Bridport Prize Anthology 2019, by: The Bridport Prize #BookReview.

164 pages

Literary/Contemporary Fiction/Poetry Anthologies

This anthology contains the prize-winning entries into the 2019 contest run by this prestigious organisation. There are judge’s reports on the entries for Poetry, Short Story and Flash Fiction. The book showcases those pieces of work that won the major prizes or were highly commended. So, there are thirteen poems, thirteen short stories and six pieces of flash fiction contained within the covers. At the end of the volume are short biographies of the judges and the wining entrants.

The international contest has long been considered one of the most respected, gaining considerable kudos for those whose work is selected. Its literary nature means the prize-winners are necessarily eclectic. There will be poems and stories here that some readers will find difficult. All are, of course, well-written. In my slightly pedantic role, as writer reading and reviewing, I found only one word that had slipped past the editor’s/judge’s notice; ‘disinterested’ was used where the clear contextual meaning was ‘uninterested’.

You’ll find stories here that fail to slip easily under a label; genre isn’t sought by the contest and the only, very broad, brush that paints every entry is the one that colours all as ‘literary’. There is experimental work, some magic realism, some work bordering on fantasy (not, of course, of the sword and sorcery type!). In the poetry section are verses that will move you, surprise you, make you pause to consider what you’ve just read.

The stories are largely of the type that linger, so that long after you’ve read them, new thoughts arise. Some make strong, though not obvious, comments on the state of the world and the climate. And the flash fiction pieces encapsulate their mini tales in surprising detail, given the few words permitted.

If you’re a writer intending to enter the contest, you’d do well to read the book; it provides a flavour of the type of work valued. But be aware that the judges change each year, so there will always be variation in what is finally selected. Just make sure whatever you submit is the best you can pen.

For readers, the anthology provides a glimpse into quality writing, demanding storytelling, and thought-provoking poetry.

As Fay Weldon CBE, Honorary Patron of the contest, states on the front cover, this is ‘A prize really worth fighting for in terms of prestige and genuine literary accomplishment.’

[Any review is a personal opinion. No reviewer can represent the view of anyone else. The best we can manage is an honest reaction to any given book.]

If you’re a visitor to this blog and interested in entering creative writing contests, you might like to pop over to the ‘Resources’ tab and click on the link to the ‘Creative Writing Contest Table’, where you’ll be directed to a table I keep relatively up to date, listing many contests (some free to enter) with links to their websites. You won’t find the Bridport contest there yet, as it’s a little early in the season for their 2020 competition. If you want an alert each month on the table, just click on the blue ‘Follow’ tab at top right and you’ll get an email reminder every time I make a post. No spam from either me or WordPress. Enjoy!

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