#YoungWriterAward: Shadow Panel Winner

And the Shadow Panel’s choice for the Winner of the Young Writer of the Year 2020 is:

Well, does that surprise you? I think it did us! And I’ll be honest with you: the fact that we were all based remotely probably had an impact on the decision. It meant that we couldn’t spend a cosy afternoon together in a bookshop or cafe somewhere in London and have an extensive chinwag and try to persuade each other that our personal favourite deserved to win.

So instead of silver-tongued influencing skills, we took the scientific approach and individually awarded points from 5 to 1 (5 being the favourite), then added up the totals. We ignored considerations such as who had won before, what genre it was, worthiness of subject matter and just went for gut feeling. Which one did we enjoy reading and which one did we find most memorable? It was a close race at the very top between three of the shortlisted titles, and then two pulled ahead, with our winner just nudging the win by a tiny margin. I think that shows the high standard of the shortlisted titles – or perhaps the diversity of views of the Shadow Panel!

You can see the official announcement of the Shadow Panel decision here. All I can say is that, even in its remote version, it has been an honour and a pleasure to be part of the Shadow Panel and share our bookish thoughts. Now we all have to wait until the 10th of December to see what the judges will pick!

Winners and Losers in Literature

Ion Luca Caragiale, from Wikipedia.
Ion Luca Caragiale, from Wikipedia.

People love those great romantics

with their self-absorbed delirium

especially if they die of tuberculosis or worse or alone.

But garrets are passé, starving is forever,

and audiences matter.

As long as you don’t let it show.

 

Unnecessary, it seems to me,

your sighing, your plaintive distress.

We know, we’ve been there, no need to tarry.

Mere hint and then whisk over.

Sunlight lingering on a teardrop

Is more effective by far than a November soaking.

 

Madam, if I may… tell you that you whinge

and use a hundred words

where a spatter of six will do.

Your ears so waxed with self-pity and doubts,

your voice so coarsened by years of neglect,

that you forget to listen and render with fidelity,

you lose the joy of using a microscope.

Cut smaller still your canvas,

till you can stitch it to perfection.

Be precious, not so greedy to spit out the half-digested…

Polish your gemstones for years.

Mock, but with purpose,

yourself before all others.

 

And then perhaps some decades hence

you’ll learn to make it look

effortless, spontaneous.

 

Perhaps not quite the right response to the prompt about winning and losing for dVerse Poets, but I am having an internal dialogue with my writing hero, Caragiale, Romanian playwright, journalist and short story writer. Every word perfectly chosen and placed. Unlike my gushing, spouting self. I know I will be a winner when I finally learn to control the rawness and shape the internal world more gracefully.