Haringey Literature Live is proud to announce the winners of its Open Studios Flash Fiction Competition!
A big thank you to everyone who entered our first writing competition! And thanks also to the artists who allowed their work to be photographed so that writers could go home and create their amazing stories.
From November to January we were sent some fanastic 200-word pieces. The standard was very high across all the age categories and the entries consistently proved that whole stories can be told in just 200 words. The economy of the form focused the writing, making it incisive and exciting. People were inspired by all sorts of artworks from paintings to photography, ceramics, embroidery and jewellery.
The competition was judged anonymously, by poet and novelist Naomi Foyle, who very much enjoyed the task of choosing her favourites.
We publish here the winning entries, along with the pieces of artwork which inspired them. Information about our judge and about our fiction-inspiring artists can also be found
Naomi says: ‘The Enchanted Egg’ is a perfectly formed short story. Deftly twisting folkloric themes into the neatly evoked local setting, it’s told with vibrant language, memorable imagery, and a droll sense of humour that keeps ticking ’til the very end.
THE ENCHANTED EGG
Robert slouched round the Chocolate Factory Open Studios.
“Don’t touch!” warned his mum. Robert’s hand hovered over the tooled, leather book. Instead, he pocketed a gilded business card to join the others in his pocket. As he wandered down the corridor to Lucky’s pots, he felt like thumping a blob of clay. Robert ran a finger furtively over a row of huge, glossy eggs like a fussy charwoman checking for dust. The eggs were mottled, marbled and cold as trout. Wait. He touched a green, freckled egg again. This egg was hot.
Robert unwrapped the egg in his room — Mum’s gift for behaving all afternoon. He lay it gently down and fell asleep.
He was woken early by golden light filling the room. The egg was twitching, cracking, a claw stretched out, then a smooth head.
“The Phoenix at your service. I foretell fire.”
“But we live here!”
Robert tore open the curtains and scanned the horizon. The stark chimney of Edmonton waste disposal offered a solution. The Phoenix flew fast as an arrow. As it dropped inside, a finger of flame shot out, twice the height of the tower.
“Wow,” said Robert.
Under 18s category
Winner: Celia Bax
Artwork: Night’s Secrets, Lucky Rutland
Naomi says: ’Hope’ takes a still night seascape and endows it with human pain, drama and solace. A beautifully rendered piece of writing, its strong visual and emotional charge is thanks in large part to the writer’s command of telling detail.
It’s started again. The pointless shouting, the constant accusing. Every day it ends the same, mum sobbing, dad off on a long walk. Alone. Their fights are blind stabs in the dark because no-one can be blamed, can they?
My sister died at the age of 4, diagnosed with Nasopharyngeal cancer. Now all my parents do is row. We even moved to this village by the sea to get away from all the “traumatising memories”.
The ocean calms me. Even as they argue I can hear the steady beat of the waves crashing on the rocks at the end of the path. Tonight ocean and sky have merged into one — the same shades of deep navy and soft cornflower blue.
Two trees intertwine on the bank. An owl sits contently staring out to the ocean. I wish I were a bird. To spread my wings and fly away, sit on a sturdy branch with no worry it will crumble like my family. And then I see what the owl is gazing at. A slit of light in the darkness. And for a minute I feel a warm, bright feeling that makes the sound of arguing melt away. Hope.
Under 11s category
Winners: Ines Aberdeen and Liberty Reason (joint writers)
Artwork: Black & White Cow, Mark Entwisle
Naomi says: An apocalyptic fantasia morphing cow and game show outlaw, and bursting with Foucauldian insights into power and punishment, the hugely enjoyable ’Bloodthirsty’ is perhaps the world’s first ‘epic flash’. Writers to watch!
Ines Aberdeen and Liberty Reason
Flynt survived the War Games. But he’d got bloodthirsty. Within days, villages had disappeared. As he entered the War Games, Flynt’s favourite colour changed from green to red.
It was during late autumn that the police noticed Flynt’s change of behaviour. Soon after, he was enclosed in a white, claustrophobic corridor. First, came self-pity, next tears, and lastly, humid exasperation. Flynt mooed with hopelessness, as he carried on roaming. Slowly. Very Slowly. The mouthpiece that stopped Flynt biting was tight and made him feel more dangerous than he was. Turning around with a flicker of hope, he saw a white door. Finally. Freedom. But no. Suddenly, the one lonely gash of hope morphed into a flame of displeasure.
He should have realized the world would not take pity on him. After all, he had demolished most of the capitals, villages, towns, practically everything. If you hadn’t died, you would’ve been majorly wounded.
Flashbacks haunted Flynt throughout the bitter cold night, where he’d changed from being a power freak to a vunerable loner. It was like he was in a loner pod. Deserted. Abruptly, a pair of black eyes stabbed Flynt in the backside and he knew he wasn’t alone.
Our competition judge Naomi Foyle was born in London and grew up in Hong Kong, Liverpool and Saskatchewan, and now lives in Brighton. Naomi is the author of several poetry collections, The Night Pavillion, a 2008 Poetry Society Recommendation, and The World Cup (2010) both from Waterloo Press. Her poetry readings include appearances at The Cuisle Festival in Limerick, and Tacheles Art House in Berlin. Librettist of the award-winning bouffon opera Hush (Theatre Passe Muraille,Toronto 1990), she is also the author of a short verse drama, The Strange Wife, produced by the Bush Theatre in 2011. Naomi’s first novel, Seoul Survivors, a cyber-thriller set in South Korea, will be published by Jo Fletcher Books in Februrary 2013. Naomi holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Bangor University. Her topic, Venus Victrix: The Warrior Woman in Narrative Verse, propelled her into activism, and she now campaigns for a just peace in the Middle East. www.naomifoyle.com
Lucky Rutland is a New Zealander who has lived in London for 27 years. She has been an artist and teacher for 13 years. She loves to sculp in clay and also paints and makes ceramics. She works on commissions and has at least 5 exhibitions a year. The biggest influences on her work are mother nature and the human form. At her Chocolate Factory studio Lucky teaches adults and also children from 4 years of age. Her oldest student is 85 years old, and some of the children have been working with her for up to 12 years. She says she loves teaching children because their outlook is so fresh and they inspire her work as much as she inspires theirs. To find out about her wonderful classes email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Entwisle was born in Amman, Jordan in 1961. At school, art was encouraged and appreciated and was always the thing that defined him. He graduated in 1984 from a degree in Illustration at Brighton, and got his first commissions from Penguin Books. Mostly book covers (Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Aldous Huxley and P.G.Wodehouse), theatre posters for the National Theatre and record covers. He worked as an illustrator for 15 years, but was also doing his own paintings and showing them at Beaux Arts, Bath and Long and Ryle, London. In 1999 he had his first portrait accepted into the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery. Another was accepted the following year and he was commended in 2002. Recently he has been teaching part time at the National Portrait Gallery. He has also had work exhibited at the RA Summer Show, Hunting Art Prize, Nat West Art Prize, Laing Art Prize, Royal Society of Watercolours, The Discerning Eye, The Threadneedle Prize and The Lynn Painters and Stainers Prize. www.markentwisle.co.uk