Ivor W. Hartmann is a Zimbabwean writer, editor, publisher, and visual artist. Awarded The Golden Baobab Prize (2009), finalist for the Yvonne Vera Award (2011), selected for The 20 in Twenty: The Best Short Stories of South Africa’s Democracy (2014), awarded third in the Jalada Prize for Literature (2015), and Nommo Awards nomination (2017). His works have appeared in many publications. He runs the StoryTime micro-press, publisher of the African Roar and AfroSF series of anthologies. He is a founding member of the African Speculative Fiction Society, and on the advisory board of Writers International Network Zimbabwe.

02 November 2010

And the winners are... Results of the SLQ Short Story Competition (October 2010)

Sentinel Literary Quarterly: The online magazine of world literature publishes Poetry, Fiction, Drama, Interviews, Essays & Reviews. And the winners are... Results of the SLQ Short Story Competition that I judged. Well done to the winners, highly commended, and all who entered!

First Prize - Scream by Samantha Symonds

Second Prize - Mayday by Andrew Campbell-Kearsey

Third Prize - A Way with the Kids by Sharon Birch

Highly Commended (In no particular order)

Crown of Burrs by G. H. Zitzelsberger

Love at First Site by Andrew Campbell-Kearsey

The Green Gators by Joey C. Aglasi

(From: SLQ Poetry and Short Story Competitions (October 2010) Results)

Judge's Report:

This was my first time judging a writing competition and I found it a highly engaging and demanding experience. Not that I am a stranger to judging fiction works, but having to choose three winners and three highly commended works from a pool of so many stories was a certainly a new experience for me.

In first place was ‘The Scream’, which gained my attention because of its distinctive style, dark humour, and mostly its one way ticket into the depth of madness very artfully portrayed. It had great lines like “Freedom tastes like burnt coffee and soggy toast”, and “The signs are clearer than a pool of melted diamonds.” Each one cataloguing the protagonist spiralling ever downwards, or upwards depending on how skewed your point of view may be. As certainly by the end of the story, you are left somewhat infected and wondering about your own sanity and what exactly is sanity anyway?

In second place was ‘Mayday’ that took anthropomorphic fiction to a new level for me. Solidly based in a good construction that predicated the story, it then went on to offer new insights into a realm of being what very few writers venture into with such a great level of detail and careful thought. The story left me recalling a saying; 'the chance of being born human is that of a turtle popping its head through a yoke floating in the middle of an ocean’.

In third place was ‘A Way with the Kids’ a cracking suspense/horror story with a good plot line, good characterisations and a very nice twist three quarters in that led to a great conclusion. This story certainly could be the seed of a fantastic novel if pursued further in greater depth.

Next up were the three highly commended stories. ‘A Crown of Burrs’, which nicely delved into the world of being a child, where days seem like years and the imagination knows no bounds and seeps readily into reality. ‘Love at First Site’ took a great look at social networking as it relates to real-world dating and romance, with a superb twist at the end. ‘The Green Gators’ peered over the rich golfing green divide into the desperate lives of the caddies and golf ball stealer's behind the scenes.

Being an editor/publisher for three years solid now means I have seen an ocean of submissions flow under my bridge and catching my interest is no easy task. Therefore, interesting ideas, themes and writing styles were the aspects that wooed me to make a final choice. To all those who did I congratulate you, and definitely think you have a future in creative writing.

Not that I’d recommend creative writing or any other art to anyone, unless their passion for it runs very deep; deep enough to sustain them through the agony of it all. For career, creative writing is not for the faint-hearted, and it does seem that it’s not the most talented who are published, but the most determined to be published. Therefore, I hope that this confirmation of your talent leads you on to a great resolve to continue writing and never give up. Take heart in the fact that while the initial writing is a solitary pursuit, publishing is most certainly a team effort. (From: SLQ Short Story Competition (October 2010) Judge's Report)


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