Friday, September 23, 2011

New Rose Prize 2011 - a judge's view

Well, the waiting is nearly over - who has won the very first New Rose Short Story Prize? The decision has been made, and I'll be announcing the winner and runners-up on MONDAY 26th and FRIDAY 30th SEPTEMBER respectively, together with an extra Judges' Special Mention award that we created after we read the story in question...

While the nail-biting continues for a couple more days, here's what competition judge Jamie Guiney thought about the experience of reading the entries for this year's prize:

I wholeheartedly enjoyed reading and judging each entry for this year’s New Rose Prize. My main prerequisites for deciding the shortlist, were that each piece should not only be well written, but should also tell a great story. After reading through all of the entries, I had some observations and two main things which stood out for me.

I found it astonishing just how many talented, unpublished writers there were. A lot of stories were very well written, but were prevented from making the final shortlist by a flaw in the story itself - for example, some of the tales were unnecessarily long, others fell short of being able to hook me in and keep me there until the end.

The winning story really impressed me. For a piece that was written by an unpublished writer, it just totally blew me away! I will look forward to reading more of their work in the future!

I just want to also say well done to everyone for submitting their work. It’s not easy to send your stories out into the world, an experience that can be extraordinarily daunting for first-time writers. To all of those who were shortlisted, I offer my congratulations. Let this be a pat on your back: you have talent, keep writing, keep learning. To those who didn’t make it this year, some of you were closer than you’ll ever know. But keep on writing, keep on trying. You are all writers, all you need to do now is simply ...practice.

'Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.' Samuel Beckett

'You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist.' Isaac Asimov

I'd like to say a massive thanks to Jamie for his expert eye and for all the hard work he has put into judging this competition. He put in more hours than anyone else and, to recognise this, we awarded him the title of Head Judge! We had an enormous amount of entries - more than any of us expected - and it was a pleasure and privilege to read all your work.

So, watch out for the big announcement on MONDAY 26th SEPTEMBER at 12 NOON (UK Time) - when I'll publish the winner's story here. The two Runners-Up and the winner of the Judges Special Mention award will be announced on FRIDAY 30th SEPTEMBER and you'll be able to read their entries here, too.

Best of luck to everyone - not long to wait now!

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