Flashscapes! 2023 Competition Winner Announcement

We are thrilled to announce the winners of this year’s Flashscapes! Competition in partnership with Raine Square and Night Parrot Press.

This year we had a record 128 entries, posing a tough task for judges Laura Keenan and Linda Martin of Night Parrot Press.

The winners are:
First place: Belinda Rowe with “Long Haul from Perth to Exmouth”.
Second place: Alison Davis with “A taste of the great life”.
Third place: Faith Pollard with “Midnight Wash”.

Judges’ Report

“We are excited to share the winning stories from this year’s Flashscapes contest and we hope you enjoy them as much as we do. We are grateful to each and every WA writer who submitted a story—it is always a vulnerable act, no matter if you submit 100 words or a full-length manuscript. We are honoured to have read your story and have been moved in some way from each one.

“After three years of judging incredible stories inspired by WA book covers, we decided to pivot and ask writers to use inspiration from WA’s own landscapes, seascapes and landmarks for this year’s contest. We couldn’t have imagined a more stunning response from the 128 entries we received. It was truly inspiring to read stories of such a high calibre, inspired by places in our great state that may not always get the attention they deserve. We had an incredibly difficult task of narrowing down the entries to a shortlist of ten, then to the top three winners. Truth be told, we could have commended a longlist of about 35 stories that sang to us for different reasons, but we had to pick the ones that excelled and exemplified the flash form in terms of narrative arc, subtext, word precision and the ‘gasp factor’. Each of these Top 3 winning stories fulfill these criteria and leave us exhilarated and inspired. Congratulations to the winners, shortlisted writers, and thank you to every writer who entered.” Laura and Linda, co-publishers at Night Parrot Press

First Place: Belinda Rowe with “Long Haul from Perth to Exmouth”.
Our judges said: “We instantly fell in love with this flash story for its evocative language, cinematic imagery and narrative that deftly breaks expectations. Its subtle love story expands like the bush surrounding the open road, and invites the reader along for the ride, unable to let go, long after its ninety-nine word count. The main character reflects a relatable sensitivity and yearning, and the contrast of the thunderous trajectory of an eighteen-wheeler against a mesmerising backdrop of a timeless, boundless natural world leaves us in a state of perpetual awe.”

Second Place: Alison Davis with “A taste of the great life”.
Our judges said: “This flash story is a masterclass in the art of omission. The dialogue between the two strangers is perfectly crafted to imply meaning and emotion without revealing too much and spoiling the tension. The setting and character traits in this story are wonderfully quirky—a gigantic yet underwhelming banana, a bored cashier and a politely curious customer who drinks chocolate milk—combining to a word-perfect story that we hope leads to an unlikely romance.”

Third Place: Faith Pollard with “Midnight Wash”.
Our judges said: “The setting in this flash story elevates a moment of personal crisis and grief to a heightened state of sensory awareness and reflection. The language grabs you from the first sentence and you can’t quite exhale until the last word, stunned by the beauty and power of the narrator’s confession, and honoured to have been invited to share in such a raw vulnerability. We love the anthropomorphic qualities of the moon and the breathtaking image of lorikeets giving voice to human sadness and suffering.”

The judges would also like to give a special mention to Jeanette Stampone for her entry “The Last Feast”. They said, “The judges want to acknowledge one story in particular, whose subject consistently provided time to idle and write flash stories (especially dark comedies).”

Shortlisted entries are published in the Raine Square Short Edition Story Dispenser and on Writing WA’s Literary Map. First, second, and third place will each be awarded a Raine Square gift card to the value of $500, $300, and $200 respectively.

You can read all of this year’s entries on the Love to Read Local website.

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