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Short Memoir Prize 2018: Results, Short & Long-lists

 

 

Winners

Short-list

Long-list

 


 

The Ten Winners:

Marti Leimbach

Marti Leimbach, Short Memoir Judge 2018

Selected by judge Marti Leimbach 
to be published in the Fish Anthology 2018

The Fish Anthology 2018 will be launched as part of the West Cork Literary Festival  (16th July 2018).
All of the writers published in the Anthology are invited to read at the launch.

First prize is €1,000.
Second prize is a week at Casa Ana Writers’ Retreat
in Andalusia, Spain, and €300 travel expenses.

 

The comments on the memoirs are from Marti Leimbach.

FIRST

What Was Once A City
by Marion Molteno (S. Africa/London, UK)

“The terrific energy of the writing conveys the chaos of the Mogadishu, and the writer is willing to not only show us the realities of the city’s war time demise, but her own naïve notions, her frank ignorance, her earnestness and budding bravery in the face of it all. The heroes in such circumstances are never the outsiders, as the author points out, but those who take measures to help others within the small circle of their own reach. An honest glimpse into the efforts of someone who wishes to help in a situation too great for anyone to fully succeed. Wonderful transformation and insights in this short, impressive piece.”   M.L.

 

SECOND

Where the Track Forks Left and Where the Track Forks Right
by Jane Fraser (Wales)

“A quiet, beautiful piece that charts the unclear path of a woman in love with a man, not her husband. The balance of desire and regret, the tremendous price of mid-life love, the understandable need to escape from a loveless marriage even at the expense of her own children, are all captured in a few thousand words. And every page oozes with a sense of place and time. The author achieves all this while making it appear effortless. What a lovely read.”   M.L.

 

THIRD

Glue by Ruth O’Shea (Aran Islands, Ireland)

“I particularly like the first few sections of this inventive piece. There is a kind of urgency right away as the family crosses a border with a richness of language and detail make it feel incredibly real. Wonderful portrayal of a particular domestic life, brought alive in a set of small scenes that make it feel as though the reader is flipping through an album of memories.”   M.L.

 

HONORARY MENTIONS

 

Banbridge Lass by Wendy Breckon (Devon, UK)

“This is an atmospheric piece with a lot of immediacy to it. In the early pages, the author often divides up her sentences, creating phrases that are punctuated as though they are sentences. While I recognized this was a stylistic choice, I found it distracting and kept wanting to reorganize the words so that they conformed to a more conventional grammar. As the narrative continues, the spliced up sentences seem less frequent and the flow is far better. The characters are well developed in only a short space and the writing is full of wonderful details that give the work lots of authority. I love the haircut and its aftermath, Aunt May, the slightly creepy uncle and the very stern, rather awful, father. We only get a small smattering of his character early on. I think the author might have him utter something disapproving of Wendy earlier on so that when he is even worse later we see a deepening of that character development.”   M.L.

 

Midwife’s Daughter by Saffron Marchant (Hong Kong)

SONY DSC

“An engaging piece that combines grisly facts with a sense of humour and the day-to-day realities of motherhood. I was somewhat confused by the colostomy bag attached to her mother after James’s birth as I thought they were as a result of fistulas and not bladders that had been perforated by a surgeon during a caesarean, but I am not an expert on these things. The piece gets stronger when specific scenes are presented and acted out, rather than the more generally related. Consistent tone, a strong narrator and the midwife, herself (the writer’s mother) is especially well-drawn.”   M.L.

 

Documented by Pauline Cronin (San Francisco, USA)

“I love the misguided application of love from the father, the dutiful daughter who does her best to please him and to hold onto her own sense of self at the same time. The details about the need for money and better shoes through the winter are great. Lovely ending that opens out onto more questions.”   M.L.

 

Shell by Deborah Martin (Glasgow, Scotland)

“The familiar office politics and the narrator’s sense of marginalisation deepen through out the narrative. Anyone with experience of depression will recognize the truth of this writing and the manner in which all of us imagine the lives of others’ differently to their real lives. It was ambitious to try to span so much time in so few pages and the sense of scene is a little thin at time. However, it was a pleasure to read such a thoughtful piece about a difficult subject.”   M.L.

