Judge Karen Schauber has prepared the following remarks about this year's winner and runner up. We thank her on behalf of our organization and our contestants for her work and dedication to the craft of short fiction.
What a wonderful showing of talent and enthusiasm for the flash fiction form with seventy-eight qualifying entries in this year's Federation of British Columbia Writers' Flash Fiction Contest 2020. Each piece was read blind and given full consideration by first readers Barbara Black & John Gould. Thank you to Barbara and John both, for their careful reading and for sending these short-listed gems my way. Judging so many talented writers is not a simple process. With blind judging, all entries begin on equal footing, no matter the skill level, experience, or writing credentials of the participants. What speaks to one judge may elude another. And although there is only one winner here, so very many of the entries showed genuine merit. Voice, authenticity, along with powerful emotion and clear writing, always shine through. Remember that judging is a subjective process. So, if your piece did not rise to the top this year, it may very well the following, with a different judge, who brings a different sensibility and aesthetic. Please submit again.
From the first opening sentence the language here is evocative, sumptuous, and masterfully laid. Richly textured and hand-picked, words and phrasing like ' brittle ghosts', tough and canny, ears akimbo, gambol and sway, descendants scattered like streams and creeks... sets this piece apart and holds the bar high. In flash fiction imagery is everything. And here, in the connective tissue of words, eidetic imagery is in effect. The reader is kept well immersed. There is a musicality in the unfolding of this piece with keen attention paid to cadence and rhythm. And, its impressionistic flavouring, a blending of folklore with fable, rings true all the way to the denouement, rarely striking an inauthentic note. The breadth of voice, subject, and setting here, feels unique, and utterly its own.
"This is a story that distinguishes itself." -Karen Schauber
Vicki McLeod is a writer, coach and award-winning entrepreneur. She is the author of Effective Communication at Work, Speaking and Writing Well in the Modern Workplace (Rockridge Press 2020, #Untrending, A Field Guide to Social Media That Matters, How to Post, Tweet, and Like Your Way to a More Meaningful Life (First Choice 2016) and co-author of Digital Legacy Plan, A Guide to the Personal and Practical Elements of Your Digital Life Before You Die (Self-Counsel Press 2019). Her recent book You and the Internet of Things, A practical guide to understanding and integrating the IoT into your daily life (Self-Counsel Press 2020), is currently listed as a BC Top Seller in BC Bookworld. Her story, Georgie, was recently longlisted for the 2020 CBC nonfiction prize. A graduate of the Simon Fraser University Writers Studio, she leads retreats and workshops, writes poetry, personal essays and a newspaper column. You can find her on beautiful Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada, in pajamas, making something.
Beautiful, poignant, and heart-wrenching, this story is masterfully crafted, hitting all the right notes with neither embellishment nor extra word. As flash fiction, it is concision at its best. There is an elegance in how the subject is treated and paced. And although this is a theme that has been done, if not overdone, here, it engages the reader with finesse—in self-reflection and without confrontation, presenting keen insight into the human condition, and pushing boundaries in fresh and unexpected ways. Most expertly, and importantly in flash fiction, it sticks the landing, leading the reader to an ending that smoulders.
"A powerful piece." -Karen Schauber
Karen Schauber is a Flash Fiction writer obsessed with the form. Her work appears in 50 international literary magazines, journals, and anthologies, including Bending Genres, Cabinet of Heed, Cease Cows, Ekphrastic Review, Fiction Southeast, New Flash Fiction Review, and Spelk.'The Group of Seven Reimagined: Contemporary Stories Inspired by Historic Canadian Paintings' (Heritage House, 2019), celebrating the Canadian modernist landscape painters, is her first editorial/curatorial flash fiction anthology, winning 'Silver' in The Miramichi Reader's "The Very Best" Book Award for Short Fiction", 2020. Schauber curates ‘Vancouver Flash Fiction’, an online flash fiction Resource Hub, and in her spare time, is a seasoned Family Therapist. A native of Montréal, she has called Vancouver home for the past three decades. She is a member of the Canadian Authors Association, Federation of British Columbia Writers, and Writers' Union of Canada.
http://GroupofSevenFlashFiction.weebly.com https://www.facebook.com/VancouverFlashFiction/fb @Karen Schaubertwitter @karenschauber
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