Book Week Scotland

Flash Fiction Competition 2015

Book Week Scotland 2015

As part of Book Week Scotland writers of various ages, experiences and backgrounds were inspired by four fabulous images from the Special Collections Centre’s rare books and archives to write short stories of just 500 words.

The competitions were judged by award-winning authors Wayne Price and Caroline Clough, who narrowed the entries down to special commendations for each image and an overall competition winner for each age category.

Adult competition (ages 14+) Judge: Wayne Price
The winning story was written by Douglas Bruton who will receive £50 book tokens.

Read Wayne's Judge's Notes:2015 adult competition judges notes. pdf

 

Children's competition (ages 8-13) Judge: Caroline Clough
The winning story was written by Keri Lewis who will receive £10 book tokens plus a goodie bag kindly provided by Waterstones.

Read Caroline's Judge's Notes2015_childrens_competition_judges_notes.pdf

We want to say a warm thank you to our judges Wayne and Caroline, and Waterstones at Union Bridge, Aberdeen for their support of the competition. Congratulations to D.R.D. Bruton and Keri Lewis and well done to all of our entrants.

The inspiration

Click on the image titles to open an enlarged PDF version of each image.

IMage 1 Image 2 Image 3 Image 4

Image 1

Illustration from Fragments on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, including some remarks on Grecian and Gothic architecture by Humphry Repton (1816). Shelfmark Lib R f71 Rep 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image 2

Illustration from Holidays by LMS, 1947 : official guide to holiday accommodation at the principal resorts on or served by the London Midland and Scottish Railway. Shelfmark OD L1 LMS Lon ho 

 

 

 

 

Image 3

Illustration from Campi Phlegraei; observations on the volcanos of the Two Sicilies as they have been communicated to the Royal society of London. by Sir WIlliam Hamilton (1776). Shelfmark SB ff55121(458) Ham

 

 

Image 4

Illustration by Arthur Hughes to The Princess and the Goblin by George Macdonald (1872). Shelfmark J Macd G p



 


 

 

 

Adult Competition Winning Entry

 

Hating Trains and Train Stations by Douglas Bruton

(image 2)

 

Don’t like train stations nor trains. The sound of doors shutting loud and heavy as forever, whistles blowing shrill, and the screaming-air smelling of oil and cigarettes and ladies wearing too much perfume. No, don’t like ‘em at all. Not since forever, leastways not since as far back as memory, which is the same thing.

It’s to do with our mam, see. I can only really remember her as she is in pictures I keep folded into the book by my bed. She’s pretty as a film star in ‘em pictures and just as cold in her smiling for the camera. I don’t recall the sound of her voice, or her smell, nor nothing else ‘bout her, cept her leaving one day.

Da tells the story best. How we all went down to see mam off, down to the station early doors, so early the gulls was just like ghosts hanging silent in the cold air and the streets all hard as glass and empty as pockets the day ‘fore payday. And da carrying mam’s suitcase, which it was so heavy he was blowing breath with the effort, and he kept changing the suitcase from one hurting-hand to the other, and walking crooked, leaning all to one side.

Jesus, but she must’ve had the kitchen sink and all in that suitcase, da says when he tells it, and he’s laughed through the hurt so many times it’s like he don’t hurt at all now. And I sit waiting for the next bit, how me, my sister and my da all walked in a line into the station, mam up front leading the way, and it was like we was our own little train, da says.

Mam was going to see her own mam who was sick and not long for this world. I said prayers for ‘em both, in church and by my bed. Mam’d taught me the words and ‘keep her safe’ is what I asked God to do. And I meant keep ‘em both safe, which He din’t. And I prayed for mam to come back also, but she never did, not when her mam died and was laid in the churchyard ground, and not after or ever.

Da said she would one day, sure as eggs, and when we was still small we sometimes went to the station to watch everything and to rekindle our hope. I saw trains arriving and people getting down from ‘em, all smiles and happy tears, and other people waiting with their hearts open. And departing trains I saw also and hearts breaking then, and my heart, too, breaking over and over.

And da always said as how mam was only ever a train-ride away and nearer than the moon and the stars, and it made no sense to me that we din’t ever go see her. It still don’t, and so I hate trains and train stations, and it feels like I always have and I always will.



