The fiction winner is Rachael Hegarty from Dublin for her short story 'Betty'. Rachael receives a cash prize of €300 and her short story manuscript will be read by Doire Press.
The poetry winner and 2014 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year is Ruth Quinlan, Galway for her poems 'The Passing', 'Home for the Holidays', and 'Painted Lady'. Ruth receives a cash prize of €700; her poetry manuscript will be read by Salmon Poetry; and she will be a Featured Reader at an Over The Edge: Open Reading during the first half of 2015. Ruth also receives a basket of books from Kenny’s Bookshop.
Highly commended in Poetry:
Maurice Devitt for ‘The Man at the Shop’
Victoria Kennefick for ‘Shanagarry’, ‘Lighthouse’, & ‘Writer's Retreat’
Angela Carr for ‘Bone Yard’, ‘CAT Scan’, ‘July, a Storm’
Highly commended in Fiction:
Rory Duffy for ‘Young Robbins Don't Have Red Breasts’
Edel Burke for ‘Fractured’
Averil Meehan for ‘Chapter One’
You can read the shortlist here.
We thank our judge Eleanor Hooker and our sponsors: Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop; ISupply Quay Street; Ward’s Hotel; Derek Nolan TD; Clare Daly TD; and Kenny’s Bookshop & Gallery.
Citation by Judge, Eleanor Hooker
"It was a great honour to be asked to judge the 2014 Over the Edge, New Writer Competition. Thanks to Kevin and Susan for asking me.
Writing is a transformative act; a writer takes a blank page and scratches it with words that illustrate a world peopled by characters her/his reader get to know, come to care about, or even be repulsed by, but whom, if the writer has done her/his job, the reader will continue to wonder about, after the last full stop.
Often, what successful poems, short stories and novels, have in common, is an arresting first line, verse, paragraph. However, once the writer has caught the reader’s attention, it is her/his job to carry it through, to deliver the best story/poem for that piece of writing. All of the entries on the shortlist carried through on their promise.
Writing that comes across as an academic exercise in word arrangement, will cause the reader’s bullshit alarm to sound, and that alarm may means the reader will not follow the writer to their last full stop.
2014 Over the Edge Poetry Winner & Overall winner – Poetry Ruth Quinlan, Galway. Poems - The passing, Home for the Holidays, Painted LadyThe three poems in this submission resonated with me immediately. The surprise is most definitely in the turn of image; whilst the poet’s language works on behalf of the idea. Leaving prosaic noisiness behind, the words, against the natural ego of language, allow themselves to serve. Strong emotion writes quiet, and in these poems, it hushes, it allows air to ventilate a heavy heart, it allows space between the words, room for the reader to enter, to infer.
That’s what I want from a poem; the words to work associations, ideas, stories in my imagination, not draw me back to the page, to its own cleverness.
From Home for the Holidays (a home and a history, awaiting the return of a family long left, embraces them like the love from a parent)
and ignore the chimed appeals
of our half-filled parish church
stamp our feet and huff on fingers in the hallway,
scattering the playful ghosts of childhood selves
We fling open windows and doors,
airing the house in gulping draughts,
allowing it to breathe and break
the fragile seals woven by spiders
jealously squatting in our absense
Painted Lady is about the catastrophe of aging. Sentimentality is a heartless beast; this is not a sentimental poem, it is filled, however, with the relentless heartlessness of time on the Painted Lady.
Her face and hair, once Titianesque
in rosebud curves and auburn curls
have become the illustrations
of a tattered colouring book
2014 Over the Edge fiction winner is Rachael Hegarty, Dublin.
Story Entry - 'Betty'
Betty is an engaging story, and like the telling of history from below, it takes a character that might be as invisible in real life, as they are to most of the other characters in this short story.
The telling is such that we willingly attach ourselves to Betty as she takes us on her road trip round the 8th floor of the Central Bank, we want to help her when her trolley snags on the foyer rug (a lovely detail).
A writerly detail that caught my attention, is the movement in the story, there is some summary, (it’s nearly impossible to avoid, though we’re constantly told it should be avoided in a short story), but there is little of what James Woods call an aspic of arrest, Rachel Hegarty has Betty move and act, there is cause and effect.
Writing has a moral obligation, a character should not be debased, or introduced for the advancement of the story, (you may wonder), if they are created, it must be for themselves. I don’t believe Betty is a vehicle for the author’s agenda on class, but as a consequence of writing about Betty, we readers recognize attitudes to class.
I like that Betty is not depicted as a perfect human being, it makes her a perfect character. When she is humiliated, she acts, takes an ultimate and surprising action that absolves us of any pity we might otherwise be compelled to feel for her.
I am certain we will be hearing more of these two writers; I look forward to following their careers.
Highly commended in Poetry:
1. Maurice Devitt – Poem, The Man at the Shop
This poem is mysterious, beautiful, surreal, with echoes for me of Popa, Simic, Helen Ivory. The poet should beware not to become opaque and lose the reader.
2. Victoria Kennefick – Poems, Shanagarry, Lighthouse, Writer's Retreat
Three striking poems, what an astounding line ‘stones/are born like grudges’, The poet should avoid overused poetic tropes, these poems own originality, trust that.
3. Angela Carr – Poems, Bone Yard, CAT Scan, July, a Storm
Three excellent poems, with stunning opening lines that absolutely grab the reader. CAT scan is an astonishing poem, well achieved. Be cautious of over-wording a thought; be confident that your turn of image will carry it.
Highly commended in Prose:
1. Rory Duffy – Short Story, Young Robbins Don't Have Red Breasts
Utterly convincing voice of the child, beautifully observed. This story has serious potential, however, beware of formatting, layout and language, it could affect whether a reader will persist.
2. Edel Burke – Short Story, Fractured
A brilliantly told story that leads the reader and exposes the dangers of their assumptions. The writer should be on their guard against hackneyed writing or clichéd characters.
3. Averil Meehan – Story, Chapter One
This story holds us from the outset, it’s ending doesn’t maintain the promise of the opening pages. Don’t go for easy resolutions, the best stories are those unwillingly told. I wonder should the author consider keeping this a short story (the title is Chapter One…could one sustain this throughout a novel?)"