2019

Congratulations Momaya Winners!

The following authors gained a place in the 2019 Short Story Review based on the quality of their writing and treatment of the theme “trading spaces.” The stories we received dealt us equal shares of heartbreak and laughter. This year’s collection of stories teaches us that life is precious, even more so when we learn to see the bigger picture, to look at life through another person’s eyes. And really, isn’t that what storytelling is all about?

1st Place
A Handful of Nails, Matt Barnard

2nd Place
The Mess, Miki Lentin

3rd Place
Just for a While, Rosemary Mairs

Honourable Mention
The Lateral Move, Nicolas Berman & Rahul Mukherjee
Saint Catherine, Paul M. Clark
What We Could Have Been, Hazel Compton
If the Cap Fits, Michael Fleming
Chicken House, Miki Lentin
When Shall We Three Meet Again?, Angela McCrann
Flashlightpeople, Simon Terhaag

Also published, recognizing their treatment of theme
Garden Hope, Julie Balloo
Sanctuary, Kevin Crowe
Just the Loves You Need, Bear Gebhardt
The Note, John Holland
Shadow Day, Anthony Howcroft
Time Out, L. F. Roth
It Should Have Been Me, Margaret Morey
A Wrong Turn, K. C. Murdarasi
The Evocation, Lorri Nicholson
The Cat, Nicky Purser
Consider Our Ways, Paula Read
The Debt, MacKenzie Tastan
Doppelganger, Paul Whittle
The Methusalah Option, Mary V. Williams

About the Authors

First Place

Matt Barnard is a poet and writer. His first full poetry collection, Anatomy of a Whale, was published by The Onslaught Press, and he edited the anthology Poems for the NHS. He has won and been placed in competitions including The Poetry Society’s Hamish Canham Prize, the Bridport Prize, the Ink Tears short story competition, the Bristol Short Story Prize and the Momaya Short Story competition, and his work has appeared a number of anthologies and magazines.

What was the inspiration for your story?

My story was inspired by the medieval legend/ belief that the nails used to crucify Jesus were made by a woman rather than a man. I came across it during the TV show Secrets of the Castle and stored it away for future use. The story itself then came to me a few years later, after a suitable period of gestation!

What does it mean to you to be published by Momaya Press?

I am delighted to be published by the Momaya review; this is my second story to make it into one of the anthologies, and I always look forward to reading the each year because of the quality of the writing. I also really appreciate Momaya’s aim to build a community of writers, as I agree it can be a solitary experience.

What are your plans for writing in the future?

My next project is a novel, but I’ll continue to write short stories as I think they are an important genre in their own right; I’m very thankful that it’s being supported by wonderful organisations such as Momaya Press.

Second Place

Miki Lentin is a Creative Writing MA part-time student at Birkbeck University. He has appeared twice at MIR Live and been long-listed for the Michael McMullan Cancer Writing Prize. He is a Trustee of The Reading Agency, established London’s Knowledge Quarter and is taking a break from travelling to work. He can be found online as @mikilentin.

What was the inspiration for your story?

A few months ago I read a short story by Callan Wink called A Refugee Crisis that’s about a woman who returns home to her partner after volunteering abroad with refugees. I thought about the difficulty of returning to normality after being in complex situations, and remembered the experience I felt when my wife returned from volunteering with Palestinian farmers in the West Bank some years before. I was working in a café at the time and had also recently returned from a trip to Lithuania with my father, who was making a historical television documentary about his side of the family.

We had both experienced deep and moving situations and even though we’d been together for a while, it was awkward seeing each other when we came home. The Mess was my attempt to look at that complexity, to examine the space between two people who have so much to recall, so many questions to ask, but at that precise moment struggle to do so.

What does it mean to you to be published by Momaya Press?

Coming second was way beyond my expectations! Being part of a writing community and to be published alongside other successful writers is so important. Getting such positive feedback from Momaya Press is incredibly rewarding, and will certainly build my confidence as a writer. I can’t wait to hear what other readers think of my work.

What are your plans for writing in the future?

I am about to finish a part-time MA in Creative Writing at London’s Birkbeck University. After that, my plan is to finish writing a novella I am currently working on, and will soon be starting another writing course so that I can continue to get feedback on my writing.

Third Place

Rosemary Mairs studied psychology at Queen’s University. Her short stories have been published in anthologies, and also won numerous prizes, most notably the Society of Authors’ Tom Gallon Award. Her work often features the troubled past of Northern

Ireland, where she lives.

What was the inspiration for your story?

 I once had neighbours who were foster parents; the traumatized teenagers who came to stay with them were the inspiration for my story.

