Reviews

Tania Hershman on Little Yellow Squares
This is a stunning, poetic, poignant flash story and I chose it as the winner because after reading all the longlist, it has lingered in my mind, it is haunting me. This story takes a topic that is not new but tackles it in a new way, in a way, to me, that makes perfect use of the length constraints of flash fiction and the possibilities in this brief space for something utterly magical.

David Gaffney on Inside These Tangles, Beauty Lies
This little story is great at showing how the past lives perpetually in our present and how small moments like watching TV and having your hair brushed can be powerful psychic anchor points, which we seek continually to recreate for ourselves and others. I love the idea of all the plants growing around the little girl’s bed and how she will remember this for the rest of her life too.

Alison Moore on This Bird She Calls Fear
This story has an intriguing opening, a beautifully handled revelation, and leaves behind a number of haunting images.

William Nicholson on Then
A lifetime in a page, the ache of what might have been, beautifully rendered.

Nicholas Royle on White Noise
Somehow ‘bigger’ than a lot of stories of this length, and showed a high level of technical expertise. The author of ‘White Noise’ has great powers of observation and an excellent ear (that killer final paragraph has extraordinary resonance).

Calum Kerr on Sunflower Seeds
An original approach to the idea of ‘a lie’. The story conjures the complexity of a relationship well, and the motif of the buns and the seeds is handled with skill. The twist at the end emerges organically from the story, and produces a satisfying conclusion.

Calum Kerr on Little White Lies
Written in an interesting and engaging style, with the plant forming a convincing heart to the story. The relationship is played out well, and the logical progression, while inevitable is still uncovered with subtlety.

Dawn Howarth on Tide or Hanger’s Tree
A very enjoyable story of a rite of passage, written with care and skill.

Penny Luithlen on Tide or Hanger’s Tree
Emotive and atmospheric writing. A great short story with a distinctive voice. You feel tension and anticipation in the first few lines as Rella’s challenge is conveyed and we get to know her thoughts and emotions. There are lovely pieces of description with good use of literary devices, as the story takes the reader away to another place. We have hopes, fears, rivalry, love and an intriguing ending.

Ian Skillicorn on Verbomania
This was an original take on the theme of gluttony, which I greatly enjoyed reading. It was written in a confident voice that held my attention throughout. While I had no idea where the writer was taking me, I felt they were in total command of their story. This was an accomplished and satisfying piece of writing.

Vanessa Gebbie on Smoke Signals
I very much enjoyed this sideways take on the topic, and the collision of old ways and new in an unidentified culture that this story explores. The characters are great and carry the message very well. Thought-provoking, gentle, and well written.

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