Showcase

2019 Berlin Writing Prize: On Bears: A Constellation by Sarah Van Bonn (Shortlist)

Fact. Bears can swim. Indeed, bears are excellent swimmers. Legend. The Ojibwa tribe native to America’s Great Lakes tells of Mishe Mokwa, a mother bear who lived with her two cubs on land that’s now Wisconsin. One day, the bears’ forest caught fire: a raging blaze that drove them to land’s edge, where woods meet water.

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2019 Berlin Writing Prize: Ventimiglia by Nicholas Ruddock (Shortlist)

The two strongmen set out twenty minutes before dawn, stepping down from their caravan, weaving between horses, between cooking fires smoldering from the night before, past sleeping elephants, cages of large cats curtained against disturbance, the bear in his wagon shifting his weight, various serpents lolling from trees, Peruvian fruit bats ghosting after insects...

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2019 Berlin Writing Prize: Délphine by Eliza Robertson (Shortlist)

After you admitted your fear of ketchup, the perverse side of me went to Dépanneur Ultra and bought a family pack of ketchup chips. You have to be raised in this country to desire those lurid furrows of salt, stained deeper than other flavours, so you know where to lick. I am a hummingbird this way, drawn to red crannies you needle your tongue into. That was not meant to be a sexual advance, though you’ll probably read it that way. The perverse side of me is called, “Délphine,” by the way.

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2019 Berlin Writing Prize: The Plumage by Avrina Prabala-Joslin (Shortlist)

Janvi and I sit in my tree house watching Husu aunty and Leela ma stitch peacock feathers into our coats for the mela. It’s plumage for our peacock dance. Janvi and I will be peacocks at the town mela, the best role anyone in our neighbourhood can get. The stitching looks easy but they won’t let us do it. I don’t like what all they don’t let us do, I tell Janvi.

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2019 Berlin Writing Prize: One In Eight by Hannah Harper (Shortlist)

“That’s a wrap,” she said. “Now I do you.” She stretched out her arm and made grabbing motions with her fingers at the phone in my hand. Her nails were long and hard, painted gunmetal grey. If she made a fist, they’d slice open her palm. “Gimme gimme gimme.” My own nails were stubby and unpolished. At the very least, they’d have to be painted before the show. That was in the contract. 

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2019 Berlin Writing Prize: Threshold by Angela Hughes (Shortlist)

Exact time eludes me. Darkness has an early morning shallowness; a sense of dissipation. Beside me Paul sleeps, his snoring the bassline to the awakening of the day: rain drums on the van roof and somewhere beyond, the intermittent bark of a dog in a two-four rhythm. I roll on to my back, free my arm and reach to touch the left side of my neck. A morning routine, to check whether my carotid artery is distended.

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2019 Berlin Writing Prize: Apricot Stones by Chloe Gocool (Shortlist)

When I was twenty-one, I ran away. Into the chaos. Entropy found me one evening, outside in a pub-garden in late December. The winter rain was horizontal and the wool of my tights baggy and sodden on my shins. I had, for weeks, been nursing a rabid and teeth-grinding mercilessness.

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2019 Berlin Writing Prize: Circus Freak by Anbara Salam (Runner-up)

I was abducted by aliens on the 4th July. I was crossing my backyard as it happened, texting Bilal. It was all crack and glitter overhead. And then, I was lying on the other side of the yard by the gate. Damp soil in my mouth. The text I never finished was just an empty bubble on the screen.

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2019 Berlin Writing Prize: Camel by Victoria Manifold (Runner-up)

We spent those days long hot and bright wading through the tall grass out the back of the house. Swimming through it as if it were an ocean and we were happily adrift. Or we edged around the verdant slime lining the pathetic trickle of the beck and followed the line of it right up to the new estate and back again.

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2019 Berlin Writing Prize: A Wide Neon Yell by S.K. Perry (WINNER)

Picture this: a cord hangs from the arena ceiling. At the end of the cord is a metal loop, and all around the loop is my sister’s hair. The method by which her hair is attached to it, is a family secret. To an audience, it looks loose and accidental but underneath it’s plaited super tight, in a closely-guarded sequence of knots and twists that take nearly two hours to put in. I know, I’ve done it. 

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