I’ve been reading, and re-reading, the six shortlisted stories for our annual Writers’ & Artists’ short story competition. This year is the first time I’ve had the honour – and the responsibility – of choosing the ultimate winner. In competitions past, I’ve assisted during the early stages, slimming down a long list into a medium list and then a shortlist before passing it on for that all-important final decision.
Although a job like this is a joy, it’s also surprisingly difficult. When you read someone else’s writing, you’re so aware it’s something they’ve created, invested precious time into, and about a theme that they’ve thought long and hard about, maybe even experienced themselves. Unlike a published article or novel, where I’d gladly come to a snap decision, choosing which of these stories is ‘the best’ of the (really very good) bunch is completely different. I need to make the right decision! Do I plump for the most cleverly written story, the most thought provoking, or the one which made me laugh?
I’m going to have a cup of tea now and mull it over some more. I’ll do what I’ve done before (it’s always served me well) – slim down the list, but this time right down from three, to two and then to one, and go with what my heart tells me.
Hope you approve.
Warm wishes, Jo