Holidays (closed)

Closed 4 January 2011.

Winner: Not Christmas Lights by Robin Rhyner.

1. Christmas Surprise by Gael McCarte

2. The Wombat Returns – Holiday Excerpt by Mark Cunningham

3. Christmas-Baked Ham with Raisin Sauce by Robin Rhyner

4. Pearls by Pem Charnley

5. Not Christmas Lights by Robin Rhyner

6. A Christmas Peril by Punnus Man

7. Holding Hope by Tamara Hunter

8. Hopes Hung Like Ornaments by Catherine Houlahan

9. View From An Island by Greg Doolan

10. Time Changes Hearts – Excerpt by Jocelyne Immell

Comments by guest judge Irene Wringe:

In a collection of short pieces, reflecting different genres, that show admirable creativity, imagination, verve and skill, choosing a winner was not a simple process. It has been both enjoyable and very difficult. How to compare thoughtful reflection to an uplifting poem or vivid characters in a short story?

After much thought (and mild frustration at not being able to name multiple winners) Not Christmas Lights gets my vote.

This small fiction conjures its scene vividly, the language and style – short, bleak evocations of reality interspersed with longer, detailed sentences of hope and warmth. It shows confidence in its expression and skill in its pacing, and is well put together.

It uses the short form to effectively portray an image of dysfunctional family life with skill and in a manner that made me care about every character on the page. This is no mean feat in less than 500 words. None is wasted, from the first paragraph, which plunges the reader straight into the children’s world, to the heart-tugging end.

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