100 Years On Competition Results

Our judge at Granta, Francisco Vilhena, read and reread the submissions to this summer’s competition, 100 Years On, in search of the voices that spoke loudest to him of the conflict that changed the course of the 20th century.

And it was a difficult decision, a very difficult decision. When I asked Francisco on the sixteenth for his verdict he demanded a deferral to go over his short-list a few more times. It was a very close heat. As often happens on ABCtales the excellence of submissions was matched by variety, which made it even harder to pick only two pieces – one story and one poem – as winners.

Style and approach varied widely, so where one writer might stand out for the compelling depiction of a certain scene or character, another would be just as noteworthy for a surprising turn of diction or an innovative and carefully crafted structure.  And while credit and congratulation are due to many (indeed most) of the entries, the two that did win very much deserve their accolades, and they are:

In poetry, Bee’s “Battle Cries

And in prose, Ewan’s “Icarus Falling

These two outstanding pieces each capture something very particular about the war. Bee’s sensitive portrayal of post-traumatic stress disorder is so carefully put together that it ends up evoking the ways in which the First World War marked not only the individuals involved but an entire generation – all of whom were haunted by memories and the thought of those left behind - in one short but extraordinarily well-cultivated poem.

Ewan’s piece is an entirely different take – one that indulges in the spectacular nature of old-style air combat, the shootouts and the ‘aces’ that became world-renowned celebrities. He takes us up into the skies in the cockpit of a Sopwith Pup for a very memorable shootout - but the intensity of the action is easily matched by depth of character and extraordinary scene-setting.

I’d encourage all of you to have a read-through of the competition entries and enjoy the variety of approaches and the wealth of talent on display. Once again, a big thank you to all who took part!