Overall Winner – Familial Disturbances by Mason Binkley
Second Place – The Naming of Bones by Jan Kaneen
Third Place – The Way our Voices Carry by Madeline Anthes
1 – Mother Jellyfish by Jeanette Sheppard
2 – What Remains by Eric Andrew Newman
3 – Animal Behaviour by Amanda McLeod
Stephanie’s comments on the winning collection, Familial Disturbances by Mason Binkley:
This collection is strong, political, astute. There is flexibility in voice while maintaining a thread throughout. I’m so excited that Ellipsis will be first publisher for the author of Familial Disturbances because this level of talent can only mean great things ahead for the writer. I can’t wait for you to devour these stories as I have.
Congratulations to all the finalists, each is publication-worthy. It has been an absolute pleasure to act as judge. I hope to see versions of all the longlisted and shortlisted collections out in the world one day.
The twelve shortlisted collections are a swirling, singing mass of voices that span the range of what flash fiction can offer.
Animal Behaviour – the human condition explored through the lens of animal behaviour helped this collection to stand out as having something to say.
Familial Disturbances – a collection that starts with an explosive first line and never drops below excellent.
Mother Jellyfish – wonderful characterisation that held my heart throughout and shows a depth of understanding of relationships.
Straw Gods – a novella that swept me along an emotional journey and made me care for the characters.
The Heart is an Empty Vessel – This dark collection brings beauty into the horror of loss and would be great for performance.
The Insectarium – I knew from the title this would be unique, the entire collection utterly grabbed me.
The Naming of Bones – A creative journey across time that starts with an outstanding flash I had to re-read several times.
The Way Our Voices Carry – Perfect at the sentence level with each flash building on the previous in waves.
Tract – I was struck by the scope of this novella, by the end I felt as if I’d crept into someone’s whole lifetime.
We Are All Made of Carbon – This collection made me pause for breath following each flash and lit up its words with the use of pictures.
What Remains – There’s a dream-like beauty to these flashes that allows deeper exploration of what it means to live and die.
Zglevians on the Move – Reading this collection left me feeling drunk, I found myself saying ‘yes!’ out loud at many quirky, image-laden lines.
Winner of six month mentoring: Kerry Rawlinson.
Animal Behaviour – Creative, quirky and enjoyable.
Backward-facing Journeys – Shows a deep understanding of human nature.
But In Our Dreams We Dance – Slips through time effortlessly from historical to modern.
Chaos Theory – Superb voice throughout.
Desire Lines – Confident and complex.
Familial Disturbances – Each flash is a gut punch.
Families and Other Natural Disasters – Rich, evocative and playful with form.
Fantastical Flash – Spans the width and depth of fantasy genre.
Mother Jellyfish – Tender, painful exploration.
Playing Roulette at the Lost and Found – Enticing, layered writing.
Some Days are Better Than Ours – Emotionally resonates and displays versatility.
Straw Gods – Strong prose that dares to push boundaries.
The Almost Mothers – Lifts the lid on what often goes unspoken.
The Heart is an Empty Vessel – Bold, brave writing that surprises.
The Insectarium – Dark, different and clever.
The Naming of Bones – Polished prose that digs deep.
The Recluse of Porte Mare – Full of heart and life.
The Way Our Voices Carry – Beautiful writing with stories that resonate.
Tract – Makes great use of the flexibility of flash.
Twenty Four Hours in Devils Creek – Excellent characters and atmosphere.
We Are All Made of Carbon – An intriguing journey across generations and styles.
What if We Were Someone Else? – Strong dialogue with astute observations.
What Remains – Accomplished and poetic prose.
White Space – Moving, understated examination.
Zglevians on the Move – Sharp and inventive with plenty between the lines.
And special mentions to a further three collections that were close to making the longlist:
All The Dead Are Waiting Here
Shoved Down the Path
Strains of the Heart
There were certainly other collections that were longlist-worthy but in the end I wanted to ensure a rich, diverse spread of approaches to what a flash collection could look like so unfortunately had to leave some contenders off this list.