Adjudication of the Mini-Saga competition

The ten entries this year were as follows:

Adding It Up by Sheila Whitfield;

Alma Road by Ian Gouge;

Feathers by Carol Mayer;

Hunter or Prey by Charlotte Wilson

Jubilate by Maggie Cobbett

One Does Have One’s Trials by Joe Peters;

Seventy Years On by Susan Perkins;

Shared With Me by Lindsay Trenholme;

The Front Door by Kate Swann

Young Girl Caught Up in a Serious Earthquake by Ella Benigno.

Anne Powell began by reminding us that the Mini-Saga competition had been launched in 1995 but, although the cup awarded for it bears the name of her late mother, Twinks Perugini Kenyon, it was based on an idea from Harry Whitton, a former member of RWG.

Anne said that she had found adjudicating ten very different mini-sagas difficult and she commended all the contributors for the high standard of work presented to her. Combining a universal theme with the ability to tell a complete story in only fifty words called for very skilfully crafted writing. Anne was  fascinated to discover how she could sense something of each writer’s personality coming through their pieces and had found them all interesting or entertaining.

Because of her difficulty in being able to choose an outright winner, she awarded Joint First Place to Sheila Whitfield for ‘Adding it Up’ and Susan Perkins for ‘Seventy Years On’. Third Place went to Maggie Cobbett for ‘Jubilate’. The cup being temporarily unavailable, for which Maggie apologized, the winners received a warm handshake from Anne and she was thanked for all her hard work.

All contributing members then read their own pieces, and the mini-sagas written by those not present were read out by volunteers.

After a break for refreshments, Anne was invited to read the ‘The Lengthened Shadow of a Man is History’, the short story that won her the first prize of £1,000 in the national King Lear competition of 2020. Anne prefaced her reading by explaining that her fascination with prehistoric bog burials such as the Tollund Man had led to the story’s creation. It begins with a ‘pre-history’ which explains some of this background and leads into ‘Marjorie’s Story’. The latter narrates how a woman creating a garden in fen country digs up a prehistoric statuette, which begins to change size according to how it is kept, and how Marjorie’s subsequent demise echoes that of one of the bog people. Members commended Anne for a story that was both thought-provoking as well as atmospheric.

Our friendly group meets once a fortnight at the St Wilfred's Community Centre on Trinity Lane and is always open to new members from the Ripon area and beyond. Whether your interest is in poetry or prose, novels, short stories, plays, wacky humour, a more analytical style of writing, or just listening for the time being, you're very welcome.

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