What does it mean to you to be published by Momaya Press?

I am delighted to be awarded third prize, and to have my story published, especially because of its theme, as I have often thought of the young people who inspired it, wondering how their lives turned out after such a difficult start.

What are your plans for writing for the future?

Currently, I am working on a short story collection with the theme of ‘loss’, and, on a lighter note, I’m also editing a comic novel about a couple who give up their successful city life to open a rural guest house.

Julie Balloo started out writing as a child and won a playwriting competition when she was 13. A mad piece with music and dance and set in a land in the clouds. When she came down to earth she studied drama. After studying as an actress, she decided to write a stand-up routine and perform on the London comedy circuit which she did for ten years, not with the same act. She has since written stage plays, radio plays and sit-coms, short stories and articles for both print and online publications. She has written the script for three musicals, one which had a successful national tour before a short West End run. She’s had plays produced on the Fringe, and Off Off Broadway. Her play Cock & Bull…the rise of Excalibur was performed at the Park Theatre as part of the No More Page 3 campaign. She also wrote regularly for Sarah Millican’s online magazine, Standard Issue. Julie writes flash fiction and she’s had short stories published in several anthologies. She is currently writing a short play based on Victorian Séance Houses.

What was the inspiration for your story?

I was inspired to write the story after seeing a documentary many years ago on a similar subject and I wondered just how many people would have been affected over time and what would happen if they found out.

What does it mean to you to be published by Momaya Press?

I am honoured to be published by Momaya as they have a very high standard. This is the second time I’ve been included in a Momaya anthology and I’m extremely proud.

What are your plans for writing in the future?

I am working on a short play about “ghosts’ in Victorian seances and redrafting a novel I completed for a fundraiser written for NanoWriMo.

Nicolas Berman and Rahul Mukherjee work in academia, respectively, in France and Switzerland, and write stories in their spare time. They used to write alone, but realized recently that it can be surprisingly fun and inspiring to co-author with a good friend. When they work on the stories they talk about the plot over the phone (messenger pigeons cannot cope with tight deadlines); then they take turns writing and going over each other’s drafts till something readable emerges. They started their collaboration recently and the story Momaya selected is one of their first works, so their writers’ CV is relatively empty at this stage. But this is expected to change in the (not necessarily near) future.

What was the inspiration for your story?

The inspiration behind the story was a two minute conversation on the topic that one of us had with a friend, Dan Pearce, while weaving through a political rally on Trafalgar Square.

What does it mean to you to be published by Momaya Press?

It’s a great pleasure. We started to co-author stories quite recently, out of friendship and common tastes, and it means a lot to us to see our work recognized and published. We also know that Momaya receives a large number of high quality stories, so it is really an honour.

Paul M Clark is an English-born writer living among Kiwis. He attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and lived in the USA for several years. He has been published in several flash fiction journals and won 3rd Place in a New Zealand National Short Story Competition in 2017. As well as flash fiction, he writes short stories and screenplays. He runs creative writing workshops for anyone who’ll have him!

As a former Historian, Paul also advises writers and producers on historical fiction, but also has a passion anything weird. He is currently working on longer term projects including a novel and a drama series.

What was the inspiration for your story?

I always like writing characters that are not like me! Honestly, I’m nothing like Hank!! But it’s fun as a writer to explore the darker side of people and the consequences that it can cause on both themselves and others. My story simply played around with this idea in an extreme way.

What does it mean to you to be published by Momaya Press?

I am delighted to be published by Momaya Press. The Review has a great global audience and showcases work of wonderful quality, so it is very humbling to be included with writers of this standard.

What are your plans for writing in the future?

For the future, I am currently putting the final touches on my first novel and also developing a screenplay as a longer project. I simply want to write. Tell stories and entertain people.

Hazel Compton currently works as a copywriter, but has worked in book publishing, education and as a creative writing tutor. Always an avid reader, she was picked to be a young adult judge for the Orange Prize for Fiction (now the Baileys Woman’s Prize for Fiction) in 2010.

Her short stories have won prizes across the internet, including publication in MardiBook’s 2014 anthology, Hide it! and Shoreline of Infinity and Glasgow University’s recently published anthology, A Practical Guide to the Resurrected and Other Stories. In 2015, Hazel completed an MA in English Literature from the University of East Anglia which, inspired her to write a novel that won her the 2016 Escalator Prize for Fiction. She is currently looking for representation.

What was the inspiration for your story?

