Judging the short story competition

Judging the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook short story competition has just taken an unexpected turn. I had settled back on my bed, cuppa in hand, all nice and comfy to get stuck into reading the six shortlisted stories for this year’s prize, when all of a sudden (and cross my heart and swear on my hair) a bottle of orange juice which was sitting on the window ledge exploded! It was a real shock – the unexpected POP and the orange-splattered walls, curtains, ceiling, carpet and bedspread. Even me, in my pyjamas, didn’t entirely escape the soaking, and now, after a lot of kitchen roll, wet wipes and carpet foam, the room still smells, well, tangy.

Anyway, anyway, back to the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook annual short story competition. You may know about it (you may have entered it) – it has been running for five years, it’s advertised in the Yearbook as well as in writing magazines such as Mslexia. It’s extremely popular and we get heaps of entries – in the thousands. Every year, there is a theme (2009’s theme was ‘conflict’) and a prize of a whopping £500.

I am extremely proud and pleased to be the final judge, to have the honour of choosing the winning story. So far, professional readers have been through all the entries and presented me with the best six (and I know, because I’ve been told, that the standard this year is really, really good).

So, my plan is to repeat tonight’s routine only minus the orange juice. I’ll update you soon.

BTW – if this was a short story, the orange juice drama would be a ‘literary device’ deployed to ‘delay impact’ and keep you reading … It’s not though – it’s my life.

Warm wishes, Jo

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