 

Children's Competition Winning Entry

 

[untitled] by Keri Lewis

(image 3)

The dark sky was lit up with hundreds of twinkling stars, each one a shining silver pearl sending down a message of hope from the deep, dark blanket of oblivion. The night was still, the only sound the soft sound of waves crashing on the shoreline. Except nothing was still, at least not inside of me, the waves of guilt were washing over me, threatening to drown me in their murky depths. I knew I should have told them, those people we left behind, the ones who were now to die, their fate written into the sands of time, their voices to be swallowed and taken with the tide, never to be heard again…

 

I looked around me, searching the faces of those I had saved. Trying to read their minds, did they feel as I did, that our whole world was to be engulfed in fire and replaced by the inky reek of death and that we were powerless to stop it, just as we were powerless to stop the flow and ebb of the tide. I studied the face of my father first, his stern weathered face bringing some comfort to my whirring mind. Then I glanced at my brother, Theo, his young face trusting, his eyes fearful yet determined and I knew that he would never give up hope however hard his life was to be. Finally I searched the face of Julia, my dearest friend, her beautiful sky blue eyes darted around fretfully.

 

And then I saw it, the smoke rising from Vesuvius’s demonic mouth, curling up towards the stars like it was asking forgiveness from the Gods. And then the dread crept through me, wrapping her skeleton like fingers around my heart. I had been right, the gods had sent me a message, the dreams had been real. “Help us all” I prayed silently knowing what was to come…

 

Suddenly the earth began to tremble beneath Vesuvius’s power and  lava erupted from the volcano’s mouth shattering the once peaceful night. As I looked across the bay, my heart thudding in my chest, I made out the ghostly outlines of ships, they were to be the only survivors of Pompeii. The air buzzed with tension as if the whole world was waiting to see what would happen next. But I knew I had seen the aftermath of fire, how the whole of Pompeii was to be buried in layers of ash and magma, were only the devil could walk without thought…

 

A woman walked along the path, her grey hair escaping and flying free in the wind. She wore a black dress that hung loosely on her skeleton like figure, and tears carved paths down her weathered face. She was remembering that night long ago, when she had stood and watched the burying of Pompeii. She had come back one last time, to tell her children about that night so that it they would know how Pompeii had fallen…

 

Special commendations - Adult Competition

  • 'Still Life' by Elena De Wachter (image 1)
  • 'North' by Avril Erskine (image 2)
  • 'Amblecrest' by Hannah Ledlie (image 3)
  • 'To time and shadow' by Emma Duffy (image 4)

 

Read all of the adult competition stories: 2015_Adult_Flash_Fiction_Competition_entries.pdf


Special commendations - Children's competition 

  • 'The Lost Life of Nathaniel E. Grant' by Ethan McColgan (image 1 and overall runner up)
  • 'Upon Reflection' by Iseabail Duncan  (image 2) 
  • 'The Fall of the Pinici Tribe' by Jenny Shang (image 3)
  • 'Callie's Friends' by Mae Jones (image 4)

 

Read all of the children's competition stories: 2015_Flash_Fiction_competition_childens_entries.pdf

 

About our judges

Wayne Price

Wayne Price has won many awards for his short stories and poetry. His story collection Furnace, published by Freight Books, was long listed for the Frank O’Connor Award and nominated for the Scottish First Book of the Year in 2012. He teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Aberdeen.

 http://www.freightbooks.co.uk/furnace-by-wayne-price.html

Caroline Clough

 

Caroline Clough is the author of award-winning children’s books Red Fever and Black Tide. Originally from Yorkshire she has lived in Aberdeenshire for over thirty years, working as an Animal Behaviourist and a writer of children’s books and short stories for adults.  Black Tide was shortlisted for the Younger Readers Category of the Scottish Children's Book Awards 2013.

http://www.carolineclough.com/



Book Week Scotland logo

Book Week Scotland 2014
Monday 24th November  - Sunday 30th November

To celebrate Book Week Scotland 2014 the Special Collections Centre hosted a number of exciting, free activities for a variety of audiences. Please visit the Special Collections Learning Blog for more details.

Flash Fiction Competition 2014

As part of Book Week Scotland writers of various ages, experiences and backgrounds were inspired by four fabulous images from the Special Collections Centre’s rare books and archives to write short stories of just 500 words.

The competitions were judged by award-winning authors Helen Lynch and Caroline Clough, who narrowed the entries down to two special commendations and an overall competition winner for each age category.