 “What We Could Have Been” was inspired by a particular time in my life when someone close to me was suffering. I started to think of all the things ahead of us in life, and how I always assumed this person would be there for it all. Then I started to wonder how I would react if not only I lost them, but I was forced to see a carbon copy of what that life could have been. Fortunately, I never had to find out as they got better, but the idea was there.

What does it mean to you to be published by Momaya Press?

To be an Honourable Mention and to be published my Momaya Press is incredible. I write and tell stories that I would want to read, but knowing that others out there can empathise with these stories strongly motivates me. You can find another of my short stories, System Stable, in Shoreline of Infinity’s anthology, A Practical Guide to the Resurrected.

What are your plans for writing in the future?

I am an avid writer, making time daily to ensure that I am always telling one story or another. I am currently writing and editing what I hope to be my debut novel, as well as continuing to explore ideas and voices through short stories. My plan is to build a career as a signed, published author and to share my love of storytelling by continuing to teach creative writing to children and young adults.

Kevin Crowe (pictured at left accepting the Arts & Media Award at the LGBT Proud Scotland Awards earlier this year on behalf of the Highland LGBT magazine UnDividing Lines) was employed in various manual jobs before going to university as a mature student. After university, he worked with homeless young people, then in the 1980s was employed by several social services departments as an HIV/Aids worker. In 1999, Kevin and his husband Simon moved to the Highlands to open a bookshop, art gallery and restaurant. In 2014 they retired. He has been active in trade union politics, describes himself as a Socialist and has over the years been involved in various voluntary activities. He is currently a volunteer for his local Foodbank. Until recently he was a committee member of Highland LGBT Forum, a tutor on the Inverness based Pink Castle Philosophy Club and convenor of the Highland LGBT Writers Group.

Kevin writes regularly for the Highland community magazine Am Bratach and the Highland LGBT magazine Undividing Lines. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, web sites and anthologies, including in recent years various editions of Collection of Poetry and Prose, On The Day of the Dead and Other Stories, Rock Sand and Sea, A Fresh Northerly, Joe Stepped Off the Train and Other Stories, Random Acts of Writing, Libertine, Outboundmusic.com, KaleidoScot, Poetry Scotland, Northwords Now, Laldy, Lesbian & Gay Christian, Disclosures, McStorytellers, as well as Am Bratach and UnDividingLines. Earlier this year he read from his work at Glasgow’s literary festival Aye Write and at the John O Groat Book Festival.

What was the inspiration for your story?

There wasn’t one particular thing, just an accumulation of observations. Not long before starting the story I had been watching a repeat of an episode of “Midsomer Murders” in which the discover and restoration of a work of art on a church cellar wall led the priest and others to do some rather unchristian things. The discussion on symmetry in art was in part inspired by Dali’s “St John of the Cross” (which I view every time I visit Glasgow, and a cheap print of which adorns our home), and the idea for the altar crucifix came from my memory of visiting Coventry Cathedral many years ago, where there is a crucifix created by local apprentices. Lots of churches contain excellent art, so that seemed a good way for the two characters to connect with each other. I have come across lots of people who have either lost their religious faith or have questioned it, as well as those who because of their experiences have rejected whichever church or religion they belonged to. Also, I like challenging readers’ assumptions. For example, we often assume someone is white or straight or able bodied unless we are told otherwise, and we can often make assumptions about people on the basis of their ethnicity or religion or sexuality or gender or age or class. I am an admirer of the short stories of O. Henry and particularly the way he surprises us, particularly with his endings that sometimes change our understanding of what went before. I also wanted to explore what “sanctuary” means, whether it is a place or a state of mind, and whether we can escape from our past or have to face up to our past. Like most of my fiction, the end product turned out very different from the initial idea, and it went through numerous drafts.

What does it mean to you to be published by Momaya Press?

It’s wonderful, particularly as the story had earlier been rejected elsewhere. Like most writers I get far more rejections than I get letters (and these days emails) telling me I have won a competition or offering to publish my work, but one success makes up for a hundred rejections. And, like other stories that have in the past been rejected, I took the opportunity to have a fresh look at “Sanctuary” and made some changes. The fact that Momaya Press are going to publish the story tells me that I was right to persevere with it and improve it. That helps increase my confidence and self-belief.

What are your plans for writing in the future?

