Winter 20/21 Short Story Prizewinners

The three prizewinning stories from are latest competition are now online, just follow the links:

Our winner was Magic And The Art Of Thrift Store Shopping With Ma by Nick Trapani.

Runners-up were The Hell Of It by David A Wimsett and A Tangled Web by Hugh Kellett.

Spend a little time with each of them and be sure to leave a comment for the authors. And keep an eye open for our new anthology Saltwater And Other Stories – you can register for an alert when it’s published.

Now In Print From Amazon

The first two of our titles to become available in print from Amazon have chalked up their first sales. Previously, print version were only available direct from Askance or by ordering in a UK bookshop.

The Subtle Thief of Youth

Now both Casa Rosa and The Subtle Thief Of Youth can be ordered world-wide through the Amazon network, meaning fast and reliable service with the possibility of free shipping depending on your Amazon options.

And our newest title, Saltwater And Other Stories due out on March 26th, will become the third Askance print title available on the world’s favourite shopping platform.

Wherever possible we continue to support local bookshops with copies of all our titles and promotional activity but we don’t want to ignore readers we cannot reach without the power of a global platform.

Winter 20/21 Winners

We are delighted to announce the winners of our Winter 20/21 Short Story competition. After a lot of reading and heart-searching here’s the list:

Our winner is:

Magic And The Art Of Thrift Store Shopping With Ma by Nick Trapani. Although in some ways this is an old story of clothing with magical powers, Nick Trapani gives it a totally believable and novel twist which immediately appeals to anyone who remembers those awkward teenage years.

Our two runners up are:

A Tangled Web by Hugh Kellett
and
The Hell Of It by David A Wimsett

Congratulations to not only these three authors but to all the others who sent us their work. As we so often say to disappointed writers, keep writing, the difference between being on a list like this and not is extremely small.

These stories will soon be available to read on our stories page.

(Photo by Becca McHaffie on Unsplash)

 

Most Read 2020

Each year about this time we look back to see, just for fun, which of the stories featured on our web pages has received the most hits. Hits mean visitors, not necessarily readers. A page may be viewed for a second or ten minutes, but we like to think that many visitors have stayed long enough to enjoy the story they’ve found.

This year our two winners from the last two winter story competitions are predictably top of the list: less predictably it is Saltwater – the winner from 2019 – which has been most viewed. As we’ve said before, an author’s social media ‘reach’ also plays its part in the numbers. Here’s our top 5 for 2020:

  1. SaltwaterRachael Cudlitz
  2. TaliaChristi Nogle
  3. The Attraction of MagnetsGrace Keating
  4. Petite MarieTara Campbell
  5. Blueprint For The End Of The WorldLaura Duerr

With our current competition open until 31st January we’re looking forward to seeing what’s going to prove the most popular in 2021.

Winter 2020/21 Short Story Competition Now Open

The Askance Winter Short Story Competition for 2020/21 is now open! As usual there’s no theme, and a generous word limit of 1500 to 5000 words. There’s a modest entry fee and prizes for the stories judged as the best three we receive.

Send us something old or something new, just make sure it’s one (or two!) of your best stories and you’ve polished it till it shines.

If your entries are anything close to the level we usually see in our contests, we’re going to thoroughly enjoy reading them. Judging is always difficult, and has become more difficult each year that we run our competition. We’ll read every story at least twice, and all about-to-be-rejected stories will be read again, just to make sure a quirky gem is not lost.

Check the full details on the competition page.

Winter 2020/21 Short Story Competition

The Askance Winter Short Story Competition for 2020/21 will open on October 1st. As usual there’s no theme, and a generous word limit of 1500 to 5000 words. There’s a modest entry fee and prizes for the stories judged as the best three we receive.

If your entries are anything close to the level we usually see in our contests, we’re going to thoroughly enjoy reading them. Judging is always difficult, and has become more difficult each year that we run our competition. We’ll read every story at least twice, and all about-to-be-rejected stories will be read again, just to make sure a quirky gem is not lost.

Check the full details on the competition page.

Winter Short Story 2020 Winners

Our short story competition is getting more difficult to judge every year. 2020 has been no exception, with some intense and beautiful writing, some of it very dark indeed, some light and whimsical. However, once the choice was made, our winner, Talia by Christi Nogle, became the natural champion, how could we have chosen any other? (Actually, quite easily, as you’ll see when you read our runners-up, Petite Marie by Tara Campbell and Another Van Gogh by Justice McPherson).

Talia felt like pure Americana, the images as brilliant as the sunshine the story swelters in, the characters as gritty and down-to-earth as a documentary. Writing from multiple points of view is always risky, a writer can so easily lose the reader’s attention, break the thread, wake the reader from that “vivid and continuous dream”. Not so with Talia, the multiple POV works beautifully, a mark of the author’s skill.

Petite Marie and Another Van Gogh ran Christi Nogle close. Both were original, surprising, entertaining, well worth the second and subsequent reads.

We hope you enjoy them all.

Dreams photo by Benjamin Sow via Unsplash

Winter Short Story Competition 2019/20 Finalists

What makes a good story? Something different for every one of us, but after reading many stories over the years, one point suddenly shone out from our latest call, our Winter Short Story competition: a good story often improves with a second read, even a third or fourth. Last year’s winners all satisfied that criteria too.

Our short-listed stories this year are:

Another Van Gogh
Invisible – A Love Story
Killing Melissa
More Of A Wednesday Girl
Petite Marie
Talia
The Blue Room
The Last Post
The Orchard
Westbound On A Tank Of Desperate Hope
Who Causes Thunder
Why We Never Did Hamlet

For all writers whose story is not on our list, please remember that the difference between being there and not is often paper-thin. On another day, in another place your story could have been there.

To all our writers, a huge thank-you for submitting your work to Askance.

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?