Jam – apparently everyone has a novel in them…
Winners will receive full support free from the Mardiwriters’ team, and their books will be released in the second half of 2013.
This anthology has emerged from an open writing competition which we ran in conjunction with IdeasTap. The resulting several hundred entries astounded us by their quality and variety and we had a tough task whittling down to the final few winners.
So what made that top few per cent so special? When we offered the competition it was not with any number of winners in mind. We hoped enough entries might be of a good enough calibre to take further. Reading through all those entries was a fascinating experience and in sharing the judges’ selection here we hope to inspire more writers to achieve their goal of becoming published.
The compilation and editing of the collection has been a joy. We have tried to create the collection as a whole, without compromising the authentic individuality of the stories. Where American spelling has been used by native writers, this has been maintained.
A short story is usually a writer’s first foray into the world of writing. It may be the flesh of a childhood idea or the endgame of a preoccupation of thought. Once it is typed or written and saved it is a seed planted. Its growth comes with an audience, no matter how small. Whether or not it mutates is down to a combination of courage and chance. These sixteen very different stories are the result of courage and good timing. We hope that you, kind reader, will dip into this jampot, embrace the sweetness and spread the word so that their respective audiences may be given the chance to grow.
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Writer biography & story synopsis
Ed Ballard (Safe and Sensible Suggestions)
Ed Ballard writes about business for Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal, after editing the student newspaper during his studies at Edinburgh University. Throughout his Arabic and Politics degree, he set up a little creative writing magazine in which he could publish his work. Since then he has published one story in a little flash fiction magazine called Fractured West.
Two mysteries collide in ‘Safe and Sensible Suggestions’. When a hypnotherapist returns home to an empty house, with his girlfriend nowhere to be found, his world breaks down around him. Will an accusatory phone call from an old patient completely knock him off the edge?
Eleanor Bennett (The 36 Days)
Stories, from literature and history, have always compelled Eleanor Bennett. She loves writing, but isn’t always complimentary of her own work. Her favourite writers are Gorky, Steinbeck, Remarque and Kafka.
‘The 36 Days’ addresses the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, a revolution which isn’t common knowledge to many. The human side of this event is portrayed in order to raise awareness and accentuate the bravery of those who were forced to live through the 36-day horror.
Jonathan Brown (Colours)
An award-winning writer, Jonathan Brown’s success in short films and the theatre have motivated him to begin writing short stories. He has set up an online company, which produced a weekly radio play for free download. Tin Can Podcast won the Best Audio Award at the Fringe Report Awards, whilst Radio Drama Review named his play, Leaving a Legacy, one of the Top 20 Productions of 2012.
In addition, he has won both an international award from the NFB Canada at the Cannes Short Film Corner for his comedy, I Am Lonely and the Lost Five Minute Theatre Festival.
Reminiscent of a fable, ‘Colours’ tells the story of a young reporter who must decide whether a lonely old man’s story of finding a new colour in his back garden is truthful. Is the old man willing to release this defining feature of his life to the public or will the colour remain an unresolved mystery?
Gavin Bryce (The Legacy of Granny J Paterson)
Gavin Bryce is a freelance filmmaker and writer based in Edinburgh. He produces promotional films and motion graphics for a range of clients in the UK and abroad, providing script and concept as well as technical and creative services. In addition, he writes poetry, short stories and screenplays, some of which have been published, performed and filmed.
When strangers hijack a grandmother’s wake, buried secrets unfold in unforeseen succession. Relationships are tested and family dynamics are pushed to the limits in the beautifully told short story, ‘The Legacy of Granny J. Paterson’.
Constantine (And Things Began to Change)
Constantine is a 40 year old, father of two, who suffers from dyslexia, dyspraxia and Asperger’s syndrome. Homeless for five years, he has faced arduous hardship throughout his life. He has appeared in a documentary by Turner Prize Winner Jeremy Deller and BFI Short Film Winner Nick Abrahams and wishes to inspire his son who also has Asperger’s by studying for a BA (Hons.) in Creative Writing.
When the world folds in on it itself, its only hope is a man named John Christophe. He has a message. Something that will trigger profound consequences as things begin to change.
Keith Dumble (The White Lady)
Keith Dumble is an aspiring unpublished author from Edinburgh, drawn to stories of myth, legend and fairytale. He enjoys writing short stories inspired by Scottish folklore and is currently writing a supernatural historical young adult novel set in Edinburgh.
Inspired by Scottish folklore, ‘The White Lady’ is a tale of two siblings, forced to live with their cruel stepmother. Can their dead mother help them where the living cannot?
Véronique Falconer (There)
Véronique Falconer is a half-French, Kentish girl who lives by the sea. She recently graduated from the University of Nottingham with a first in Creative & Professional Writing, and will soon begin training as a pastry chef. When she isn’t baking, or eating, Véronique can almost certainly be found at her laptop dabbling in her latest writing project. In particular, she has a soft spot for poetry.
How well do you really know your other half?
You know how he takes his coffee. You know how he likes to wind down. And you know he loves you. But is that enough?
Connie is getting married, and her feet are cold. Twelve years ago, her fiancé was accused of a crime which dragged his name through the dirt. And even now, the taint remains.
It’s there. Unspoken about. Unforgotten.
