Top 4 Short Story Entries
All the comments below are from our judge, Remy Ngambije.
1st place: 2The Two Things Bassie Knows” by Clayton Bradshaw-Mittal (USA)
“The Two Things Bassie Knows” juggles trivia competition, fluid sexuality, and the looming nature of death masterfully. It is highly amusing in parts, keenly observant in others, and wonderfully entertaining throughout. It is a really good exploration of what people are willing to put up with for company and companionship. This was my top story throughout the readings. I really think it offers something different to all of the others which felt…overcooked! This one had the sensation of street food: chopped up, fried up quick, and served piping fucking hot. And, man, it was funny. Like, genuinely funny.
2nd place: Demons & Monkeys by Tamako Takamatsu (JAP)
“Demons And Monkeys” navigates the point of collision between tradition and modernity using a marital tale set in Japan. Its language is tight, its plot hints at the enormity of history and the clash of cultures pushing against each other. But it is its careful descriptions of a Japanese husband and wife that really makes the story sing off the pages. What I think works in this story is the marriage and the conflict between husband and wife. She is, I think, the more interesting character between the two. I mean “I am the daughter of samurai” is a killer line (it should be the title, I think). But, really, this was an enjoyable short story.
3rd place: “Dick and George” by Terry Watada (CAN)
“Dick And George” follows two Japanese-Canadian cousins—both children of immigrants—through their migration around Canada, the advent and conclusion of the Second World War, and the gradual assimilation into Canadian society. At its core, painful losses punctuate the passage of time; in its telling, an epic story of cultural assimilation and all of its attendant struggles comes to the fore. This was a really good story about migration. Even if I think Canada is the most meh of places for stories; I am yet to encounter one that really gets my blood boiling.
Highly Commended: A Resurrection in Soap by Matthew Hurt (MEX)
“A Resurrection In Soap” is an interesting take on the artist’s desire for self-actualisation, to transcend the medium that brings them fame, and to carve an independent identity. It has a tightness to it that is enviable—the way the writer carves this narrative from the rest of the storytelling canvas is skillful and the reading experience is fresh and rewarding. I think this one deserves a mention because it was well-written and explored the monotony and comfort of being a soap actor well.
Congrats to the winning writers.
The Plaza Short Story Prize (5000 words max) is judged by Vanessa Onwuemezi. ENTER NOW. 1st prize: £1,000. Deadline: 30th April 2024.
The NEW Plaza Flash Fiction Prize (1000 words max) is open to enter. Judged by the brilliant David Gaffney. 1st prize: £1,000. Deadline: 31st March 2024.