Much the same as I have done in the past. I write regularly for the Highland LGBT magazine UnDividing Lines, and until it closed I wrote for the Highland magazine Am Bratach for about 16 years. I am currently looking for a print publisher for a novel, set in the mid 1970s partly in Birmingham and partly in the Highlands about the relationship between a young closeted gay barman and a young female prostitute. A draft of the novel was published in the Scottish literary website Mcstorytellers.com. I am also continuing to write short fiction, and continuing to submit work to other outlets. I am quite disciplined about it: I have a database with the closing dates for magazines, anthologies and competitions, along with submission rules, themes, etc, which I continually add to, and I work through it chronologically. I envisage myself continuing to write on a daily basis (normally allocating afternoons for writing) and continuing to submit work.

Michael J Fleming has always written. He’s totally hooked. he took a Masters in Creative Writing from 2012 to 2014 and that added a little discipline to the scatter-gun approach he’d taken up to that point. Since then he has written two novels (not placed but marinating) and a novella. However, it’s the short story form that grabs him. He’s won, been placed or short-listed in a number of competitions including winning the Chelmsford Literary Festival short story prize, the Write Across Sussex short story competition and the Eastbourne Writes competition. He’s been placed in others (Charleston, Northampton Writers, Steyning Festival) and short-listed in several including Writers and Artists, Exeter Writers, Yeovil and the H. E. Bates competition.

His poems and short stories have been included in anthologies and he’s self-published a story collection, The Fish on My Ear. He belongs to his local writers’ group, Anderida Writers.

What was the inspiration for your story?

The inspiration for my story was a news photo showing heavy-set mourners entering a church for a gangland funeral service. Police officers were stationed at a discreet distance along the street. The thought of playing with the roles of those opposing forces immediately came to mind.

What does it mean to you to be published by Momaya Press?

Being published by Momaya Press validates my work. It means that experienced practitioners in the publishing industry consider that I can write well enough to earn their vote of confidence.

What are your plans for writing in the future?

I intend to keep writing short stories as I’m very fond of the short form, especially the version with a twist – of which I’ve written many. However, I am also close to finishing a novella (Dancing with a Weighted Cane), that I hope might find its way into print. At the top of my list is to hone my debut novel, The Fruits of Rashness, which has been longlisted in this year’s Crime Writers Association debut novel category, and then find an agent.

Bear Gebhardt is the Senior Librarian at Heart Mountain Monastery, an online/offline community of nondual Taoist Buddhist Quaker Methodists, and a long time free-lance writer. He has published hundreds of articles, stories and poems in a wide variety of well-known and little known publications. He has also published ten books, two of the latest being, “A Wave of Thanks, and Other Human Gestures: 31 Quick Stories,” and “The Potless Pot High: How to Get High, Clear and Spunky without Weed.”

What was the inspiration for your story?

The inspiration for “Just the Loves You Need” was, first, a deep understanding that we do indeed always receive just the love we need, when we need it, if we are open to such love. And then, on a more mundane level, perhaps somewhat of a tumultuous childhood and adolescence that could have led me, as with one of the main characters, to live in a foster home. And finally, of course, as with most guys, a secret curiosity, reverence and hankering for an older woman (which makes my decades long marriage a marvelous thing!) Such an explanation, I admit, comes only in the rear view mirror. At the time of writing, I didn’t know these were themes wanting to find form.

What does it mean to you to be published by Momaya Press?

When two very bright ladies bring together a very bright team and start publishing deeply moving and powerful literature from around the world, and these ladies keep doing it regularly for over 15 years, and then one day say “Yes, your work fits,” something deep inside relaxes (at least for a bit.) They understand, “It’s a celebration of life to take time out to write a piece of fiction that exists for no purpose other than as an expression.” One other small purpose might be that the type of literature, and themes that Momaya Press advances are what in the end could save Western Civilization. Thank you, Momaya Press, for keeping the barbarians from the door. It’s an honor to add my shoulder to the work.

What are your plans for writing in the future?

I enjoy to write (books, essays, stories, poems, articles, manifestos) and do it every day. I’ve been doing it every day (except for Sundays) for many decades. I don’t see an end in sight.

John Holland is a Gloucestershire-based prize-winning short fiction author whose stories are published extensively. He is also the organiser of the twice-yearly event Stroud Short Stories. His website is www.johhollandwrites.com.

What was the inspiration for your story?

I like humour and I like to subvert clichés and traditional story lines, hence my story “The Note’ takes a typical hostage/blackmail situation and turns it on its head.

What does it mean to you to be published by Momaya Press?

I won second prize in the annual Momaya Press Short Story Competition in 2013 and first prize in 2014. I had only just started writing short stories then and those prizes meant a huge amount to me. They still do.  If Momaya has a theme I feel I can respond to, I will always have a go.

What are your plans for writing in the future?

