Short Story Awards 2010: People's Choice Award

23:38, Oct 09 2010
Short Story 2010
Short Story Awards 2010

The Sunday Star-Times Short Story Awards are on the 28th October 2010 and the huge number of entries have been whittled down to the top ten, thanks to our Open Division judge Charlotte Grimshaw. We now need your help in deciding the winner of the People’s Choice Award.

The writer of the story which receives the most votes will receive $750 in cash, $250 worth of books from Random House, and their story will be published in the Sunday Star-Times alongside the judge's choices.

The People's Choice Award is a recent to the Short Story Awards, with the winner being decided entirely by public vote.

Simply read the 10 excerpts from the top open division finalists below, and then vote for your favourite story by clicking VOTE NOW and typing in the title of the story in the subject line. The winner will receive the People's Choice Award at the Sunday Star-Times 2010 Short Story Awards Evening on the 28th October 2010.

TO VOTE: Email:
With the title of your favourite story in the subject line. One vote per email address allowed.

Voting opens Sunday, October 10, and closes on Friday, October 22.


Excerpts (in no particular order):

1. Good Grief
Do not muddle up the cards and presents. People are so kind, thoughtful, so generous.
The satin clad bride and the taffeta bridesmaids begin to unwrap. READ MORE

2. Leaving the Body
This is the end that justified the means: this tour, this circuit of corporate bodies. This is what he’s done since the launch of his book: powerpoints for the business sector, motivating speeches on targets, incentives, the driven uncompromising optimism of top-achievers. READ MORE

3. The Red Queen Hypothesis
Classes started in June. The first lecture for Evolution was on the Red Queen Hypothesis. Alice, Daniel and I weren’t early and sat somewhere near the middle of the lecture theatre. The lecturer was a tall, thin man with oversized limbs. He looked a bit like a giant, spindly bird. While he was waiting for everyone to arrive and stop talking he strutted along the runway at the front of the lecture theatre – his black silhouette outlined against the projector. READ MORE

4. Lucky
By Tracy Farr
She gets a park right by the cafe, and as she turns the key to shut off the ignition the wind takes over from the engine noise. She stares out at the grey- blue surf hurling itself from the Cook Strait, foaming the beach. The sand, littered with pebbles and seaweed and fragments of wood and plastic that the ocean throws up, is a grey that always looks dirty. This beach never sparkles in the sunshine, not unless you look past the grey sand and out at the breakers and through the mist and distance that draw your eyes south, unable to see it but knowing that, just there, just round the corner, is the South Island. If a rip carried you out, directly south from this dirty sand, it’d take you all the way to Antarctica before you hit land. READ MORE

5. End of a Holiday
“Hemingway has moments of genius,” I said. “Like when he talks about the shell exploding when he has taken his ambulance to the front and he says it is as if a furnace door was opened for a second – I don’t know what wars are like, or shells, or explosions but I know the heat and roar of a furnace and the way he writes that one tiny thing makes me feel it.”
Oliver rubbed at his chin and smiled. “What else? READ MORE

6. Stalking Ella Ryman
Of course I’d realised early on that Ella wasn’t writing autobiography. It wasn’t as simple as that. She would have only been a child when Sophie, her first heroine, spends the night fire watching and next day falls asleep on the Heath, under a sky of barrage balloons, to be woken by an awareness of Hector Marsham, her deceptively ingenuous nemesis, the second before he enters her life, throwing himself down on the grass and offering her a cigarette. READ MORE

7. Victor
‘Listen to me,’ he said. He put his hand on Soraya’s; she shrunk slightly from his touch. ‘You have to tell your parents. You just have to. Ask them to forgive you.  You’re their flesh and blood, they have a right to know.’ READ MORE

8. Four Windows, A Door
In winter the house shivers in the wind. She can hear the glass rattling in its frames and the whistling as it shoots through the gaps in the walls and doors.
Beneath her thick woollen jacket she feels the ice in her bones.
Knitting? Her husband says, what on earth are you knitting for?
Orphans, she replies. The woman’s  church group are knitting for orphans and unwanted children. READ MORE

9. A Happy Marriage
Margaret and I have been talking, all kinds of talking. We talk more now than we did when she was alive.
Most of the time, we chat about useful stuff; day-to-day things, things like the names of people we knew. And how long it should take for a parcel to get to Wellington, or where to buy the cheapest tomatoes. It feels okay to me. But people might think it’s odd that I'm talking to my dead wife, so it’s been my secret, and Margaret’s, and I’m happy with that. READ MORE

10. Emergency
I stared at the emergency buzzer on the far wall, miles away from Martin’s bed.
How could someone reach that? If you were on your own you couldn’t reach it.
You’d do yourself an injury trying to reach that.
“Maybe I should press the buzzer?” I said walking over.
“No Moira . . . wait.”