We loved the story’s setting, the tension between the characters, and of course the idea of magical papercraft; and the entire tale feels as if it were conjured directly from Bradbury’s first and last lines to create a seamless and pitch-perfect narrative. Selected from hundreds of submissions, this story impressed, delighted, and thrilled our early readers and final judges.
– Literary Taxidermy on ‘Sunshade, Starlight’
Chen Cuifen’s ‘Reunion Dinner’ is an endearing story of what happens when a family is scattered around the world, displaced over Chinese New Year, a vivid tapestry of siblings whose dialogue is fuelled by an are-we-fighting-or-just-chatting energy, and rich imagery: gooey takeaway noodles, sour plums, fresh mandarins, fireworks on the Singapore River.
– Kill Your Darlings on ‘Reunion Dinner’
Praise for ‘What My Net Dragged to the Surface’
1st Prize, Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2018
The poet carefully unfolds the net to reveal a skilful emotional structuring, made to look like a disordered heap of this and that, but with items and layers forensically selected as the poem moves down the page, gathering in a momentum of feeling.
– Jo Shapcott, judge
I loved What My Net Dragged to the Surface because it built on the original vision and kept extending the penuma of the poem, from environmental devastation and plunder to an exploration of the tensions between lovers. The poem seems to aspire to the condition of pure metaphor, both debris and relationship seem lifted into a field of symbolic tensions that can not be resolved. I loved the many curious images, the assured lineation and language which worked on several levels at once.
– Daljit Nagra, judge
…the conversation felt both real and natural, while never getting too heavy despite the subject matter.
– Bakchormeeboy on ‘Three Courses’