Adult competition (ages 14+) Judge: Helen Lynch
The winning story was written by Phil Olsen who will receive £50 book tokens. Read Helen's Judge's Notes here. 

Children's competition (ages 8-13) Judge: Caroline Clough
The winning story was written by Anisah McDonagh who will receive £10 book tokens plus a goodie bag kindly provided by Waterstones. Read Caroline's Judge's Notes here.

We want to say a warm thank you to our judges Helen and Caroline, and Waterstones at Union Bridge, Aberdeen for their support of the competition. Congratulations to Phil and Anisah and well done to all of our entrants.

Flash Fiction image 4Adult competition winner
Red Eye Reduction by Phil Olsen

Ashley had a long night ahead of her. Almost every guest in every photo had red eye. Shouldn't have sent Scott to cover the wedding. Eyes like hyenas popping out from the dark. Delete. A line of smiling faces on the steps might as well be a string of fairy lights viewed through the condensation of a night bus window. Delete. He's just not experienced enough. 

But then how could she turn down the opportunity to shoot the Mayor? Not just the Mayor, but the Mayor on a zip-wire. Strapped to a Spice Girl. That's front page Village Globe material. 

The bride and groom have sadly fared worse than most of the guests. Four flying saucers hover in front of their foreheads, beaming happy souls out from eye sockets. Can't just delete these ones though. They'll never smile those wedding day smiles again.

It's hardly Scott's fault they chose to tie the knot in a cave. What's wrong with churches? Great, the red eye reduction tool doesn't even recognise these as eyes. Here comes Ashley’s long-standing friend - the chirpy paintbrush cartoon character who pops up in the corner of the screen. "It looks like you're trying to edit a photograph!" Nope, just trying to flog a dead horse. Thanks for asking though.

2am and Ashley's own eyes were starting to go. She could feel the bloodshot branches creeping across with each blink. Scott will be sleeping now, oblivious to tomorrow's wrath. The bride and groom will be - okay possibly not sleeping yet, but - equally oblivious. Zoom in. Adjust brightness/contrast. Delete. "It looks like you're trying to exit without saving! Do you want to save changes before exiting?" Don't save. Delete.

This would not be the first time Ashley's undoing had been ably assisted by Scott. There was that all-too-convenient typo on the Wedding Fair pull-up banner, where he'd described her as 'ruining the show' instead of 'running the show' in her mini-bio image caption. His hands had shot up in a claim of innocence, but there's a whole row of keys separating 'I' from 'N'.

If Ashley could just make good on one photograph before bed, she might be able to get some shut eye. They're not going to pay a penny for these. At least the Mayor's office has a decent budget.

A text message from the Mayor's PA comes through. "Thx 4 2day. Cn't use pix tho. Trns out Spic Grl ws impostr. Sry." Oh brilliant. Perfect.

Zoom. Copy. Well then, Mr Bride-groom, looks like you're going to be seeing the world through the Mayor's eyes from now on. Do you take these porcine peepers? Paste. And to the blushing bride, do you take these looky-likey girl-group lashes? Copy. Paste. I now pronounce you Fake Spice.

Save over original? Save / Don't Save / Cancel. "Hi, it looks like you're trying to Force Quit! Are you sure you want to shut down?"

 

Flash Fiction image 4Children's competition winner
Ghosts by Anisah McDonagh

I feel the hand on my shoulder. I turn around and see the old man. He has visited me a lot these days. Just like the little boy did before. They don’t talk, they just stand with me. Like now. We just stand looking out to sea. I like having someone with me. When the little boy left, I cried. But the old man is nice too…   People at school say I’m crazy. They say that when I stand on the beach I am alone. But I’m not! They are standing with me. They are! I swear. I can feel them. I have no friends at school but at the beach, where I spend my free days, they are with me, my friends. I don’t care what anyone says. I’m not insane! They are there!

I hate talking. I feel stupid. Everyone laughs at my stutter. Maybe my friends don’t talk to me because I don’t talk to them, or maybe they can just tell that I don’t want to talk. When I walk back to the home, I wish they were there. When mum and dad died my friends started visiting me at the beach. Each one comes and goes, leaving something for me to remember them by. A shell, a tiny piece of pottery, a shiny pebble. Something we found together. The little boy gave me a piece of rope and smiled. They always leave once they have given me something. It’s like a sign that they are leaving.

