The Long List is the stories still standing after the initial round of judging to determine the age category winners. The stories on the Long List are the ones which have been identified for either top 3 ranking or honourable mention in their respective categories after the judges for each category reviewed them, blind (i.e. without any markers identifying the authors). The final round to determine the overall winner is still to come. Everything’s a bit behind this year because…life. But we’ll get there.
Before I list the names I just wanted to share a bit of the judge’s general impressions of this year’s submissions. I think it’s fair to say that, much like I was when processing the entries, the judges were disgruntled. “I found that a lot of the entrants did not pay attention to the criteria,” griped one. “Most of them were weak,” said another, “I can see there’s still a lot of work ahead”. Where the stories resulted from class assignments, it was sometimes too obvious, another judge noted (in discussion) – similar themes, clichés, no passion, too little effort. But, like I said, we’ll get there.
I post the comments above not to discourage but because Wadadli Pen is above all intended to be developmental and pointing out the general flaws without singling out individual stories is one way, I think, of encouraging introspection which can lead to stronger pieces next time around among all who’ve submitted not just the long listed ones. If funding allows, one of our goals is to do at least one post-season workshop. We’ll get there.
The judges had very positive things to say about the entries they singled out. For instance, “…powerful and interesting and uncommon in the writings of this age group”, “it got points for being humorous and refreshing”, “very creative approach, vivid imagery”, “well formed, and detailed”, “Time, mood and anticipation are established early and continued through nicely”, and “a very simple story but the vivid descriptions gave the story depth and really kept me interested”. You might notice that the judges favour stories (whether fiction, poetry, or creative non fiction) that make them want to keep reading – with details that help ground and enliven the writing, and a style, tone, and structure that is well developed but not predictable.
At this point, stories will be returned to Long Listed writers with the judges’ full individual comments and edit suggestions to the writer for revision and resubmission – before we decide on the final winner from among the top contenders in each age category, and prep all Long Listed pieces for posting after the Awards ceremony. We can’t do this for every single entry – well, I can’t because it’s just me and that’s a lot, but hopefully, anyone who submitted will give thought to what they’ve read here and hopefully some generous sponsor will come through with funding to enable us to take writing workshops to the schools and communities. We continue to dream, plan, and plot.
Here’s the Long List (in alphabetical order):
Morgan Leah Simon
Zion Ebony Williams
As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, Fish Outta Water, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my pages – WordPress, Facebook – and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.