now incorporating the Sudbury Hill and Wood End Times

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Disposition of the prize money

As there was no winner in this year's short story competition, I have forwarded the prize money in its entirety to the UK international charity Comic Relief.

I spoke by phone to somebody at Comic Relief and was told that they would issue a certificate of receipt, a copy of which I will post here*.

Thanks again to all who entered and to all those who helped with and supported the competition.

I have in mind an interesting new project, which will involve beer and will take place in an actual brewery. Watch this space.

Ossian (Stephen)

* Update: Thank you letter from Comic Relief

20 comments:

Vanessa G said...

Hey, Stephen

Take a break, have a KitKat, walk round the grounds of Willesden Towers. Have a weekend in Peebles.

And don't DON'T pull the plug on one of the straightest most meaningful competitions around.

It MEANS something to have a competition that says 'your story only makes it through if the readers can get through it without falling asleep.'

Go back to awarding a mug. Back to first principles.

I will be a reader, willingly.

I owe you, and I owe Zadie, and all at Willesden. It's the least... and all that crap.



Love to you all

Vanessa

Anonymous said...

Well, something positive has come out of it all and that's a generous act that will help a lot of people. Despite all the initial vitriol, I think the explanations that you have given will have left no-one in any doubt that your intentions were good, whether or not they agreed with the decisions.

Gloria Mundie said...

Stephen,

don't be hasty.

Re-instate the mug. I want one of those coffee mugs. 5 grand would have destroyed me, really. I would have bought half a key of skunk and some 60 year old Calvados and I wouldn't have written for a year

Thanks to you and Zadie and Bilal and Ann for getting a story out of me and for all of your time.

Vanessa G said...

So come on, all those who were supporting the decision to not award prizes... especially the more experienced ones.

Who else will offer to be a reader?

Or was it only the money, after all?

Ossian said...

I've now gone from upsetting all the writers, to upsetting my fellow judges (which is better, I think).

Vanessa G said...

Take them all for a weekend in Peebles.

(we'll have the Peebles Borough Council offering free bed and breakfast... you wait...)

Anonymous said...

the show will go on. you have my word. by the beard of almighty athena and his estranged girlfriend zeus (and their out-of-wedlock child mark).

?

Vanessa G said...

I think we can sort out those who really appreciate the work you've done from those who are rattling bandwagon leapers...

one last try...

A comp where the winners only win a mug. But put something BACK by reading the next year.

Where are last year's winner and my co-winnee?

ask them?

Jgkdp said...

Good for you, steve. Pissing on the writers and now pissing on the judges. I am glad you think that is an improvement. I can see that it would have killed you not being so gleeful about managing to piss everyone off.

Anonymous said...

Each (final) WH newsflash gets more ridiculous and childish than the last. Does this competition have any credibility left? No. But there are plenty that do. (Though after reading Alex Keegan's comments on this blog, I'll be avoiding the Derby - which he's judging - like the proverbial plague!)

Silke Amstrom.

Simon Aldright said...

So, just out of interest, Vanessa, didn't you think your story was good enough to win? If so/not, how can you spot a winner for next year?

Vanessa G said...

Ha! Good question.

I sent a First World War story, very long, because I was enjoying writing it, more than anything, enjoying the research. Totally unlike anything I'd done before.

Untried.

That's the thing with free entry stuff, you can send anything, can't you? So I did. To find out... a different genre to my comfort zone. And I found out. It didn't surprise me in the slightest that it was found wanting.



I teach CW (and teach students to experiment, not be afraid of getting it 'wrong'), I judge other comps, I'm an editor, I run a collective for writers with a solid background of publication/competition success. But more than that, I care about good fiction, because there is so much conspiring against it these days.

And am more happy to be useful if I can be, rather than see this brilliant comp, one created with real vision, go down the pan.

But it rather looks as though the decision's been taken.

simon aldright said...

Vanessa said: I sent a First World War story, very long, because I was enjoying writing it, more than anything, enjoying the research. Totally unlike anything I'd done before.

Untried.

That's the thing with free entry stuff, you can send anything, can't you? So I did. To find out... a different genre to my comfort zone. And I found out. It didn't surprise me in the slightest that it was found wanting. End of quote.

So not a New Yorker type then?

I only ask because it seems that's what was expected, not a send-anything-untried-story that will be found wanting. I mean, why would you not send your best?

lightupvirginmary said...

