Thursday, 27 June 2013

Friday Flash: Song of the Siren

Song of the Siren

She stood with her eyes closed, listening to the melody as the warm air circled around her. The hauntingly beautiful lyric wasn’t in any recognisable language, yet to her it made sense.

The flowers in the meadow turned their faces towards the sun and danced in the breeze, moving to the rhythm of the siren song, the irresistible theme tune of hope itself.

As the sunlight warmed her skin and the air currents raised the hairs on her arms, he came to her. She felt his lips skim hers as his arms encircled her waist. He whispered into the air, “I’m here” and in her heart, the final shard of ice melted.

But was he real, that friend of hers, the one who gave her the gift of sight? Who helped her to see what before had been hidden? She kept her eyes gently closed as she wondered if he really existed.

She stretched her arms out and slowly spun in the sun-kissed meadow. And with joy in her heart, she found her voice again.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Costa Short Story Awards


Entry open via website from Monday 1 July to Friday 2 August
Submissions to be judged anonymously
Winner to be voted for by public and announced at
Costa Book Awards ceremony

Monday 24 June 2013: Entry into the 2013 Costa Short Story Award will open on Monday 1 July 2013. The Award for a single short story, launched last year in association with the Costa Book Awards, is judged independently from the main five-category system.

The Award is for a previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words written in English by an author aged 18 years or over.  The author’s primary residence must have been the UK or Ireland for the past three years.

Entry opens on Monday 1 July and closes at 4pm on Friday 2 August. Entries must be submitted online via a dedicated page at  Entrants need not have been previously published but publishers and agents may submit entries on behalf of authors.

All entries will be judged anonymously – in other words, without the identity of the author being available to the judges.

A panel of five judges will select a shortlist of six entries which will be revealed in November. The public will then be invited to vote online for their favourite story from the six finalists. 

The winner will be announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony on 28th January 2014 and will receive £3,500, the runner-up will receive £1,500, while the author in third place will receive £500.

The winner of the inaugural 2012 Costa Short Story Award was Avril Joy for her story, Millie and Bird. Chioma Okereke and Guy Le Jeune came second and third respectively for Trompette de la Mort and Small Town Removal.

The judges for the 2013 Costa Short Story Award are as for 2012, namely:

Richard Beard: Director of the National Academy of Writing
Fanny Blake: Novelist and Journalist; Books Editor of Woman & Home
Gary Kemp: Songwriter and guitarist for Spandau Ballet; Actor and Writer
Victoria Hislop: Writer
Simon Trewin: Agent, William Morris Endeavor

“We received 1,800 entries last year and are hoping for even more this year,” commented Kevin Hydes, Marketing Director, Costa UK. “You don’t need to be a professional writer to enter; it’s for anyone who has ever considered writing creatively and for those who already write professionally or otherwise. This award is unique and appeals to consumers partly because the final six short stories are judged by the general public.”

The Costa Book Awards recognise the most enjoyable books of the last year by writers based in the UK and Ireland.  Originally established by Whitbread PLC in 1971, Costa announced its takeover of the sponsorship of the UK’s prestigious and popular book prize in 2006.

For more information on this year’s Costa Book Awards, go to