The old man looks at me and smiles. We start to walk along the waters edge, looking for crabs, shells and lots of small things. The old man bends down and moves the seaweed. Revealing a piece of sea glass and a crab. I laugh, I love crabs they are funny creatures. Most people at school are scared of crabs, they say that there eyes are creepy and that the crab will pinch you. If you are nice to a crab, it won’t pinch you; in fact if you look closely it smiles. I pick up the piece of blue sea glass and we continue walking. When we get to the rock we stop and sit down, his hand on my shoulder, both of us just looking.

The old man gets up and pulls out of his pocket a piece of pottery we’d found. He places it into my hand, smiling, I can feel a lump in my throat. He can’t leave. I have to talk to him. To make him stay. I think of all the comments people make about me. I’m not crazy!

“Wait!” I say as the man turns to leave, “Don’t go!”

He turns back, whispering “You’re ready. Follow me.” He takes my hand and together we walk into the sea… I never new death could be so painless.

I put my hand on the little girl’s shoulder. She looks at me and smiles. I don’t say anything; we sit on a rock, just looking.

Special commendations - Adult competition
LOOKING FOR A MURIEL OF MY OWN by D. BRUTON Image 1
The Queen is taking a holiday by Leila Eadie Image 2
Fond Memories by Jennifer Dalmaine Image 3
THE DEVIL’S MAYBE GOT ME IN HIS EYE by D. BRUTON Image 4

Special commendations - Children's competition
The Wager by Duncan Calvert Image 2
Where Beige was Born by Ben Scott Image 3

To read all of the entries to our Flash Fiction competition please click on the links below. Entries may contain strong language. By entering the competition authors gave permission for their work to be published on this website. However copyright remains with the author; please do not reproduce any part of the stories on this page.

Image 1

Flash Fiction2014 - Image 1Image 1 is titled Spot where Prince Charlie Landed in South Uist and is part of the George Washington Wilson & Co. photographic collection which consists of over 37,000 glass plate negatives, produced by the Aberdeen firm between the second half of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. This image was taken in South Uist and is dated between 1853 and 1908.
Catalogue reference: GB 0231 MS 3792/C3379

Read all of the image 1 adult entries here.
Read all of the image 1 children's entries here. 

Here are some of the reasons why entrants chose this image:
"I thought the boy looked sad and wanted to write his story."
"I wanted to write about the kindness and compassion I saw in the man’s face and gesture."
"There’s a magic about the sea and the picture just made me think of a grandfather telling sea stories to a grandson and how those stories could be beyond belief and yet be believed."

Image 2

Flash Fiction 2014 - Image 2Image 2 is an illustration from the Burnet Psalter, depicting a St Catherine of Alexandria. The manuscript was written and illuminated in the early fifteenth century.

The Burnet Psalter is so-called because it was bequeathed to Marischal College by Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715), Bishop of Salisbury, historian and advisor to William III.

The image is of St Catherine who protested against the persecution of Christians by the Roman emperor, Maxentius (over whom she stands in ultimate victory). Catherine was tortured on a spiked wheel for her beliefs.
Catalogue reference: MS 25

Read all of the image 2 adult entries here.
Read all of the image 2 children's entries here. 

Here are some of the reasons why entrants chose this image:
"The image has many stories hidden: fairy tales, swords, battles and old times."
"The quirky look on the woman’s face (is she actually St. Catherine?), contrasted with the man’s long-suffering expression and his position under her feet, immediately suggested a story of a feisty woman taking control, which I thought could be fun to write."
"I chose this image because it had an unusual scene where the woman is standing on the man which made me laugh and I thought I could make a comedy story out of it, as I like writing comedy."

Image 3

Flash Fiction 2014 - Image 3Image 3 is titled Private theatres and is from a copy of Sketches by Boz illustrative of every-day life and every-day people, written by Charles Dickens and illustrated by George Cruikshank, dated 1839. 
Catalogue reference: Lib R 82383 Sk 5

Read all of the image 3 adult entries here.
Read all of the image 3 children's entries here. 

Here are some of the reasons why entrants chose this image:
"I chose the image of the men in kilts because it looked like the hardest image to get a story out of and I wanted to challenge myself."
"I chose it because the scene had so many interesting-looking characters."

  Image 4

Flash Fiction 2014 - Image 4Image 4 is a drawing by a patient at Kingseat Hospital, Newmachar, 1953
Part of the NHS Grampian Archives

Collection catalogue reference: GRHB 8/6/16

Read all of the image 4 adult entries here.
Read all of the image 4 children's entries here. 




