Before a Fall – Pure Slush Books

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‘Before the Fall’ is a short story by Sue Dawes about an old man whose pride gets in the way of his health.  This story has had many forms, before finally finding a home in an anthology by Pure Slush Books,  an  independent Australian publisher.

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Writers’ Forum – second place

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Sue’s story ‘The out’, won second place in the April edition of the Writers’ Forum (out now).  The judge described it as ‘a chilling tale  of a woman torn by past loyalties and present dread.’  Originally shortlisted for a local crime competition, and with a year of drawer time, Sue rewrote it extensively before submitting. There’s a lot to be said for distancing yourself from a piece of writing in order to be able to look at your work critically.  It also helps to have a judge that understands what you’ve tried to do.

Essex Belongs to us

Sue dawes’ historical short story, ‘Boudicca’s Revenge’, which was shortlisted for the Legendary Women Competition, has been published in this Essex Creative Writing Anthology.  It was her first attempt at creative historical fiction and the short story, initially 2000 words, was reduced to just over 500 for the competition.  If nothing else, it showed  how many words can be edited out and yet the story remain the same.  Boudicca is now judged a heroine but she was a soldier and thought nothing of massacring whole towns. Sue doesn’t think her strength or actions would be considered quite so affectionately in the modern world.

Artifice, a short story by Sue Dawes

Sue Dawes’ short story ‘Artifice’ was one of the three winning crime short stories published in ‘Bloody Hull,’ which was a book given out as part of the Hull Literary Festival.  The competition ‘Dead Pretty City’, was for a short story of 2000 with the words ‘Dead Pretty’ included in it. Originally short-listed for the CWA Margery Allingham prize, it was re-worked for the competition.  As usual, the protagonist is not what she seems.

Read: Artifice

Mind The Gap by Sue Dawes

Mind the Gap by Sue Dawes was published in ‘New writing’ in Mslexia.  The judge said:  ‘Mind the Gap’ managed to say so much about the taboos surrounding the empty nest syndrome in little more than 1000 words.  From the first sentence  (I will pull the construction apart, twig by twig so they cannot return) I felt I was in the arms of a brave and confident artist.  Each platitude and assumption about the bereft mother (‘you’ll be lonely, what will you do’ ‘But what if they want to come home’) is matched by the exhilaration of a mother liberated from the selflessness of raising three boys.

Read: Mind the Gap

Mentioned in a study about motherhood

Hal’s Ladder

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Hal’s Ladder won the Mystery Women Crime Story competition in March 2011.   The first sentence was provided: ‘Poor Hal. I knew him well – like a brother …’ The story had to be under 1000 words and crime.  This was the first real monetary prize Sue won for a short story and it set her on the road she’s still walking.  Find it here.