The £100 Winner of the 2009 Earlyworks Press Short Story Competition is...

David Frankel

for his story

The Intercessor

The story takes first place in  the anthology 'recognition' which will be published on 2nd April 2010. 

The first round readers' reports brought in five different recommendations for winner and, after the second reading of the shortlist, the final round readers gave us four recommendations and our heads are still spinning from the final debate so believe me, all the writers in this shortlist have something special going for them. It's a great anthology but no need to take it on trust - have a look at some of the extracts below...


The authors...


Martin Badger

Claudia Boers

Peter Caunt

Christine Collette

K S Dearsley

Morag Edward

Sarah Evans

David Frankel

Simon Jackson

Robert Leonard

Catherine Manning

Roushan Martens

Cassandra Passarelli

Dr Dianne Stadhams

Roy Swanpoel

Janet Swinney

Andrea Tang

Judy Walker

Peter Webb

Mary-Jane Wiltsher

William Wood



The front cover...



from      The Intercessor

by David Frankel

...Unlooked for, the door of the ossuary opened. Rare currents of air flooded into the room. Air that had once carried the smell of wood fires and decaying rubbish from the streets beyond now brought petrol and fast food to mix with the smell of damp earth and the faded aromas of incense and burnt wax. Drifts of dust caught in the sudden draught disappeared into the oblique shadows beyond the reach of the light from the windows. 
     The boy who entered left the door standing open behind him, hard white light as brash as the noise of the squealing hinges blasted into the space. As his eyes adjusted he stared about him recalling the scene from his childhood when he had accompanied his mother...


from      Ossie's Circus

K S Dearsley

...Karina watched him with hands on hips. “And when we’re too old? Or when the Protection League finally gets us shut down?”
     Ossie made a rude noise. “Protectionists!”
     “You can’t brush them off so easily. There’re more of them all the time. There’s even one outside the arena now.”
     Ossie had seen her; a thin-faced woman who patrolled the entrance with a placard, like a wading bird stalking the shallows, shrieking dire prophecies in a voice to rival the parakeets...



from      Memoryfest

Martin Badger


...I’m told I’m not at all religious but passing the church, St Michael’s, not far from the hospital where I’m now only an outpatient, I’ve several times pulled up and stared at it, as if it were significant. This puzzles Maddie – she says she can’t remember me ever going inside. 
As for what happened before the accident… I can scarcely remember a thing. It’s as if my mind were an iceberg and the tip is after the accident but all else is submerged...


from       Flashpoint

by Judy Walker

... It’s dark so she doesn’t see me at first. When she does, she jumps.
     “Oh, it’s you. You gave me a right fright.”
     “What did you do that for, in there?” I ask her.
     “I don’t like trouble, that’s all.”
     I offer her a fag and she takes it, comes closer while I light it from mine, then stands next to me and leans her head on the wall. I haven’t been close to a woman for years. She’s nothing to look at – mid forties, dyed blond hair, running to fat, and when she lifts her arm, I can smell sour sweat.
     “Just out of prison, are you?” she says.
     “Shows, does it?”...


from     White Snow Like Santa Marta

by Peter Webb

...“Y de nosotros?” She said; and what about us?
     “Ya está.” Already that’s it, I replied.
     I squeezed her arm and smelled her neck, then broke for the dark street with my treachery, not allowing time to qualify those words, nor giving her the chance to start or finish anything more. On the street the taxi was running, its cab was musty and warm. How strange that on this fine, clear morning, our world was at its end. Then the demented cockerel in the neighbours’ property cried out. And my last thought before the crack of the rifles was of my treachery. Darkness fell around...


from             A Question of Faith

by Cassandra Passarelli

He’ll place my accent at once. Ask questions. And be flummoxed by my answers. That I've been a monk for two decades. That I did a masters in history, was a wine-maker in Oxford and, later, a political advisor in Westminster – making me a man of his world. He'll wonder why a Syriac Orthodox monastery should be flourishing in a Muslim country, forgetting we're a stone’s throw from Christianity's seedbed. He'll ask about the brothers' origins, about the black saint after whom our monastery, Deir Mar Musa, is named. And of our relationship with the Bedouin. 
     He won’t ask:
     Why did you become a monk?...


from                     Izzy

by Andrea Tang

...“I never liked the snow, Doctor,” she says quietly.
     She lowers her eyes.
     “There was an unusually long spell of snow fall over three days. One of the longest-running periods of snow we’ve ever seen. The snow piled up around my house, roads were carpeted. I was confined to the house.
     “I woke up in the snow one afternoon outside my house. I was lying flat on my back on the white stuff. Snowflakes were falling and melting onto my face. I didn’t remember how I got there. I picked myself up and returned into the house...


from            The Cleaner

by Robert Leonard

... “What line of work are you in, Mr Brown?” she asked.
     “I’m retired,” I said, evasively, but she wasn’t to be put off.
     “So what did you do before you retired?”
     “I was a cleaner,” I told her.
     “What – people’s houses?” she asked, sounding surprised.
     “Sometimes,” I admitted, “but I specialised in the disposal of toxic waste.”
     Dougie gave a snort of laughter, but under his daughter’s piercing glance he quickly adopted a demeanour suitable for the bedside of a sick friend.


from         Miniature Beacons in the

                     Purple Dusk

by Claudia Boers


... The driver leaned out of his window. “Where you going?”
     “Fourth Beach.” You tried to sound laid-back. You weren’t sure whether to say please or not.
     “Hop in, we’re going that way!”
     It was that easy.
     The side door slid open and it was only then that you became aware of three more guys in the back. You hesitated, your heart suddenly hammering like hail on a tin roof. You thought, I could just run, but pride kept you rooted to the spot. You stared at them, wishing you hadn’t worn such a skimpy vest, or such tiny shorts. 



Click here to order your copy of 'recognition'


from         Lucky Links

by Dianne Stadhams


... When Urday turned up at my house wearing a hoodie my ma was unhappy.
     “A hoodie,” she said.
     “Latest – like it?” Urday said to my ma.
     “No,” said my ma. “What is wrong with what your father wears?” 
     She might be a woman but she’s definitely not subtle.
     “Time for change,” said Urday.
     “Change does not bring luck,” argues my ma.
     “Maybe …” says Urday. 
     Yeah, whatever, like they’re ever going to agree.
     “Today is a day to take care and give thanks for our blessings...

...Today my other daughter is also blessed. Today she starts to wear her hijab,” my ma announces proudly.
Urday looks at me and winks when he knows my ma is not looking. That wink is a challenge. He knows my luck has changed.... 





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