Here are some of the reasons why entrants chose this image:

"I found the eye disturbing but sensed the figure it was attached to vulnerable."
"The colour is captivating as it defamiliarised the human feature."
"The eye made me think of evil and bad luck and therefore inspired my story full of superstition."

About our judges

Flash Fiction Judge - Helen Lynch Helen Lynch’s The Elephant and the Polish Question, a collection of interlinked short stories set in Poland during the collapse of Communism, was published in 2009. She is currently working on a second collection, Tea for the Rent Boy, and teaches Early Modern Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Aberdeen. Helen also plays in all-girl north-east ceilidh band Danse McCabre.


 
 

Flash Fiction Judge - Caroline CloughCaroline Clough is the author of award-winning children’s books Red Fever and Black Tide. Originally from Yorkshire she has lived in Aberdeenshire for over thirty years, working as an Animal Behaviourist and a writer of children’s books and short stories for adults. Black Tide has been shortlisted for the Younger Readers Category of the Scottish Children's Book Awards 2013.



 



 Book Week Scotland logo

Book Week Scotland 2013
Monday 25th November  - Sunday 1st December

To celebrate Book Week Scotland the Special Collections Centre hosted a number of exciting, free activities for a variety of audiences. Please visit the Special Collections Learning Blog for more details.

Flash Fiction Competition 2013

As part of Book Week Scotland 2013 writers of various ages, experiences and backgrounds were inspired by four fabulous images from the Special Collections Centre’s rare books and archives to write short stories of just 500 words.
The competitions were judged by prize-winning authors Wayne Price and Caroline Clough, who narrowed the entries down to special commendations for each image and an overall winner for each competition.

Adult competition (ages 14+) Judge: Wayne Price The winning story was written by Richard Bennett who will receive £50 worth of book vouchers for Waterstones.  Read Wayne's Judges Notes here.
Children's competition (ages 8-13) Judge: Caroline Clough The winning story was written by Eleanor Tuladhar-Douglas who will receive a goodie bag including £10 book vouchers for Waterstones. Read Caroline's Judges Notes here.

We want to say a warm thank you to Waterstones at Union Bridge, Aberdeen, and our judges Wayne and Caroline for their support of the competition. Congratulations to Richard and Eleanor and well done to all of our entrants.

Flash Fiction image 1Adult competition winner A Welsh Incident by Richard Bennett
It’s a pair of shoes I find first. They’re a very good make. Good, old-fashioned, quality brogues. They’ve been properly cared for, the uppers fed with polish, a darker shine above the toecaps and the welts where trouser- bottoms have buffed them. Leather soles, worn, with curved metal studs in the heel and toe of each. The shoes are sitting, dusty, half-concealed by trailing hessian, under what remains of a tartan armchair. They’re about three inches long. I’m nearly six foot, and my shoes are about a foot long. 
                The house is a 1970s bungalow. Windows are broken. The door scrapes and screeches on the threshold as I push my way in. Wallpaper hangs loose. Plaster, blackened with mould, runs with water. There’s a gap where a fireplace has been torn out. Bottles and cans lie around. Graffiti. Broken furniture, an office desk. I struggle to open its drawers. At the back of one, I find, tied neatly tight with thread, a little pack of business cards. They read:

Jas. F. Ellwood

 Manager

Barclay’s Bank

Abergavenny

Monmouthshire

Telephone: Abergavvenny 7360.

                 Another room: a double bed, wrecked, and a wardrobe, heavy, Victorian mahogany, mirrors tarnished beyond reflection. Then, suddenly, in corner shadow, a scrabbling and a scuffling, and I see a quivering shape, about the size of a breeze-block. Sparse hair, brick-coloured, four legs, a reptile tail. The feet have four blunt claws. Head and face are pushed hard into the corner. I go over and touch it. The skin shrinks under my fingers. I gently lift it up, turn it in my hands, and hold it up to look into its face, as you might a little dog. It’s heavy and limp. Its limbs might be lead, its blood mercury. The features are human – flat, hairless, white, the face of a man in late middle-age. The mouth opens. The teeth – there are gaps – are human. It makes a throaty chattering sound, like a monkey, or a magpie, or an angry cat. Then it sneezes three times. Human sneezes. A man sneezing. Now, its nose needs wiping. I put it down. More noises, almost like syllables, forming units that might be sentences. Pitch and volume vary: querulous, matter-of-fact, angry.  It looks at me – disappointed, helpless, hopeless, contemptuous. It dismisses me, turns away, moves rheumatically, leaden-footed, tail twitching, to the wardrobe and clambers in.