I feel quite clear about my plans. I have won first prize in five short story comps and had about 90 pieces of fiction published since I started submitting stories in 2013 when I was 61. My aim is to have a hundred pieces published and maybe win another first prize before publishing my first collection of stories in 2022 when I’m 70.

Anthony Howcroft’s work has been broadly published in a variety of periodicals such as Writers Magazine USA, Words with Jam, Ambit, and The London Magazine. His stories have also appeared in numerous anthologies, and his first collection “Nobody will ever love you’ was published in 2015. Originally from Oxford, Anthony now lives in America, where he runs a cognitive computing software company.

What was your inspiration for the story?

I was at a conference, and they played a video which showed some people standing on top of huge wind turbines, and performing maintenance on the blades. I was struck by what an amazing, unique job that was, and wondered what type of person would do that. In my hotel that evening, I searched YouTube to find an answer, and came across a woman called Jessica Kilroy, who had worn a leg brace as a child and gone on to become a great rock climber and ultimately a turbine repair expert. I found her story inspirational, and yet there were some idiots commenting on her post, as there always seem to be online, and I wondered how they would cope in Jessica’s job. The story simply wrote itself after that, as a piece of pure fiction, and I would dedicate it to every strong woman that has had to overcome fools and obstacles to achieve their dream.

What does it mean to you to be published by Momaya Press?

This is my third time being published by Momaya, and each one is special. I have spent ten years running my own mini-publishing business, part-time, and I know how hard it is to keep these ventures operating, so I am thankful that Monisha & Maya continue to be strong and keep running the contest and publishing their collection each year.

What are your plans for writing in the future?

I am very close to completing a non-fiction book that I’ve been working on for many years, and I hope to publish that in 2020. Next, I hope to publish a second collection of short stories – I have more than enough stories ready, and a dozen have been published in literary magazines or anthologies, but I still need to assemble them into a coherent whole, and find the time to polish the collection.

Angela McCrann is a retired English teacher, living in South East London. She has been writing for the last 14 years and has had some competition successes. She has also participated in NaNoWriMo on several occasions.

“When Shall We Three Meet Again’ is a previous winner of the “Writers’ Forum Short Story Competition’ and forms part of a collection of a dozen Shakespeare-inspired pieces which she is currently working to complete.

What was your inspiration for the story?

‘When Shall We Three Meet Again?’ was actually originally written for a different short story competition, which had set the prompt of ‘Marriage Guidance Counsellor’. I’d taught ‘Macbeth’ many times over the years and it suddenly occurred to me that if ever a couple needed a bit of guidance…

What does it mean to you to be published by Momaya Press?

I am delighted to be published by Momaya Press. I’ve thought about entering your competition a couple of times, but only summoned up the nerve this year.

What are your plans for writing in the future?

I’ve been working on some other slightly quirky Shakespeare-inspired stories and have a couple more planned, possibly with a view to publishing them as a collection.

Margaret Morey graduated from Manchester University with a Degree in English, and has taught English in schools and on a one-to-one basis, but for most of her working life she has been a careers adviser. Since retiring, she has become increasingly interested in writing as a way of exploring her life experiences, some of which have been difficult. She grew up on Teesside and now lives in Northumberland, beside the river Tyne, and likes gardening, walking, and social activities. She loves her family, her friends, and her cat.

What was the inspiration for your story?

The inspiration for my story was a true incident which led me to consider the randomness of fate. I also wanted to explore the guilt of surviving someone else’s tragedy, and twins have always interested me – the way that an individual develops their identity within relationship as close as this.

What does it mean to you to be published by Momaya Press?

I am thrilled to be published by Momaya, as I have always admired the standard of witting, and welcome the chance for my work to reach a wider audience.

What are your plans for writing in the future?

In the future, I want to write more, and I want to write better.

K.C. Murdarasi is a Scottish writer based in Glasgow. After graduating from the University of St Andrews, she spent a few years as a missionary in various parts of Albania. She now divides her time between writing and Albanian interpreting.

What was the inspiration for your story?

I had heard stories of people blindly following their sat nav even when it was leading them in completely the wrong direction. I thought it would be fun to run with that, and combine it with the fantasy of stepping into another life for an evening.

What does it mean to you to be published by Momaya Press?

It’s always a boost to be published – the writer’s ego is very fragile! I’m particularly pleased that this story was chosen because it’s a fun wee thing and I’m fond of it.

What are your plans for writing in the future?

I’m currently working on “Daughters of Fire”, the second part of a series of thrillers. I’d also like to write a book on alchemy, but there’s quite a lot of research still to do.