 

The Logic Of Blue Pyjamas by Fiona Montgomery (Glasgow, Scotland)

“The memoir is usually a genre in which the author recalls and dramatizes past events, but what if the specifics of those events eludes its author? This is the dilemma of the author of The Logic of Blue Pyjamas, whose memory of what is sometimes called “historic sex abuse” is patchy or absent. This lack of conscious memory makes it a unique kind of memoir, one fashioned on external information from experts on the subject, yet it manages to also be personal. The reader can’t help but want more details and shares the narrators yearning for distinct, vivid recollection.”   M.L.

 

Without Breaking The Air by Christina Sanders (Somerset, England)

“The author has given a nice structure to this piece, which is a reflection on a relationship with a father with alcoholism. The father’s character is particularly well drawn with some great dialogue that is used very well to deepen characterization. A particularly lovely opening as well as a stunning last paragraph.” M.L.

 

 Wilderness by Paul McGranachan (Strabane, Ireland) 

“This eery, gruesome little piece carries a lot of authority due to it’s author’s matter-of-fact tone. There is no doubt about it, the piece makes for difficult reading, especially as the suffering and death of the animals is, by the writer’s own admission, entirely pointless. I longed for the writer to take a position against the established practices of the lab, but that never arrived. I appreciated the way in which details were given, as well as the deftness of language that permeates the whole of the piece. The paragraph that begins, “It contains six miniature jam jars…” is a great example of what I mean. I love the corridors being described as having an “aquarian gloom” and I particularly like the character of the professor, who almost seems fictional in his sadistic behaviour toward the student he has singled out for bullying. While there are so many direct addresses that, at times, the piece seems not to be consistently first-person nor second person, I quite like it.”    M.L.

 

 


 

Short-list:

(alphabetical order)

There are 52 memoirs in the short-list. The total entry was 780.

 

Title

First Name

Last Name

Banbridge Lass

Wendy

Breckon

Steel Toe Capped

David

Brennan

Miracle

Catherine

Brophy

To Whom It May Concern

Carolyn

Butcher

Halcyon Days

Susanna

Clayson

In the Winter of ’47

Martin

Cromie

Documented

Eanlai

Cronin

Pain Scale

Deborah

Darling

Life

Jack

Durack

The Time of Runcorn

Charles

Evans

The Spy Who Might have been

Charles

Evans

Where the Track Forks Left and Where the Track Forks Right

Jane

Fraser

Roadkill: An American Memoir

Soma Mei Sheng

Frazier

Offer It Up

Jason

Gillikin

The Small Brown Suitcase

Jonathan

Haylett

The crack in the wall

Niall

Herriott

March Madness, 1974

Richard

Holeton

Pee in here

shelagh

klein

Swimming in The World Turned Upside Down

la

Jennings

The Scream

Kathleen

Langstroth

SINGING ALONG

George

Mackay

Midwife’s Daughter

Saffron

Marchant

Shell

Deborah

Martin

The Arsenic Year

Anna

McGrail

The Gods of West Ham

Paul

McGranaghan

Wilderness

Paul

McGranaghan

Tall Table

Kendra

McSweeney

Ashes of Dad

Kyung

Meill

What was once a city

Marion

Molteno

The Logic of Blue Pyjamas – Reading into my life

Fiona

Montgomery

When The Birds Were Swooping

Stephanie

Mowry

ZJ 699

Breandan

O’Broin

Glue

Ruth

O’Shea

War is not suitable for Children

Judith

OConnor

The Very Word

lara

palmer

Excerpts From A Wedding Journal

Lynne

Pearl

125

Elizabeth

Rakow

Taint

David

Ralph

Mowsley

Ellie

Rees

Once Yugoslavia

Jane

Richardson

Without Breaking the Air

Christina

Sanders

Good Christian Soldier

morgan

schulz

On Getting Vivian

Sarah

Sleeper

The Junior Cadet

ian

tew

Smile

Boris

Thomas

The Routine Operation

Christopher

Thompson

On Hearing the Voice of God in the Desert

J.W.

Vass

Wall

John C.

Weir

Raw Space

Bradley

Wester

Heading Out

M.F.

Whitney

Night Terror

Megan

Williams

Back with Daisy

Neil

Wilson

 

 

 


 

Long-list:

(alphabetical order)

There are 179 memoirs in the long-list. The total entry was 780.

