Monday, 7 April 2014

The Fish Prize; A Small and Quiet Victory to Share

I was delighted when I discovered I'd been short-listed for the Fish Short Story Prize 2014. I didn't win anything, and didn't get squeezed into their anthology, but I'm pleased nonetheless.

Sea God
I remember Sarah Maitland (author of many short story collections), saying that if you are constantly short-listed for prizes, you can feel more than confident that very soon, you will win a prize. This is because judging is such a subjective issue. I've judged a short story competition myself, and certainly found that was true. Good stories get squeezed out by other good stories, and the judges personal taste is bound to be part of the result. So winning something once, followed by a long silence for all your other stories is actually not so positive as getting short-listed many times.

The Illuminated Back
The Library at Alexandra
In the Van
Mostly, my short stories get published. In the last two years I've had four in various anthologies. But strangely, the story that has been short-listed by Fish, was also short-listed a few years ago, and but never seems to find a permament home. .

It's called THE TOMB OF THE TOMB-BUILDERS  and this is how it starts;

You are cheated.
Ishmael swung round. He had barely entered the tomb of Sennedjem, and already she was getting at him. 
‘Who?’ Ishmael hissed. ‘Who is cheating me?’
There was no one behind him, of course. Just a wall washed in yellow ochre, a sunshine backdrop to the depictions of ancient gods worked with meticulous esteem from nature’s paints and sealed with a still glinting layer of egg white...Osiris, Maat, and Isis in unspoiled profile. They were painted so they could gaze at each other, across the line of the wall. Ishmael knew the Ancient Egyptians always drew profiles because they hadn’t grasped the concept of perspective, but knowing didn’t stop the secret longing that one day he’d find a tomb painting where the faces looked directly at him...


  1. Many congratulations Nina. (West Cork being very special to me!).

    I have posted my all about writing effort for the tour by the way.

  2. I'm glad you see it as a win. Congratulations. May it do even better next time.

  3. Well, I don't know if I see it as a win, exactly. What I think I was saying is that if you are shortlisted from time to time, you can certainly take this as a commendation of your writing.

    1. I was an honorable mention once and, due to something someone said, took it harder than if my name wouldn't have been listed.
      I should have seen it as a personal victory but I didn't.

      You never lost perspective. That's what I meant.