2017-SA-SSCOMP
SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED | WINNERS ANNOUNCED 31 MAY

SAWC 2009 Short Story Competition Results

Congratulations to the winners of the 2009 SAWC Short Story Award. We are thrilled to announce the names of the top entrants from over 100 stories:

First Prize is awarded to Ashley Symes for Martin Mandel's Parabola
 
Second Prize is awarded to Shelley Blignaut for Pieces of Peony-Painted Teacups

Third Prize is awarded to Grant Griffiths for A New Life

Fourth Place is awarded to Tarryn Saunders for The Swelling of the Sea

 

A big 'thank you' to our judges, namely authors Henrietta Rose-Innes, Charlotte Randall, Karen Jeynes, Lisa Lazarus and Ginny Swart. They all commented on the excellent standard of the stories this year.

Below are the top stories, with the full results and brief comments by the judges as well as full critiques for the top three.

Position: Overall Winner / First Prize                                       Read the SAWC Prizewinning Story Here
Read the mini critique by Ginny Swart

Story Name: Martin Mandel's Parabola - by Ashley Symes   

 
Marking Criteria
 
Judge 1
 
Judge 2
 
Judge 3
 
Judge 4
 
Judge 5
Readability
 
4/5
 
5 /5
 
3 /5
 
5 /5
 
4/5
Originality
 
4.5/ 5
 
 4/ 5
 
4 / 5
 
4/ 5
 
4/ 5
Flow (Does the reader move smoothly through the story from point to point?)
 
4/5
 
4/5
 
3 /5
 
5/5
 
4/5
Does it hold your attention?
 
4/5
 
3 /5
 
4/5
 
5 /5
 
4/5
Imagery and use of language
 
4/5
 
5 /5
 
4/5
 
4/5
 
4/5
Overall gut response: did you like it?
 
4.5/5
 
 4/5
 
4/5
 
5/5
 
4/5
Totals
25/30
25/30
22/30
28/30
24/30

Overall Total: 124/150

Comments:

-          A sophisticated telling of a quietly moving story. Excellent use of language and imagery. Some impressively complex play with mathematical concepts in this meditation on mortality - these might occasionally lose a reader, but in the main this is a pleasure to read.

-          Masterful use of the language, a really intelligent story. The rather clipped style appealed to me although I had the feeling the writer was standing back too far from Martin and writing with such restraint that no emotion was allowed through. Which might be an unnecessary observation as this clearly was not intended to be an emotional piece. But the character of Martin M is so well drawn and there is a very satisfying completeness to the whole thing. Loved it.

-          This is a charming and quirky story, but lacks a real hook.

-          I liked this story a lot, even more so on second and third readings. It presents a very ordinary, mundane situation, and yet manages to squeeze into it the shape of every human life.

 

Position: Runner-Up / Second Prize                                            Read the SAWC 2009 Second Prize Story here

Read the mini critique by Ginny Swart

Story Name: Pieces of Peony-Painted Teacups - by Shelley Blignaut

 
Marking Criteria
 
Judge 1
 
Judge 2
 
Judge 3
 
Judge 4
 
Judge 5
Readability
 
3.5 /5
 
4 /5
 
4/5
 
4/5
 
4/5
Originality
 
4/ 5
 
 5/ 5
 
5/ 5
 
5/ 5
 
5/ 5
Flow (Does the reader move smoothly through the story from point to point?)
 
4/5
 
 5/5
 
5/5
 
3/5
 
3/5
Does it hold your attention?
 
4/5
 
5 /5
 
5/5
 
3 /5
 
3 /5
Imagery and use of language
 
3/5
 
 5 /5
 
4/5
 
3/5
 
2/5
Overall gut response: did you like it?
 
4/5
 
 5/5
 
5/5
 
2 /5
 
3/5
Totals
22.5/30
29/30
28/30
20/30
20/30

Overall Total: 119.5/150

Comments:

-          A lovely, inventive concept, and a beautiful evocation of childhood reality. Would have benefited from a more careful final proofread.

-          I only took off one mark because I know that no story can get full marks. So I subtracted one for the few punctuation errors (dead one's, love for Ravens, plus a few missing commas.) but there's no other way of saying I thought this story was brilliant on every level! It such an unusual concept with a totally unexpected denouement at the end and a beautiful summing- up of the invisible friend's sad realization of her place in this world. Great imagery and use of language. Definitely my Number One.

-          I loved this story! Evocative, powerful, simple. Brilliant.

-          Very original and well written. However, the theme is less interesting to me than the themes of the other stories.

 

Position: Third Place                                                                 Read the SAWC 2009 Third Place Entry Here

Read the mini critique by Ginny Swart

Story Name: A New Life - by Grant Griffiths

 
Marking Criteria
 
Judge 1
 
Judge 2
 
Judge 3
 
Judge 4
 
Judge 5
Readability
 
4/5
 
4 /5
 
4/5
 
4 /5
 
4 /5
Originality
 
3.5/
 
4/ 5
 
4/ 5
 
3/ 5
 
3/ 5
Flow (Does the reader move smoothly through the story from point to point?)
 