 

Title

First Name

Last Name

     

A Good Day at the Gym

Steven

Ashley

The Minister’s Daughter

Lizzie

Bailie

Beloved Bodies

Judith

Barrington

A Woman Alone

Sue

Bevan

The Flames

Mary

Black

When We Were Very Young

Oliver

Black

Beaver Celtic and the Genative Case

Martin

Blayney

Ms. Gaijin Learns Something

Elizabeth

Bodien

Banbridge Lass

Wendy

Breckon

Ghosts of Bone and Flesh

David

Brennan

Steel Toe Capped

David

Brennan

Miracle

Catherine

Brophy

Myself as a puff of dust: a ghost story.

Jane

Bryce

Gunpowder, Treason and Plot

Stephanie

Buckle

Cloud Forest Diaries

Miles

Burrows

To Whom It May Concern

Carolyn

Butcher

Clay Faces

Kerry

Campion

History of Love and Drugs: A Midterm

Laura

Carey

Wee Scottish Memoir

Sheila

Chambers

Eunice Aphroditois

Anna

Chilvers

Halcyon Days

Susanna

Clayson

Driving lessons

Jo

Colley

In the Winter of ’47

Martin

Cromie

Documented

Eanlai

Cronin

My Two Uncle Pats.

Deirdre

Crowley

Pain Scale

Deborah

Darling

Non Panicatus

Janet

Denny

Internally Displaced

Heather

Derr-Smith

Leaving

Beth

Ditson

The Chain Gang Suitcase

Ryan

Dunne

Life

Jack

Durack

Never Say Die

Sharon

Eckman

Seapro Summer, 1979

Julian

Edelman

Casting the Ballot

Julian

Edelman

Learning to Speak about Death

Simon Peter

Eggertsen

Jean, Jeanie

Helene

Elysee

The Girl Who Eloped

Genevieve

Essa

The Time of Runcorn

Charles

Evans

The Spy Who Might have been

Charles

Evans

Les Beatniks – August 1969

Andrew

Fear

The Endorphin Solution

Yvonne

Fein

What Follows

Frances

Fischer

A good black coat

Mary

Fox

Under the Singer

TOM

FOX

The Day the Generals Take Over

Jane

Fraser

Where the Track Forks Left and Where the Track Forks Right

Jane

Fraser

Roadkill: An American Memoir

Soma Mei Sheng

Frazier

The Gift

Peter

Freckleton

At Times Helpless, never Hopeless: Our Journey with IBD

JENNIFER

FREEDMAN

Lunniagh

Maureen

Gallagher

Verona

David

Gehring

The Trainspotter’s Guide to Virginity

David

George

Offer It Up

Jason

Gillikin

THE DEFAULT PSYCHIATRIST

R.C.

Goodwin

What’s in a Name?

Ian

Gouge

The Girl from New Jersey

Morgan

Griffin

The Rain and the Fog; the Ghost and the Spider

Linda LeGarde

Grover

Racing the Wind

Jolene

Gutierrez

This is a Love Story

Jane

Hacking

The Visits

Jane

Harrington

The Upper Saloon

John

Harris

From A Memoir of an Anthropologist: The Road to Byumba

Kirstan

Hawkins

The Small Brown Suitcase

Jonathan

Haylett

Learning

Maura

Hehir

My Name is Rocky Heller. I am Champion of the World

Ruth

Heller

The crack in the wall

Niall

Herriott

Two Weeks

Euwan

Hodgson

The Little Things

fergus

hogan

March Madness, 1974

Richard

Holeton

PASSING CLOUDS

Brian

Holland

Our Gang and Other Warfare

Richard

Hoskin

Monuments

Teresa

Hudson

Banjo Heaven

Cynthia

Hughes

Authorised Personnel Only

Margaret

Innes

Someone Else’s Money

Liz

Jones

Shift Change

Linda

Jorgenson

Father Mac

Lucienne

Joy

A Father’s Flowers

Pat

Keane

The System

Bella

Kemble

Only Me

James Allan

Kennedy

Pee in here

shelagh

klein

Swimming in The World Turned Upside Down

Dawn

Kozoboli

My Brief Career in an Irish Asylum

Christine

Lacey

The Scream

Kathleen

Langstroth

Written Twixt My Sheets

Aida

Lennon

Duck pâté and the First Law of Thermodynamics.