                Time passes. I leave the house. It’s dark now. In this part of the village there are few lights. Stars shine in billions above the bulk of Skirrid. I look up amazed into the dark pool of the night and, suddenly, I am seized by vertigo and feel myself, as if torn from gravity’s grip, flying, like a diver, down into the depths.

Flash Fiction image 1Children's competition winner Defonia and The Magic Stick by Eleanor Tuladhar-Douglas
One cold misty morning, Defonia, of the clever Lebon tribe was scurrying around looking under the reddish, brown dusty coloured leaves. Then he saw a little glint of silvery light through the mist. He went closer following the silvery gleam through the icy fog and there he saw a little silvery stick with a ball on the end, it was beautiful. The little silvery stick had ancient symbols all over it and also scorched in the magical stick was a 3 headed, fire breath, scaly dragon! Defonia picked up the shining stick and carried it back to the village.

 When Defonia got back to the village and showed the tribe what he had found, the wise, grey haired elders screamed and shouted till their throats hurt. They stared at what he had in his hand, it was the evil stick of the dark powers! Defonia looked into the jet black eyes of the scorched dragon, in them he saw lightning.  Defonia looked more and more, ignoring the unhappy cries of his tribe. All of a sudden Defonia wasn’t himself, he didn’t know what he was doing. His hands were spinning and flying all over the place, hitting and slapping people left and right, it was a disaster. Now and then dark purple and black fire was coming out of the now black stick. The purple and black fire was setting the houses on fire, it was horrible beyond belief.

Defonia looked inside his heart he could see the stick trying to control more of his body still. Then he looked carefully at the silvery black stick and after a while saw 6 small holes. Defonia thought for some time, then put the end of the stick that didn’t have the ball on it to his purple lips and blew. The sound of music burst out from the shiny ball on the end of the stick and Defonia played on with his hands and his mouth like he was in a trance.

Women with babies and men started to dance to the beautiful melody, even the elders who did not like this nonsense of an evil stick creating this merry like music started quietly dancing in a corner to the tune that kept on changing like the chorus of a spring day. As joy swept through the village like a breeze, it started to rain lightly and the houses which were on fire soon were sodden by the rain. Nobody cared because they were too busy dancing and the echo of clapping and the pitter patting of the rain was heard all through the village and forest .

Defonia had found the good in the evil stick. This would now teach the people of his town to look for the good in everything.               

To read all the other entries to our Flash Fiction competition please click on the links below. Entries may contain strong language. By entering the competition authors gave permission for their work to be published on this website. However copyright remains with the author; please do not reproduce any part of the stories on this page.  

Image 1
 
Flash Fiction image 1Image 1 is a photograph of the display area in the former Science Library (later the Queen Mother Library) at the University of Aberdeen, c. 1965. Catalogue reference: ACC 545

Special commendations for Image 1 Adult: Far Away and Somewhere Else by Shelley Day Sclater
Children's: Computer by Nommy Soplantila


Read all of the image 1 adult entries here.
Read all of the image 1 children's entries here. 

Here are some of the reasons why entrants chose this image:

"It’s possible to guess roughly what the image depicts, but it’s sufficiently ambiguous and intriguing to let your imagination go daft on."
"The image of the two men looking at the globe suggested conspiracy and discussion of the fates of others."
"I thought the giant globe looked like a sort of supercomputer and the story of a geekish digital girl living in a very normal human world was a bit different and might catch the imagination."

Image 2
Flash Fiction image 2Image 2 is from a copy of The Well at the World's End, a novel by William Morris and illustrated by Edward Burne-Jones, dated 1896. Catalogue reference: Lib R 094 Kel mo

Special commendations for Image 2 Adult: Drawing the line by Marka Rifat Children's: It will come back by Laura A. Smith 





Read all of the image 2 adult entries here.
Read all of the image 2 children's entries here. 