Lorri Nicholson has worked most of her career as a producer of marketing and training videos. Recently retired from that profession, she spends the luxury of more time, as much as possible, writing. Also, as if that were not change enough, she moved with her English husband and two dogs from her home country of the United States to England. Time not spent writing is spent trying to understand English heating, TV, and accents.

What was the inspiration for your story?

My enjoyment of W.B. Yeats poetry led to me reading about his fascination with the occult; I had noodled it for a story for a while and then thought it worked with this theme. 

What does it mean to you to be published by Momaya Press?

It is always affirming to have your work recognized and I am proud to be included in the Momaya Short Story Review. The first piece of writing I ever had published was my poem “A Shakespearian Love Sonnet,” in Love, published by Momaya Press. 

What are your plans for writing in the future?

I begin the MA program in creative writing at Newcastle University in the fall, and at 58 years old have started to believe it is never too late to try new things, including starting a writing career.

Nicky Purser is an Australian veterinarian working in the UK who has a passion for fiction writing. Writing has always been a hobby, however she has only ever written for herself. She is just starting to share her work and this is an exciting first step. Her other interests include travelling and, of course, cats.

What was the inspiration for your story?

I wrote this story late at night between patients while on night shifts. Describing emotional turmoil in a clinical environment seemed appropriate! New technologies are constantly evolving in medicine and frequently the ethical aspect struggles to keep up. Exploring the idea of identity when the manipulation of the physical body becomes more and more accessible is a current and developing discussion.

What does it mean to you to be published by Momaya Press?

This is my first publication and I am extremely excited to be noticed! I feel hugely encouraged to continue.

What are your plans for writing in the future?

I would love to publish a larger work of fiction in the future. I am focusing on writing short stories at the moment to develop and challenge my skills. I’m a beginner, so there’s only one way from here: up (hopefully)!

Paula Read started out as a journalist and subsequently trained as a French teacher. While teaching, she continued to free-lance as a writer and editor. She has just completed an MA in creative writing (non-fiction) at City, University of London, earning a distinction for her book The Hazelnut Grove. This is the story of her cousin and his wife who moved from the comfort of a two-bedroom cottage in southern England to a mountain-top ruin in northwest Italy, following a dream. It has not been a walk in the sunshine, but there they still are, living the kind of life few of us can imagine – and that may be unattainable in the future given the continuing battle over Brexit. Paula also writes fiction, and has had a couple of short stories published by Arachne Press (https://arachnepress.com). She lives in London, is an ardent European and feminist, and loves dogs and gardening.

What was the inspiration for my story?

If you always choose free-range eggs when you shop, if you seek out meat produced to higher animal welfare standards, if you think about where your milk comes from, then it is probable that you have been influenced, however unconsciously, by the wonderful charity Compassion in World Farming (http://www.ciwf.org.uk). For years they have campaigned very successfully for higher animal welfare standards in farming – and not just in the UK. They also seek to influence standards in other parts of the world.

For as long as I can remember, I have been extremely troubled by the way animals are factory farmed and haunted in particular by the treatment of pregnant sows, confined in farrowing cages. This is a desperately cruel, yet widespread practice.

What would it feel like, I wondered, not to be able to move after having just given birth, not to be able to feed your offspring naturally, not to be in control of your own body? And so this story was born.

What does it mean to me to be published by Momaya Press?

I am completely thrilled. I love writing stories, and some just burst from you fully formed. Consider Our Ways was one of these. It is very special to me and I am so glad that the tale also touches others. Trading places, putting yourself in another’s shoes, is perhaps what writers do whatever they are writing. I have had a couple of other stories published where the main protagonists are a) a latently gay osteopath and b) a young, homeless man.

What are my plans for writing in the future?

The eye-witness account of a young Frenchman rounded up by the occupying German army and taken to Germany as a forced labourer has come into my hands via his daughter. I have translated it into English and the plan now is to write a book, using this very vivid memoir to tell a personal story of life in occupied France. 

This feels like serendipity for, after a life spent as a journalist and teacher (and bringing up a family, dogs and so on), I finally had time to study for an MA in creative writing (non-fiction) at City, University of London. And I have just finished my first full-length book, The Hazelnut Grove, which is about my cousin and his wife who bought a dilapidated old farmhouse in rural Piedmont in north western Italy and moved there permanently over 15 years ago. Not everything has been a walk in the sunshine in this mountain retreat. Much has happened that might have driven them away. But they are still there, living a life that few of us can imagine. And that may, indeed, no longer be possible, given the tragic fallout from the ill-conceived 2016 UK referendum on leaving the European Union.

