I’m terribly late at writing about novels that I’ve finished ages ago, but I have no clue how to review an anthology of pieces selected in a writing contest, so I’ve been putting this off since August. I feel doubly bad because these pieces are really interesting and I am aware that writers are already gearing up for submitting new pieces for the next competition… The clock is ticking my friends, the next short story deadline is actually end of this month!
I’d never heard of the Fish Publishing annual writing contest and its anthologies before Elizabeth Browne mentioned it in her blog “Fog City Writer”. In a rare post of her almost-extinct blog, she mentioned that she was a finalist for her memoir story. I know how well she writes, and the grace of a cheap Kindle edition gave me the impetus to download the 2015 edition.
I am so glad for this chance discovery as it gave me handfuls of new voices in several genres: short stories, memoirs, flash fiction, and poetry. Fish is a publisher in Ireland and their prize is supported by big names such as Roddy Doyle and Colum McCann as honorary patrons. The winning short story of 2015 was “The Pace of Change” by Chris Weldon. I was slow to warm up to this first one, but after that, I really was impressed by the diversity of stories and emotions. I enjoyed it as a reader, just for fun (although some subjects were quite heavy) but also as a writer, because it was nice to have such a range of different writings, especially in flash fiction. It was like jumping from one tiny bubble of raw emotion to the next, and I really slowed down to be able to enjoy each of them.
I’m not ready to enter any kind of competition with my stories, those little lumps of unfinished business, but I’m glad to have been made aware of what’s out there. Have you any other anthology to recommend for its variety and openness?