3.5./5
 
3/5
 
4/5
 
4/5
 
4/5
Does it hold your attention?
 
3.5/5
   
4/5
 
3/5
 
3 /5
 
4/5
Imagery and use of language
 
3.5/5
 
  3 /5
 
4/5
 
3/5
 
3/5
Overall gut response: did you like it?
 
3.5/5
 
  4/5
 
3/5
 
2/5
 
4/5
Totals
21.5/30
22/30
22/30
19/30
22/30

Overall Total: 106.5/150

Comments:

-          Great use of spirited, colloquial dialogue, and engaging characters. The "twist" at the end, however, did not seem completely motivated to me.

-          The local feel came through very well and the description of the street outside the toilets at Wynberg Station was spot on. Jolene's character  was written with a warm understanding.  For me, the best part was the subtle ending, which could go either way. The reader is left wondering if Cliffie would ever come home to find his chocolate and the test results, and would he care? And also if she would be better off if he did that, or not. 

-          Authentic dialogue and characters, but a little predictable, and an abrupt ending.

-          Nicely written. But again, a bit predictable. It doesn't quite manage the depths of insight that my favourite stories demonstrate.

Position: Fourth Place                                                           Read the SAWC 2009 Fourth Place Story here

Story Name: The Swelling of the Sea - by Tarryn Saunders

 
Marking Criteria
 
Judge 1
 
Judge 2
 
Judge 3
 
Judge 4
 
Judge 5
Readability
 
3.5/5
 
4/5
 
3/5
 
5 /5
 
3 /5
Originality
 
4/ 5
 
 4/5
 
3/ 5
 
5/ 5
 
3/ 5
Flow (Does the reader move smoothly through the story from point to point?)
 
3/5
 
3/5
 
3/5
 
2 /5
 
3/5
Does it hold your attention?
 
4/5
 
 5 /5
 
2 /5
 
5/5
 
  4/5
Imagery and use of language
 
3.5/5
 
 5 /5
 
2/5
 
5/5
 
  2/5
Overall gut response: did you like it?
 
3.5/5
 
4 /5
 
2/5
 
4/5
 
  3/5
Totals
21.5/30
25/30
15/30
26/30
18/30

Overall Total: 105.5/150

Comments:

-          Vividly imagined, with lush descriptive language and an overwhelming sense of building dread. Might have benefited from some paring down of the language, perhaps reducing the monologue to something shorter and sharper. But a moving, potent piece.

-          Wonderfully dark. Great use of language and imagery and a very stark, realistic look inside the mind of someone suffering post natal depression. Loved the gem squash head! Perfect last line. Do gulls drool?

-          I found the imagery overdone, and detracting from the intended emotion.

-          This story is written with great control and skill. But the sex change of the baby kept confusing me. There seemed to be no reason for it. Are we meant to assume it's her husband she wants to kill? Yes? No? Or am I missing something, even after reading it several times? Otherwise excellent.


Our Top 20 finalists (in no particular order)

Martin Mandel's Parabola - by Ashley Symes

Keeping the Piece - by Barbara Ann Moore

The Swelling of the Sea - by Tarryn Saunders

Missing Dad - by Karen Jones

A New Life - By Grant Griffiths

Mrs Lilly's Rose - by Gail Kirkwood

Divine Intervention - by Susan Ziehl

Always on Duty - by Debbie New

Yolande's Hope - by Dilys Brown

Growth - by Lisa Weber

Cornwall Hill - by Chenel Pieterse-Boyle

Pieces of Peony-Painted Tea Cups - by Shelley Blignaut

Getting Out - by Willow Burmeister

Elaine's Garden - by Alta Robert

The Way Home - by Veronica Williams

Snake Road - by Hazel Carlstein

Minnie from Limpopo - by Erica Buys

Give Me the Sky - by Rob Rochford

Scorched by ICE - by Cris Berry

Mind Marvel - by Gerhard Mullan

The Seeds - by Duncan Aird

 

More stories we loved....

You have to let me tell you about Cici... - by Juliette Manitshana

Population Growth - by Lesley Morillion

The Reluctant Fugitive - by Khatija Essa

Time is on My Side - by Elaine Edwards

Take the Plunge - by Nick de Pomeroy-Legg

The Red Shoes - by Ann Hoffman

Valerie - by Genna Gardini

The Rock - by Lynn Bezuidenhout

Flying Free - by Louela Honey

Yolande's Hope - by Dilys Brown

Good Night My Child - by Nabeela Kajee

All Grown Up - by Brett Rooth

 

PRIZES:

·         First prize: R2000.00 and free entry into a 5-month course of your choice

·         Second Prize: R500.00 and free entry into a 5-month course of your choice

·       Top three entries will be published on our college site and the winners will receive individual editorial guidance on their submitted works.

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