

Mums and Tots - by Georgia Wedgwood Mayne


Commenting on the shortlisted poems, Janet and Usha said:

'The standard of the poetry was extremely high, making this a difficult task from the start. Judging was anonymous; the Manx Litfest team sent us a PDF containing all the entries, without any poets’ names. We began by judging the poems individually, without consultation, and each compiled our own longlist. We then compared and debated our choices to reach consensus towards a shortlist.

'We were looking for interesting thematic concepts, a highly individual poetic voice, striking openings and endings and an understanding of how to make poetry, as the distillation of human experience, really speak to the reader – to create those moments of recognition and truth. Both of us are practising poets, with books, translations, editorial experience, critiques, academic knowledge, competitions wins (and losses) and poetry projects between us. So, we were very meticulous as regards individual poems and judged them based on structure, use of language and poetic effect. We have tried to be as objective as possible, and found ourselves debating, quarrelling and subjecting poems to detailed analysis, just to agree on the shortlist. 

'Our congratulations and best wishes to the shortlisted poets. We’d like to thank all the entrants for their poems, each one of which was an individual discovery, with its own world and voice. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to read them all.'

Commenting on the shortlisted short stories, Elizabeth and Rona said:

'It was a privilege to be asked to judge this competition, and we both enjoyed reading the stories and discussing them together. The Isle of Man is certainly not lacking in imaginative writers: there was an amazing variety of themes and styles - from humour to horror, satire to lyricism, realism to fantasy.

'It’s no easy feat to write a good short story. Precision and economy are never more important than when you’re trying to fit a satisfying narrative into three thousand words or so. There’s always a temptation to cram in too much detail, or try to cut corners by slotting in an explanatory passage or two. The short story is not a mini-novel, but an art form in its own right, and we both agreed that we have a real respect for anyone who can master it!  

'We were looking for a story with a confident voice, an enticing hook, a clear structure and – of course – exquisite writing.'

So, congratulations to all of our shortlisted writers.

The winners in each category will be unveiled as part of the Manx Litfest Short Story Slam, which takes place at 4.00pm on Sunday, September 29th at the Youth Arts Centre in Douglas.

The winners of each category will also be up against each other for the overall prize - £500 towards a writing course/retreat, a prize sponsored by Ramsey Crookall.

The Short Story Slam is a free event - to reserve your place, please visit: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/manxlitfest


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