Here are some of the reasons why entrants chose this image:
"I was intrigued by the horse’s expression."
"It appealed to my romantic side yet provided the opportunity to twist convention."
"I chose this picture because it gave me an idea of a quest story. I love quest stories therefore I could show people what I can do. I liked the horse, the man and the woman, and straight away I thought of an exciting story."

Image 3
Flash Fiction image 3Image 3 is a portion of a page from the Aberdeen Bestiary, depicting a satyr. A bestiary is a compendium of beasts, and the Aberdeen Bestiary is considered to be one of the best examples of its type. The manuscript was written and illuminated in England around 1200. Catalogue reference: MS 24

Special commendations for Image 3 Adult: Satyr by James Carson
Children's: Return of the Beast by Izhar Salaam

Read all of the image 3 adult entries here.
Read all of the image 3 children's entries here.

Here are some of the reasons why entrants chose this image: 
"It reminded me of the unusual images people sometimes use instead of photographs as their personal online icons."
"It looked like a satanic horse wailing into a microphone and I thought “There’s a story there”, only to find – upon further investigation – that it was in fact a satyr with a flute."
"I actually first wrote a summary of all the four images and to me the third image was a very good image to write a flash fiction story on."

Image 4
Flash Fiction image 4

Image 4 is titled Dutch Boers Outspanning and is part of the George Washington Wilson & Co. photographic collection which consists of over 37,000 glass plate negatives, produced by the Aberdeen firm between the second half of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. This image was taken in South Africa and is dated between 1853 and 1908. Catalogue reference: GB 0231 MS 3792D0497

Special commendations for Image 4 Adult: Restless Migrants by Iain McColl
Children's: The Storm by Eilidh Lindsay  


Read all of the image 4 adult entries here.
Read all of the image 4 children's entries here.

Here are some of the reasons why entrants chose this image: 
"I had a voice for the men in this picture and the rest just shaped itself into a story."
"I chose it because I was intrigued by the style of the photograph. I liked that the process the photo was developed in gave clues to the time period. Like a detective, I enjoyed looking at all the elements and the scenery in the background and guessing where it was and who the people may be."
"Because it was really interesting and reminded me of my granddad."


About our judges
 

Flash Fiction Judge Wayne PriceWayne Price has won many awards for his short stories andpoetry.  His story collection Furnace, published by Freight Books, was long listed for the Frank O’Connor Award and nominated for the Scottish First Book of the Year in 2012. He teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Aberdeen.

Flash Fiction Judge Caroline Clough

Caroline Clough is the author of award-winning children’s books Red Fever and Black Tide. Originally from Yorkshire she has lived in Aberdeenshire for over thirty years, working as an Animal Behaviourist and a writer of children’s books and short stories for adults.  Black Tide has been shortlisted for the Younger Readers Category of the Scottish Children's Book Awards 2013.

 



 Book Week Scotland logo

Book Week Scotland 2012
Monday 26th November  - Sunday 2nd December

To celebrate the first ever Book Week Scotland the Special Collections Centre hosted a number of exciting, free activities for a variety of audiences. Please visit the Special Collections Learning Blog for more details.

Flash Fiction Competition 2012

As part of Book Week Scotland writers of various ages, experiences and backgrounds were inspired by four fabulous images from the Special Collections Centre’s rare books and archives to write 500-word short stories.

The competition was judged by prize-winning author Dr. Wayne Price, who narrowed the entries down to a special commendation for each image and an overall competition winner. The winning story was written by Julie Pallesen who will receive £50 worth of book vouchers for Waterstones. We want to say a warm thank you to Waterstones at Union Bridge, Aberdeen, for their support of the competition.

The winner was announced by Kevin Stewart MSP at a press event in the Sir Duncan Rice Library. Congratulations to Julie and well done to all of our entrants.

Flash Fiction image 1Animal Behaviour by Julie Pallesen

The mother is a donkey, the farther is a cock and the child is a dog. Of course this is all pretend, this is a game they play. The masks that cover their faces are the kind that the mother and the father have forgotten that they wear. The child however, has not yet learned to forget. He feels the string that ties the mask tightly around his neck.

Every morning, as far back as no one can remember, the masks have been a daily ritual. The mother’s arm fumbles under her pillow and finds the mask. Before she has opened her eyes and consciously become aware that a new day has begun, her hands have pulled the donkey mask over her head and it has fallen into her character. The mother can scream and whine as sad sounding and lonely feeling as a donkey, and sometimes she does. The mother behind the mask screams loudly, her sound however never comes through the fabric of the mask but screams in her own ears. The father on the other hand can be heard from the furthest corner of the village when each morning without a fail, he declares his existence.