Meantime, there are so many stories to be written…So many shoes to step into…

L. F. Roth was at one time or another child care worker, ward orderly, translator, and lecturer, alongside a series of jobs of shorter duration. Since 2011 he has seen some twenty short stories published in competition anthologies in the U.K.–one of them by Momaya Press (2016). They generally focus on relationships, gender issues and trauma–at times all three. For details and a few excerpts, see https://sites.google.com/site/lfroth1/

What was the inspiration for your story?

I really don’t know what ignited it, specifically. In part, it must have been the theme, which I find interesting; in part, probably, the fact that I was reading David Christian’s Origin Story at the time, a presentation of the development of the universe from the Big Bang on, including that of human life—none of which is reflected in my story.

What does it mean to you to be published by Momaya Press?

As in 2016, great joy. Having a story accepted tells me that it works—which is important.

What are your plans for writing in the future?

Other than short stories, I’m revising a novel I completed a few years ago, in the hope of finding a publisher.

MacKenzie Tastan lives in San Rafael, California with her husband and a pet rabbit named Charlie. Her work has appeared in the Pleasanton Express an on Saugus.net.

What was the inspiration for your story?

I’ve always been fascinated by stories about changelings. I started wondering how a changeling child could change a family’s dynamic and my story “The Debt” is my attempt to answer that question.

What does it mean to you to be published by Momaya Press?

Being published by Momaya Press is a dream come true for me. I’ve always wanted to see my work in print, but I never thought it would really happen.

What are your plans for writing in the future?

I plan to keep on writing in the future. I’m currently writing a novel.

Simon Terhaag is a German master’s student of English Literature, studying at the university of Bonn. A love of reading that started in early childhood years developed into an interest to produce stories of his own as he got older, since the start of his studies he has regularly penned short stories.

Having grown up loving the more traditional fantasy works of the likes of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, he has grown to enjoy both reading and writing on topics that mix fantasy elements with real-life observations on social/cultural phenomenon.

What was the inspiration for your story?

On the third Saturday of the month from the months of March to October, the “Rheinauen’ in Bonn host one of the biggest open air fleamarkets in Germany. From kitchen appliances to kayaks, to jewelry and board games, there’s something for everyone. Being a very well-visited event, shops open in the early morning hours, which especially in spring and autumn means that wares are laid out long before daylight hours. In these early morning moments, there’s a common practice of people going through the stalls with flashlights on the search for stamped jewelry the value of which is not known to the seller. Unlike the slow ebb of people enjoying their crepes and ice cream by the side, these morning visitors are not there to casually browse, they work methodologically, sifting through the stands quickly, not wasting time on pleasantries or taking the time to exchange a word with the vendors aside from haggling for prices. These interactions are often cold and frustrating, much unlike the relaxed atmosphere that comes with sunrise. The drastic difference between these exchanges made me wonder how just like the items sold, the people buying and selling are sometimes so completely different and unique from one another. Furthermore, I liked the idea of defining the items sold not only by their guestimated material worth, but what they mean to the person that is selling them. In a way, the personal value of that worn out favourite hoodie of many years, or the kids bike you learned to ride on doesn’t really stand in relation to the meagre price it’ll fetch on the fleamarket. Sentimental value is also value, after all. While there is money to gain, that physical reminder of the memories will be gone for someone else to attach experiences to.

Combining these ideas, this impersonal search for things of material value and the opposing concept of valuing things by their contextual significance rather than their “real’ worth, resulted in the story in this review. The fleamarket is both a trading place where goods are bartered for, as well as being a place for the characters to wonder whether exchanging memories for money will eventually result them trading places with one another.

What does it mean to you to be published by Momaya Press?

While I started writing short stories during my Bachelor studies, sending them somewhere to be critiqued was an idea equally absurd and terrifying. As my studies approached completion and the repertoire of short stories kept growing, curiosity eventually won out, though. I decided to submit a story to Momaya, noticing the lucky coincidence of the theme, the locality of the judges being in Bonn, and the timing of my finding out. Having this story be received as an honourable mention is a fantastic response and serves as encouragement that what I enjoy writing is also enjoyed when read by others.

What are your plans for writing in the future?

I plan to keep writing as much as I can about as many things as I can. If others are interested in reading any of it, that’s all the better! In addition to other short stories, I hope to dedicate more time to a longer story that’s been in the works for some time.

Paul Whittle is a 58 year old Financial Adviser living in Northumberland. He has been writing a wide array of stories and poetry since his school days. It is only now since attending a local creative writing course that he has been encouraged to share his work with a wider audience. Hopefully this competition will do just that. There is a lot more to come from this clever and creative writer.

