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Interview with our Devon Prize Winner, Marta Emmitt

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 Marta Emmitt is the winner of our Devon prize. How did you feel when you found out that you'd won? I felt incredibly pleased and honoured to be chosen for the Devon prize.   I’m not a “native Devonian” but I’ve been living here for over 10 years, and this felt like a beautiful acknowledgment of my connection with this place. Where did you get the idea for your story? What came first, character or plot? I’ve been fascinated by myths and folklore around shapeshifting for some time, and especially the myth of the Selkie.   I’ve also been trying to write something around grief and loss, and the power of the sea.   Then the main character came to me, so character first! How long have you been writing? Is this your first win? I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember.   This is my first fiction win.   In 2000 I was shortlisted for the Verity Bargate award for emerging playwrights, which was incredibly exciting as that is a very big competition.  That led to me becoming Arts Counci

Interview with 3rd Prize Winner, Michael Callaghan

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  Michael Callaghan is a lawyer living and working in Glasgow. He has had previous writing successes, most recently taking third place in the 2022 Edinburgh Flash Fiction Award.  He has also had several stories included in the Scottish Arts Trust’s various published anthologies, including two in the most recently published A Meal for the Man in Tails. He generally writes short stories although his long term ambition is to write a novel.  How would you sum up your story in 1 or 2 sentences?  A man is haunted by the memory of his girlfriend who ran off to London at sixteen and was never seen again. Can he fix the past? (It’s essentially a love story with a dash of sci-fi / fantasy...) Where did you get the idea for your story - What came first, character or plot?  As in all my stories, the general plot came first - but the original version actually had no reference to the number point nine recurring. Later, I read about the number 0.9 recurring being equal to the number 1 - and I though

Interview with 2nd Prize Winner, Elizabeth Pratt

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 Elizabeth Pratt is a transplanted American who took root in the UK way back in the carefree 90’s. She lives happily in West Wales with her fella, a few cats, and an untamed vegetable garden. She’s enamoured with writing short stories and flash fiction of all genres, but has also just finished her first novel, Past Dominion. She won the HE Bates Award in 2018 and the Frome Festival Prize in 2020, and was shortlisted for the Rhys Davies Short Story Competition in 2021. She also writes as Elizabeth Ardith Aylward. Where did you get the idea for your story? What came first, character or plot? I usually start with a character that I think will be interesting, and I put them in a bad situation to see what happens. I thought of a young girl in a fading industry town, and the limited opportunities she’d have to find a brighter future. Then I gave her a weird friend who could help, and it took off from there. What is your writing process? I try to write every day, even if it’s just a long ramb

Interview with 1st prize winner, Caroline Passingham.

For thirty-four years, Caroline Passingham was in primary education as a deputy head, advisory teacher, visiting lecturer, workshop leader, and county course leader for teacher training.       She says, “Being in the classroom with little people was the best. I am drama trained. For my M.Ed. I researched the use of drama in education, and how meanings can be conveyed, especially through objects. Creating stories, contexts, characters, atmospheres, and meanings with children, was for many years, a large part of my working life.” How did you feel when you found out that you’d won? My husband passed me his tablet and said, ‘You’d better read this email.’ Apparently, I started to blub, and words came randomly like, ‘No. What? I can’t believe it. I can’t! No, no.’ And then the music started, a real La Bamba moment. ‘Arriba! Arriba!’ trumpets, bongos, maracas, castanets, all going for it as the fireworks exploded. How long have you been writing?  I have been sixty-nine for several years now,

Read the 2022 Devon Prize Winner - The Fisherman's Wife by Marta Emmitt

  The Fisherman's Wife  by  Marta Emmitt First time they lay together he cried.  He never did again, but that first time, he cried into the crook of her neck, like a little boy.  “What is it?” she asked him. “It’s me,” he said.   “I’m all wrong.” She stroked his hair.   He looked up at her with his big wide eyes.   “Do you think,” he said, “we’ll have sons?” She laughed then.   “Not too soon, I hope,” she said, “and you can’t choose what you get.” “I never knew my father,” he said, curling back down so his head rested on her belly.   “He was a fisherman, like me.   Left when I was a baby.   All’s I remember is a whiskery face, and a smell of fish.”   He stroked the soft round shape of her, until she shivered.  “I want my sons to know me,” he said. She knew when she got the phone call.   Shouldn’t have let him out on the boat, at his age.   There had never been any stopping him, though.   Fishing was his life, he said, and nothing would change that.   It was work, and even

Read the 3rd Prize Winner - Point Nine, Recurring by Michael Callaghan

 Point Nine, Recurring  by  Michael Callaghan There is the familiar flash of bright light, the same roar in my ears – far-off, like waves crashing in the distance – then that dizzying, rushing feeling, like I’m plunging down a roller coaster.       And then…      “Col. You okay? Col?”      I blink. Things swim in and out of focus, blur, then settle. And I see Gem’s face. Sharp and clear now, eyes so bright and blue. She looks so familiar, so… right, I could cry.      She frowns at me.      “Wassup, Col? You look like you’re gonnae’ faint. Not gonnae’ puke are you?” She blows a pink bubble-gum bubble that expands then bursts against her mouth.   “I’m fine.” I say.      My voice sounds okay, I think. I don’t say anything else. I keep looking at her. Drink in everything about her. I watch the way her hair falls in light, tangled curls across her forehead. I watch how she bites the edge of her glass with her teeth. I watch how her pink cardigan sleeve curls around her fingers.       She

Read the 2nd Prize Winner 2022 - Bobby-Darin Won't Be Giving Refunds by Elizabeth Pratt

  Bobby-Darin Won't Be Giving Refunds  by  Elizabeth Pratt We wake up early on Saturday morning, even though we don’t have to, because Bobby-Darin’s magic show is coming to town. Firstly, no, not that Bobby Darin – just another kid whose momma was into the singer way back in the ice age. Our Bobby-Darin wasn’t even born back then – he’s only twelve, same as me – and besides, his name has a stick that goes in the middle. Secondly, when we say he’s coming to town what we mean is he’s opening the garage door up and letting anyone who can pay a nickel see the show. There is nothing much going on in Laidlow, Alaska, so we are pretty much going to be his audience and truck along to go and stare in at him. Bobby-Darin says a good magician has to work with what he’s got, and what he’s got isn’t much.      It’s a fine day, with bright Spring sunlight right in my face as I open the door to get us all out. There’s a troop of us today, and then some, because all the mothers on the street work