Roger

Lightfoot

City of Many Ironies

Robin

Lloyd-Jones

Storybook Wedding

Nancy

Ludmerer

Elymus Repens

Niamh

MacCabe

SINGING ALONG

George

Mackay

Countdown

Gordon

Mackenzie

Farewell Hurricane

Helen

Madden

It’s Only a Day

Kirsty

Malesev

Midwife’s Daughter

Saffron

Marchant

Shell

Deborah

Martin

January in Harlem

Margaret

McCaffrey

Corn Souffle

Maureen

McCoy

Dungeons, Church and Beach: Memories of Past Summers

Veronica

McGivney

Tyburn Street

Anna

McGrail

The Arsenic Year

Anna

McGrail

The Gods of West Ham

Paul

McGranaghan

Wilderness

Paul

McGranaghan

Grandma’s Eyes

Wayne

Mconie

Tall Table

Kendra

McSweeney

Ashes of Dad

Kyung

Meill

The Bastard Species

Laura

Merritt

Tears In Rain

Erinna

Mettler

My Father, The Man in the Moon

Tamara

Miles

What was once a city

Marion

Molteno

The Logic of Blue Pyjamas – Reading into my life

Fiona

Montgomery

Goodbye Robert

Caron

Moran

When The Birds Were Swooping

Stephanie

Mowry

My father walking

Janette

Munneke

Last chance

Jane

Murrell

Found: In Pieces

Melissa

Neff

‘Crow, crow’

Kerri

ní Dochartaigh

ZJ 699

Breandan

O’Broin

My First Confession

Anthony

O’Farrell

The Pig

Alice

O’Keeffe

The First Durex Machine in Cork

Eamon

O’Leary

St Bernard Spoiled the Party

Eamon

O’Leary

Glue

Ruth

O’Shea

The Family Flaw

Alexandra

O’Sullivan

War is not suitable for Children

Judith

O’Connor

Lost: a Memoir of My Sister Pamela

Paula Spurlin

Paige

The Very Word

lara

palmer

Coming In Off The Ledge

Elizabeth

Palombo

Special

Sarah

Passingham

Excerpts From A Wedding Journal

Lynne

Pearl

Farmboy Goes To War

Doug

Pender

I, Blind Alien

Petra

Perkins

Gnocchi

Amalia

Pistilli

THE YOUNG ARCHAEOLOGIST

catryn

power

White Girl in a Strange Land

Candida

Pugh

I’ve Never Been to Spain

Janice Nabors

Raiteri

125

Elizabeth

Rakow

Taint

David

Ralph

THIS IS HOW WE SAY GOODBYE

ALEX

REECE

Mowsley

Ellie

Rees

Once Yugoslavia

Jane

Richardson

Sacred Landing

Silvia

Rose

Without Breaking the Air

Christina

Sanders

A hundred tides

Jacqui

Scholes-Rhodes

Good Christian Soldier

morgan

schulz

Little Dog of my Youth

Dorothy

Schwarz

Changing Places

Elizabeth

Simpson

On Getting Vivian

Sarah

Sleeper

Plight

Clorinda

Smith

Lost and Found in La Triana

Tasha

Smith

Biscuits and Squash

Kerriann

speers

Who Knows

Neill

Speers

Write What You Know

Kathleen

Spivack

Safe in the Arms of Jesus

sally

st clair

One Does Not Simply Love

Tonya

Streeter

Muddy Path. Incidents in a childhood, 1954 – 1965

Myna

T

The Junior Cadet

ian

tew

At Least We Tried

George

Thomas

Smile

Boris

Thomas

More Than This

Mary

Thompson

The Routine Operation

Christopher

Thompson

Running on Empty

Fran

Tomlin

Making it Fit

Jenny

Toune

Failed Disney Love Story

Jennifer

Twomey

On Hearing the Voice of God in the Desert

J.W.

Vass

Gritty is the Nature of the Sun

Matthew

Villarreal

The House by The River

Catherine

Watkins

Wall

John C.

Weir

Raw Space

Bradley

Wester

Look Straight Ahead

Clare

Weze

Heading Out

M.F.

Whitney

Gilt, Guilt and Acorns

Barbara

Whittle

Magical Guilt 2

elizabeth

Wilde McCormick

Magical Guilt

Elizabeth

Wilde McCormick

Achha

Carl

Williams

Night Terror

Megan

Williams

Seasons in the Sun

Anne

Wilson

Back with Daisy

Neil

Wilson

She of the Sea

Morna

Young

 

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