One hot day the child that is also a dog cannot get his breathing to relax, it is in a rush, short and quick so not enough air can get to get to his lungs. He tries to tell the father, he pulls his father’s clothes, but the father is busy keeping the mother tied up. The cock yells at the dog, “go back and lie down, go back to your room! Go back to your room and lie down!” The dog tucks his tail between his legs, or if he had had a tail he would have done so. His breathing makes his head light and he cannot let go of the father’s clothes. The mother senses it all, but she does not want to see. How can her child be a dog, how did she never notice how it happened. She wants to get away. You can tell by her eyes, by the way she looks somewhere else, upwards, as if there was something up there other than weather. She wants to be less of a donkey and more of a woman. The donkey is not strong enough, and if you tie her she cannot escape. The father knows this trick. He just has to hold on to her, tie her to a pole that is safely secured in the ground then she will not be able to leave. And the dog knows his place, he will always do as he is told. He walks back to his room and lies down, breathing hurts his throat, but after a while it is not so bad and he thinks he might be able to forget. From then on the dog that once was a boy will never take off his mask.   
 

To read all the other entries to our Flash Fiction competition please click on the links below. Entries may contain strong language. By entering the competition authors gave permission for their work to be published on this website. However copyright remains with the author; please do not reproduce any part of the stories on this page.

Image 1

Flash Fiction image 1Image 1 is from the George Washington Wilson & Co. photographic collection which consists of over 37,000 glass plate negatives, produced by the Aberdeen firm between the second half of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century.

The special commendation from the image 1 entries was "A Guide to Identifying Sea-Creatures" by Kirsty Logan.

Read all of the image 1 entries here. 

Here are some of the reasons why entrants chose this image:

"I saw this image previously at an exhibition in the library and had the impulse to write a story then but didn’t get round to it; I often write about the sea."

"It’s a wonderful old photo that made me want to know more, but it was what I noticed when I looked again that made me pick it for my story entry."

"The image made me think what might happen to the residents of the neighbouring area if something awful was found under the water."

Image 2

Flash Fiction image 2Image 2, "The Mine", is an illustration from Robert Ker Porter's Travelling sketched in Russia and Sweden during 1805, 1806, 1807, 1808, published in 1813.

The special commendation from the image 2 entries was "Pomonalia" by Alistair Lawrie.
 
Read all of the image 2 entries here. 

Here are some of the reasons why entrants chose this image:

"I found the picture quite disturbing and it made me think of a mind in turmoil and the depths into which a mind might fall."

"While all the images were interesting, I was fascinated by the white space at bottom right of image 2. It could be snow, or an explosion, or a section left uninked... I found myself speculating more on this image than the others."

"I found it haunting and empty- while the others gave me endings I could work towards, no.2 suggested the beginnings of stories."

Image 3

Flash Fiction image 3Image 3, "On thin Ice",  is an illustration from Alma Mater, the journal of the University of Aberdeen Students’ Representative Council. 

The special commendation from the image 3 entries was "A proportionate reaction" by Laura Tansley.
 
Read all of the image 3 entries here.

Here are some of the reasons why entrants chose this image:

"I found his manner to be quite attractively cheeky."

"I chose this image because I saw myself writing a story about two sweethearts skating on ice and then I imagined me sending off my story and I wanted to win so bad, because I love my books."

"Neither is looking in the direction they are travelling  and I wondered why."

Image 4

Flash Fiction image 4Image 4 is an illustration from Molitoris, Ulricus, De lamiis et phitonicis mulieribus (Of witches and diviner women), a medieval printed book created in the late 15th century.

The special commendation from the image 4 entries was "The Chicken Factory Outing" by Richard Bennet.

 
Read all of the image 4 entries here. 


Here are some of the reasons why entrants chose this image:

"Following a recent visit with the Young Archaeologists to the Special Collections Centre, image four inspired me combine details about manuscript production with an imaginative narrative for my story."

"The image chose me; it was the most gripping, and caused an argument between my girlfriend and I as to the nature of the image, which later emerged in my mind as the story I submitted."

"The three demons/witches (including the bird-headed one) clambering on to the pole, suggested (somehow) three women out on the razzle, with the vulnerable one clinging on behind…"