Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Plug of the Month - Catherine Chanter in the Asham Award

For those that don't  know the Asham Award, it's a biannual short story competition for women. The closing date for next year's award is this Thursday, so I thought it an apt moment to plug last year's collection - "Waving At The Gardener" . I enjoyed the previous collection "Is This What You Want?" enough to submit a piece two years ago. Sadly I wasn't even longlisted, but my friend Catherine Chanter made it to the final 12 and deservedly so..

I first read her excellent story "A Summary of Findings" when she submitted it for critique before handing it as an assignment. The brief was to write a piece from at least two different points of view. Whilst most of us went for the standard two person piece, Catherine in typical bold fashion, wrote a story with a monstrous but hugely sympathetic central character, whose mistakes were coldly analysed by commentaries from various professionals writing reports to cover their backs after a terrible event has occurred. Catherine makes us completely understand Callie's difficulties and pain, yet also, how her failings as a mother contribute to the tragedy that unfolds. There is a wonderful word play (particularly on the multitude of uses for the word "unit") and a sense of impending danger that builds up to the dramatic conclusion.

Highly recommended.

And STOP PRESS I have just seen that Catherine has won the 2010 Yeovil Prize for Poetry with her poem The Foster Boy's Bedroom. If this was the one she shared in class, I'm not surprised. Well done Catherine!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

#FridayFlash Awards (Finally)

So here I am on Saturday, reading some #FridayFlash  stories and remembering just what I love about this online writing community. I'm hoping, after a two month absence, that I'll find some inspiration to join in next week, but right now, it is about time I gave out some long promised #FridayFlash awards. The very wonderful Mazzz in Leeds nominated me some time ago and the deal is that one is supposed to nominate other writers too. It's been a long summer, so I've never quite managed it. So here goes, with probably my first round, 4 that I love (in no particular order):

Laura Eno who writes over at A Shift in Dimensions  is one of the earliest (maybe even founding?) members of #FridayFlash. She's always welcoming to newcomers and she's also a very fine comic writer. Her ongoing serial about the adventures of a peanut eating Death and his best buddy the rather hapless Chronos (Father Time) are hilarious, and this week's entry, though not in that series, is just laugh out loud funny. Enjoy.

Simon at Skycycler is very different. He writes poetic, moving stories of moments between people that are poignant or funny, sometimes both. He hasn't been writing much of late, so I hope that's just a blip. And I look forward to more in the future. But treat yourself to his back catalogue - you won't be disappointed.

Mazzz in Leeds is another regular #FridayFlash writer, and one I loved even before she nominated me!  She's well known for the high death rates in her stories, but they are done with such aplomb and infinite variety that each new story is a complete revelation. I love her sense of the gothic and dark humour and the moments of pathos that come when the laughing stops. Read her write now!

Finally, I came to #FridayFlash because my husband spotted David Masters tweeting about it. David writes over at Truant Pen with an enviable delicacy and incredible range. He writes with compassion and understanding and seems to be able to move from satire to compassion, humour to tenderness with incredible ease. Definitely one to watch.

There are many, many more, so I'll have to do this again, but that's it for now, my first round of #FridayFlash awards!