Judge: Gwyneth Lewis
There was huge variety of strategies, style, tone and voice in the poems I read. As ever, the No pile was usually easy to add to, as was the YesShort Story and Flash Fiction Report:
I asked myself: Is this a story that sheds light on the human condition, or is it interesting to the poet mainly because it happened to him or her?
I tested the Maybe pile for accuracy of observation. Call me a pedant, but I lose interest in poems that use lazy logic and slack details
Judge: Patrick Gale
I was delighted that there were so many entrants for these prizes this year – over six thousand for the short story category and nearly two and a half thousand flash fictions. Most writers write what they like to read and the breadth and depth of the entries gave the lie to the myth – surely kept alive by publishers, for whom the form rarely makes a profit – that the short story is as defunct as antimacassars
Of the entries, I set aside whatever bored or failed to surprise me and whatever I felt I had already written several times before.
Fiction at its best takes the reader into other minds in a way that will transform their own ...
I could never have predicted that their [Flash Fiction Entries] overall standard of writing, wit and originality would be higher than the short stories, but this was undoubtedly the case.