The Irish Imbas: Celtic Mythology Short Story Competition kicked off with an unexpected roar this year. As a very small niche press with less than a three year history we weren’t expecting the degree of interest we ended up receiving and, to be honest, we were a bit overwhelmed.
In summary, seventy four submissions were received for the 2016 Competition and the standard was … well, pretty exceptional really. This created some issues in that the short-listing process proved far more difficult than anticipated but it also revealed some challenges in terms of communicating what the Competition was actually set up to achieve. Some of those stories that didn’t make it to the shortlist, frankly, deserved to be published. The problem was that sometimes they just didn’t align with objective of the series: mythology. Some submissions, good as they were, felt as though they’d been sent to the wrong competition.
That said, there are two or three stories in the final list that have scraped by on the sniff of a mythological connection, mainly because they were intriguing enough to offer them a chance. It’ll be interesting to see how that works out.
But enough of that. A more detailed analysis will be provided in a later post but, meanwhile, here’s the (long) short-list for the Celtic Mythology Short Story Competition 2016:
- A Face in the Snow by Majella Cullinane
- A Fire in Emain by Sheelagh Russell Brown
- All Man by Philomena Byrne
- Daughter of Sorrows by Fiona Honor Hurley
- Delusion of Grainne by Paul Moore
- Fairy Hill by Patrick Belshaw
- Gebann’s Daughter by Jane Dougherty
- In the Hour of Greatest Need by Will O’Siorain
- Joes Malshy by Farren McDonald
- Lexi on her Sixty-second Journey by Randee Dawn
- My Fair Lady by Paula Puolakka
- My Sprightly Tailor by Owen Townsend
- The Fairy Child by Nicola Cassidy
- Revival by Méabh Browne
- Sá an Bhrú – The Passage Home by Delaney Greene
- Seasick by Molly Aitken
- The Black Hen by Diana Powell
- The Good Man by Damian Keating
- Up The Airy Mountains by Eithne Cullen
So What Happens Next?
There’s actually two processes from this point on.
Those authors who made the short-list will be looked at again before they’re sent onto the judges for consideration. In an effort to avoid any prejudice on my part (being human, I already have some favourites), the final group will be considered by a group of my judges where I will have one vote out of four.
The winning authors and those being published in the final Celtic Mythology Collection will be announced by the end of February 2017.
For those authors who didn’t make the shortlist, we’re offering an opportunity to receive some feedback on submissions. This was a policy decision we made about two months back because we were keen to provide at least some feedback to people who made the effort to submit but didn’t actually make it to the shortlist. At this stage, given the number of submissions and our own workloads, we’re treating this as a pilot which we’ll implement as follows:
- If you are a submitting author who didn’t make the shortlist and would like to be eligible for feedback, please confirm by email (some of you have already done so based on a post we did on the website when we first made that decision so if you did we already have you listed).
- We’ll provide feedback to a certain percentage of eligible authors but given that we’re feeling our way on this, we just can’t tell how many we’ll be able to complete. We will do as many as we can.
- At this stage therefore, we propose to provide the feedback as a scanned file of the hard-copy submission with hand-written notes (this will be emailed to the author).
- Feedback will be provided only after the Celtic Mythology Collection 2017 has been published. We simply won’t have time to do it before then.
- Obviously, any feedback provided will be based on ‘judgements’ of some (not all) judges and is only meant to be of assistance. We can’t enter into any further correspondence once that feedback is provided.
I’d like to wish the best of luck to those shortlisted authors.