Steve- I'm just sorry you guys all put so much work into it and this is what happened. It's bollocks all round. Still, sod the starving and homeless, we could have spent that cash on literary events n stuff.
Oh well. Don't be down. None of it is your fault.
PS. I should have entered. ;-)

Ossian said...

Lynsey, you could have won only I have to say your writing is so distinctive that there would have been no chance of anonymity in the judging.

I feel a bit like Spock in Star Trek about all this. It just strikes me that all this moaning is completely illogical. A valid result was declared under the rules - no winner, no prize - and the money has been donated to charity.

It's not as if there had been long drawn-out vacillation and indecision. There was simply a brief period of consultation with the short-listed writers to see how they felt about a split, there was no consensus, and here we are.

I'm not "gleeful" (as one comment suggested) but I really don't care what anybody thinks or says about the competition and the blog, as such. On principle and by disposition these days, it doesn't bother me what people think or say about them.

I think that's all for now. I'll probably comment again later if I feel like it.

Maybe we should just go back to a small competition and a mug as a prize. It is a priceless mug, mind you. Well, $200 each. And I got stung by the blooming Customs men, didn't I when a box with three mugs labelled value $600 was nabbed and they charged me the duty on $600. However, I talked them into a refund.

So anybody who wants to argue with me here should bear in mind that a) You are dealing with someone who talked C&E into a refund and b) You are dealing with someone who appealed a Congestion Charge fine and won (the look on the face of the official who had to print my acquittal out was, er, priceless and c) I think how I conducted this has been correct and therefore I can bat on this wicket forever. And I don't even play cricket.

Now back to perusing the 1000 hits per day on Sitemeter before it goes back to 40, mostly by myself.

pope gregory ix said...

Hi Stephen -

Ignore the naysayers, cos they're the ones who neigh
They whine and whinny, bleat and bray

Some of us know what's the what, and know who the real stars are.*

* Most of us are astronomers, but some of us just have really big telescopes.

Spock, of course, was actually half human. Beneath that logical exterior was a raging torrent of green-blooded lust. And anger too - oh yes. If the old Spockster was here, he'd be sure to point out that 5K was always going to attract the midges of cyberspace. The snivelling squirmy underbelly. People who read OK. But now they're gone. Bring back the willesen sunsets! (for the inferior foreign variety, check out eternalsunset.net)

Praise be to Vanessa for leading the way. Those of us with faith are sure that like James Bond the competition will return. Whether or not it wears an arrestingly moist pair of pants remains to be seen. But we live in hope.

Right now, Spock's out there somewhere raising an elfin eyebrow towards Kirk and saying, "strange, captain, that 1000 silly humans seem unable to use logic to identify the real story here - a story of compassionate selflessness and financial magnanimity. Strange that no-one's thought to ask". And Kirk would laugh and laugh, and say, "Spock, I know just what you mean", then head off to Rigel IV to kick some Klingon ass. And all would be well.

And so it is.

Vanessa G said...

Reply to Simon Aldright


.."So not a New Yorker type then?
I only ask because it seems that's what was expected, not a send-anything-untried-story that will be found wanting."

Ah there's the rub. If I knew the formula, and could second guess readers and judges in literary competitions, I would patent the formula, and be rich as Croesus.


I am not.


But always, you hope. Then you find out!

And you rewrite, sharpen, send it out again.

Shameless said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shameless said...

I have to smile about all the changing of minds at the WH. It reads like a good drama, with all the unexpected twists and turns. I read here just yesterday that you were pulling the plug on the competition altogether, and then today I come back and that's been deleted from the post. Wow! It's hard to keep up. But I am smiling. I like this in someone/something. I think we shouldn't be ashamed to change our minds, test reaction, go with the flow, go against the flow. It's very much like life itself. I agree that you have conducted yourself properly, in the face of a difficult public relations dilemma that not even someone like Alistair Campbell would've been able to handle. You have not tried to hide anything, and that is something we can only adore. You have put your heart and mind on your sleeve. Transparency at its best. You get my thumbs and toes up, despite all the ping-ponging. And I'm glad to see that the contest isn't dead.

Ossian said...

ok, i'll think about whether to have another competition for next year. let's leave it at that for now, probably will, maybe won't, don't know. me and gordon brown.


this topic is now closed.