In addition to proofing my collection, editing the novel, teaching and doing the many millions of things associated with having young kids, I spent a part of January as a guest judge of the 2014 Carve Esoteric Short Story Contest. The quality of the stories was as impressive as you would expect if you are a reader of Carve.

Carve, as you may know, is a Dallas Texas based literary journal that primarily publishes short fiction and the theme for this year’s Esoteric Contest was all things British. Hence the telephone box in this year’s banner and the recruiting of writers previously published by Carve with a UK connection as guest judges.

Judging the stories was an interesting experience. This is the first time I have been on the other side of the competition judging process. It was only just over twelve months ago that my own story, ‘Storm in a Teacup,’ was being read and judged for the 2013 Esoteric Awards. It was a genuine pleasure to read the stories and in all honesty any one of them could well have walked away with the coveted prize. My taking part in the judging of this year’s prize confirms what I previously only felt to be true, that if you make it as far as the shortlist then your story or book or whatever is good enough to win. And if you don’t, that’s just because, on the day, the consensus of opinion didn’t go your way. On another day it just might have.

So if you are lucky enough to find yourself on a shortlist this year, try not to fret about the result, in many, many ways, you’ve already won.

The results for this year’s Carve Esoteric Short Story Contest were as follows:

2014 CONTEST RESULTS (from Carve website)

Thank you to everyone who entered and to our guest judges: Sandra Hunter, Jake Andrews, Dan Powell, Jennifer Harvey, and Elizabeth Baines.

We are pleased to announce the winner of the 2014 Esoteric Contest:

Guy Mitchell in London, UK – “Berryman’s”

Winner receives $1000 prize and publication in our spring 2014 issue in April.


Tyler Keevil – “Snares”

C.R. Sender – “We Can Practice Starts”

Check out the Carve Website for the full list of results including the semi-finalists. The winning story and two finalists will be available to read online at Carve very soon and will feature in the Spring 2014 edition of Carve. You’re in for a treat.