What was the inspiration for your story?   

I was inspired to write the story by a chance encounter with my own ‘doppelganger’ many years ago. I was at a BBQ and as I approached the coals, I came face to face with my mirror image, albeit he was slightly older with blond hair whereas I had dark hair. The shocked look on his face was matched only by my own. The weird thing was we both stared briefly and then turned and walked in opposite directions. I never saw him again. Ever since then I have always wondered about this other me.

We looked the same more importantly, we both had the same reaction to seeing each other. I am getting a chill down my spine just writing this! Hence the story.

What does it mean to you to be published by Momaya Press?

It is the first time I have had any work published (not surprising really since it was the first time I had submitted any !). But I am nevertheless thrilled and excited by this. It has given me a real confidence boost and motivated me to enter more of my work into competitions. Thank you.

Mary V Williams was born in a Hampshire village and spent most of her early childhood playing outside with mud, sticks and a dog, before being captured and made to go to school where she discovered books, poetry and art, which was a small consolation.

With an artistic, loving, but deaf mother, and a father who was an eccentric engineer and inventor, life was never dull. After school she devoured poetry and novels and began writing her own. Later, she studied at Manresa College in Roehampton, accompanied, she feels, by the ghost of Gerard Manley Hopkins who had been a Jesuit novitiate there, and met her husband, Peter. Together they made the most of Sixties London and travelled around Europe and North Africa before getting married. After the birth of their two sons they decided reluctantly to seek quieter surroundings outside London and when Peter was offered a job in Lancashire the family moved Up North. She kept on writing and teaching.

Left with a huge, empty house once the children had left home, they sold up and moved south to Shropshire, where Peter had embarked on a career as an art therapist. Mary now had time and space to write. A series of books followed: The Poison Garden of Dorelia Jones, A Far Cry, Losing It, and recently The Marsh People (recently republished by Victorina Press). She won the Hippocrates Prize for poetry and the Ware Prize. Her poetry has been published in many journals and anthologies, and her published collected short stories, Unconfirmed Reports From Out There, is available as an e-book. She also founded the Drayton Writers’ Group.

She and her husband presently live in an old cottage and try to keep the garden at bay, though there’s a well under the living room floor and anything could be lurking in that.

What was the inspiration for your story?   

I read about a small town sheriff in the States who was tired of boy racers tearing through the town with their sound systems on full volume. He locked them up and made them listen to  Dean Martin, Bing Crosby and other singers from that era at full volume, explaining that they should play quality music instead.

Not many re-offended!   I also watched a vintage film called Little Eva, where the small girl whose mother is a collaborator in the War, is sent away from her village for her own protection. She runs to the grandmother for protection in the new village and knows instinctively she’ll be safe.

Then there’s the ‘What if?’ question about what happens when the world changes, but we’re not part of that change. Prisoners newly released have to deal with all that.  These ideas coincided in my story.

What does it mean to you to be published by Momaya Press?   

 I was impressed by the inclusive, diverse, nature of the information on the website, and Momaya’s efforts to cast the net wide. I am always thrilled to have a story or poem published, especially by a publication with a track record and in the company of other excellent contributors. It’s good to have stiff competition and I’m very pleased and proud that my story was chosen and commended.

What are your plans for writing in the future?   

At present, I am writing more short stories and poetry. I had a second small volume of stories published by Mantle Lane Publishers last year, and it’s a form of writing that suits the time and energy I have available. Poetry is the same. However, I have a half completed novel that I haven’t found a publisher for, titled Nothing Is Certain.  I hope to finish it before next year. The publisher of my last fiction novel, The Marsh People, published by Victorina Press, is at present, for health reasons, unable to help, but has the first option on  it. I often have several projects on the go, so if I get bogged down with one I can divert to something else for a while. I generally do finish what I start to write, but some things ‘cook’ for a little while in my head and computer first.  I founded a writers’ group here, take part in events when I can and hold workshops now and then. Old age and infirmity will stop me at some point, but at present writing is what I do, most of the time.

Previous Momaya Press Awards:

Momaya Press Awards 2018
Momaya Press Awards 2017
Momaya Press Awards 2016
Momaya Press Awards 2015

Momaya Press Awards 2014
Momaya Press Awards 2013
Momaya Press Awards 2012
Momaya Press Awards 2011
Momaya Press Awards 2010
Momaya Press Awards 2009
Momaya Press Awards 2008
Momaya Press Awards 2007
Momaya Press Awards 2006
Momaya Press Awards 2005
Momaya Press Awards 2004