Writers celebrated at short story awards

Jo Dippie, back left, of Page &  Blackmore with short story prize winners Febriani Idrus, Jackie Cook, Reade Moore, ...

Jo Dippie, back left, of Page & Blackmore with short story prize winners Febriani Idrus, Jackie Cook, Reade Moore, Sally Astridge and Wix Hutton.

The New Zealand short story genre is in fine form if the recent competition held by the Top of the South Branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors is anything to go by.

This year's Page & Blackmore Short Story competition attracted a record 162 entries and was won by Wellington writer Vivienne Bailey's story Samoa Dreaming.

Judge Kevin Ireland described the winning entry as having "an almost dreamlike simplicity that subtly conceals terrific technique."

Organiser Sue Perkins said this year's standard of short stories was especially high.

"We were astonished at the number of entries; there were at least 40 more than we've ever had before, from all over New Zealand," Perkins said. "Every entry in the competition gets feedback so it was quite a task for the preliminary judging panel and the final judge Kevin Ireland. I am really grateful to them all and to everyone who entered."

The entry fee helps the Top of the South branch to encourage writers at all stages of their careers through workshops and out reaches. Top of the South was well represented in the 10 top entries that will be published in the anthology Horizons 3 in September.

Jackie Cook of Riwaka took second place with her story When Martha Opens The Door was described by Ireland as having "a lightness of touch that makes it quite outstanding."

Motueka's Reade Moore was third with her story Watercolours, which "handles a child's self-protective confusion of thoughts and visions with a delicacy and imaginative accuracy that is a pleasure to come across," Ireland said.

"To those writers who made the short list, I offer my congratulations and the happy thought that another judge may have come up with a quite different set of prize winners," Ireland said. "Each of the stories has its own merits; all of them deserve to be here at the end."

Highly commended were Sally Astridge (Nelson), Vivienne Bailey (Wellington), Wix Hutton (Nelson), Febriani Idrus (Wellington), Carolyn McKenzie (Thames), Christina O'Reilly (Palmerston North) and Shannon Savvas (Nelson).

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