Conversations need to be had.
Anna Forsyth (When I remember Pablo)
Anna Forsyth is a young writer, currently completing her MA in Scriptwriting at Goldsmiths College. She graduated with a First Class Drama degree from the University of Manchester last summer. She has also won two international screenwriting prizes (Rhode Island Film Festival, New York Screenplay Contest), as well as the Playtime award fro radio drama (2010) and the LOST Five Minute Festival (2011). Her passions are theatre, film, short stories, Arsenal FC, poker and ice hockey.
Inspired by Raymond Carver’s This is what we talk about when we talk about love, ‘When I remember Pablo’ is a modern tale of urban isolation. Twenty something New Yorker Jo ambles through life, drinking and worry-free. Will his attitude ever change?
Evan Guilford-Blake (The Thing with Feathers)
Evan Guilford-Blake’s stories have appeared in numerous print and online journals, and in several anthologies, winning thirteen contests. Two have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Noir(ish), his first novel, was recently published by Penguin.
He is also a playwright – more than forty of his plays have been produced; collectively, they have won 39 playwriting competitions. Eighteen are published.
He and his wife (and inspiration), Roxanna, live in south eastern U.S.
‘The Thing with Features’ is emotional, dealing with poignant subject matter in a refreshing and beautiful fashion. In a desperate need to contact her dead husband, Mary opens the urn containing his ashes. How will she deal with her loss when grief is eating her away?
Lorna Irvine (A Betrayal of Trust)
Since writing a James Bond parody at school aged twelve, Loraine Irvine always knew that she wanted to write. After writing at a newspaper and became a finalist with BBC Talent, she was noticed by performance editor Gareth K Vile. At present, she writes for Exeunt, Ideas Tap and Across The Arts, among other fine websites and publications.
Adolescence is raw, with every little incident amplified through the prism of hormones, thus a cause for melodrama and trivial arguments. ‘A Betrayal of Trust’ examines the bond between two teenage sisters and the vacuous nature of certain elements of popular culture.
D J Mac (The Special Day)
Alcoholism, tap dancing and an Achilles’ tendon are to blame for DJ Mac’s short stories. After attending a writers’ workshop at the Edinburgh Book Festival, his inspiration was kick-started. One year later, he has written poetry, several short stories and monologues. His day job is healing the sick.
A mother and son in Chile are distanced by disability and guilt. Driven by a desire to assuage her shame Luisa takes her son from the airless city to a spa in the hills for a special day out. An unexpected event causes change for both of them.
Helen Raven (A Cry For Help)
Helen Raven is a part time student at Nottingham University, studying Creative and Professional Writing. She is currently finishing her second year and expecting her first piece of writing to be published in the University Anthology in the next few months. She enjoys writing psychological thrillers.
Caught up in her boyfriend’s frightening gang life, Jennifer commits arson as a cry for help. But was her boyfriend truly a dangerous man, or was his presence in the gang just a ploy to retain respect, a dark façade to keep his friends off his back?
Sophie Reid (Tide)
Sophie Reid is currently studying for a Creative Writing MA at Exeter, after previously completing an English degree at BA level. Growing up in the middle of the English countryside fuelled her imagination and cemented her aspiration to become an author. She is currently working on several projects, which include a children’s novel. She also regularly reads her poetry and short stories at live events, which is both rewarding and challenging.
Returning to her childhood coastal town, buried in the heart of Cornwall, Etty White has a lot to face up to. As she stands by the water, staring out to sea, she wonders why, after all this time, she has decided to return to this place bursting with memories. How will she deal with the confrontation from old friends, truths and memories that the waves hold?
Fionn Shiner (Lana Del Raymond)
Fionn Shiner is a second year undergraduate student at the London School of Economics, studying politics and philosophy. After initially wanting to pursue a job in his university subjects, he is now interested in writing and acting as a career choice.
Ray is an average man, who falls irrevocably in love with the singer Lana Del Rey. Knowing that it is doomed to failure, he still allows his obsession to get the better of him and begins a tribute act like no other. Will it all end in tragedy?
Elly Strigner (Floods)
Elly Strigner is an artist, telling stories through illustration, animation and writing. Her work is eclectic, and involves printmaking, bookbinding, drawing, collage and words. Last year, she completed an MA in Sequential Design and Illustration at Brighton University. She currently lives and works in London, in addition to running an Illustration for Picture Books evening class for adults at a sixth form college in Cambridge.
A child runs herself a bath in secret, almost overflowing it – and, in doing so, convinces herself she is to blame for a coinciding disaster in her grandad’s hometown. Aimed at adults, this story is about the magnificent power a child’s imagination holds over their world.
Simon Thompson (Baroque)
Simon Thompson has spent the last few years writing sitcom scripts in the hope of getting something on BBC radio. He hasn’t had anything broadcast but has gone to second readings and has been a fairly regular contributor to their Newsjack programme. In the last year he’s begun to branch out into writing fiction and has written his first novel. This is his first published work, though he has just finished a script for Radio 4’s weekday afternoon play slot.
Art imitates life in this obsessive thriller where dark memories and twisted betrayal smudge the blood-red canvas. How far are two accomplices, painter and attendant, willing to go when tempted with a way to finally find long sought after success?