Celebrating East African Writing!

The Shortlist: Murder Most Foul

Oh wow! Going through your entries this time was quite something. It usually is, but I continue to be amazed by the sheer amount of ingenuity and talent and in the same bus, pocketfuls of really bad writing coupled with blatant disregard for the contest guidelines.

I watched the editors/writers who analysed and critiqued these entries sail on an “It has been a while since I read a story with good plotting and such a fantastic twist!” and then come shipwrecked on an “This writer has a fetish for question marks and exclamation marks. Ah! It is also noteworthy that the story has nothing to do with foul murders.I stopped reading when I realized that the word count was over and above the 1600 maximum word count required in the contest guidelines.”

As a result a number of stories were disqualified, several made my editors weep for writing and two were deleted never to be mentioned again. Whatever our anonymous judges’ final decision is, we decided to give you a chance to peer review the stories that made the shortlist.

As before, you will notice that the stories included in the shortlist have not been edited. There will be typos, grammatical errors, even structural blunders. We have left them as is so as to encourage helpful peer review.

So instead of saying ‘nice’ or ‘not so nice’, how about helping your fellow writer out with useful remarks that can be implemented in the edit of their work for possible future enjoyment perhaps even in print? If you only have one worded untruthful comments, please refrain from typing it out and then submitting it. Just text your ‘friend’ the lie instead.

So here’s the shortlist:

If I Die: Standing before his congregation, Fr.Kaiser could barely place out the words he intended for his sermon. He glanced at the holy book, then at the eager eyes staring at him, and finally back at the Bible-his mouth went dry.

One Lie, One Tooth: “ I’ve told you everything I saw. Why am I still here? Where have you taken my husband?” Silence answered me. “You promised you wouldn’t hurt me or my family. . .

Penance:  Although he had been warned the day may come when a murderer would sit before him in remorse, he hadn’t thought it likely to happen in his lifetime.

Soja: Alex sucked in a deep breath as he stumbled out of Tas Pub some minutes before midnight. It took a while for it to register in his mind that since it was night, he would not need the shades he’d imported from Italy.

The Big Man: It was almost midnight when Michael Omare drove into the estate. As usual, the street lights closest to his home were flickering on and off. He was almost convinced it was some kind of punishment for not attending the neighbourhood meetings.

The Lion: Isaiah Ngurue Fisi stared at the magistrate with no slight hint of remorse on his face. He had anticipated that the sentence he would receive would be a slap on the wrist. It was September 10th 1969. The events of the past two months flashed…

Occult of the Surreal: Philip Muhoro was proof as to just how the prison institution can reform criminals, or so it was believed. He had been sentenced to serve a life sentence in the early 1980s.

The winners of this contest will receive the following prizes:

1st Place – 2 books – one of which is Corridors of British Colonial Injustice by Samuel Waruhiu and another title of the winner’s choice from our catalogue, 2 Season Tickets to the Storymoja Hay Festival( 14 – 16 September 2012)

2nd Place – 1 book, 2 Season Tickets to the Storymoja Hay Festival.

3rd Place – 1 Season Ticket to the Storymoja Hay Festival.

Authors of the three top stories will also have a chance to consult with an editor regarding developing their work for print publishing.



This entry was posted on July 2, 2012 by in Writer's Blog.
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