Most Read?

It is tempting to hope that visits to our story pages equate to visitors reading the stories. It would be wonderful to think that our winner from last year, Rachael Cudlitz, had nearly 700 readers for her story, not just 700 page visits. All our writers certainly deserve that audience and more.

What’s top of our list and what’s not is mainly a function of who promotes their stories most on social media, we try to advance the writing of all our authors. So, which were the most visited stories in 2019?

1. Saltwater by Rachael Cudlitz

2. The Essay by Hugh Kellett

3. Blueprint For The End Of The World by Laura Duerr

4. The Attraction Of Magnets by Grace Keating

5. Paper Leaves by Antonia Maxwell

Find more on our Stories page.

Why not choose your favourite, then tell the world by posting a link on your social media?

Pushcart Nomination

Here’s a first for Askance: this week we nominated one of our short stories for The Pushcart Prize. What have we chosen? Our Winter Short Story winning entry Saltwater by Rachael Cudlitz.

When a story stays with you over the months and is just as readable today as the first time we saw it, then the very least we can do is try and bring it to the attention of a wider audience. The Pushcart Prize is an extremely crowded field, the best there is from small presses across the world, but in our opinion Saltwater belongs with the best.

To find out more about the Pushcart Prize click the link.

It seemed like the perfect moment to do this, not only are nominations open this month and next, but the Askance Winter Short Story competition opens again on November 1st. Will we have another potential Pushcart nominee next year?

Casa Rosa: first reactions

We’re just hearing the first reader reactions to DJ Wiseman’s Casa Rosa. From Vancouver, BC, JG comments “so tender, such a good read, congratulations”; in Maryland, USA, AE “read the whole thing in four sessions, literally couldn’t put it down, I was walking around the house with it in my hand. Wonderful”; in Surrey, BC, TB was “saving this for my holiday, but devoured it in two days.”

Have you read Casa Rosa yet? Leave a comment below if you have.

Exciting Times

These are exciting times! Hot on the heels of the results of our Winter Short Story competition, we’re pleased to announce the first of three planned publications for 2019.

We think you are going to love Casa Rosa, a new novel from DJ Wiseman. It’s set on the Pacific coast of  central America, and is driven by rumours of crime and questions of parentage, themes familiar to readers of the author’s previous novels.

See more details here and take advantage of special pricing for orders placed prior to publication on 27th March.

Winter Short Story Winners

A witty, tongue-in-cheek account of Oxford tuition; a very human vision of the end of the world as we know it; the hidden pain of a family beach holiday.

Three stories about as different from each other as you could wish for, three fantastic stories eventually chosen from our final seven after hours of reading. Then re-reading and weighing each again to put one ahead of the other two. Now it’s results time.

Our winner is: Saltwater by Rachael Cudlitz.

Our two runners-up are: Blueprint For The End Of The World by Laura Duerr and The Essay by Hugh Kellett.

Here’s what we thought about Saltwater:

An intense, moving insight into the life of a mother of two young boys. The layers are peeled away until we share her innermost secrets of love and hate – all laced through with beautiful imagery of the wind and waves, the sun and sand. There’s some wonderful use of language amidst the sometimes excruciating  self-awareness of Saltwater.


Winter Short Story Finalists

Thank you to everyone who sent in their short stories to our Winter Short Story competition. We’ve agonised over our selection, which should remind everyone that the difference between stories that make it and stories that don’t is extremely small. That said, here is our short list:

Blueprint For The End Of The World
House Of Smoke And Mirrors
The Essay
The Patient
The Wisdom Tooth
The Wolf

Every story has its attractions, there’s perceptive and original writing, new angles on familiar themes. Getting the list down to seven has been difficult enough, finding the winners will be a challenge.

All the stories have been a pleasure to read, a privilege to judge. Those not among the finalists can consider themselves unlucky, don’t be discouraged if your story didn’t make the cut.

We’re planning a new call for stories in the next month or so, not a competition this time, but an invitation to submit stories for a new anthology. Stay tuned for details and consider getting hold of a copy of one of our previous collections.