Momaya Press Awards 2010

Coverage of the Momaya Press Awards Ceremony 2010

Thanks to everyone who took time out of busy schedules to attend the event – our judges, actors, writers published in previous years, and writers published this year. Thanks to the Nightingale for hosting, Naked Wines for supplying the wine, my team for helping out with photographs (Eric Hossinger), videos (Danny McCubbin), and book sales tonight. And last but not least everyone else present for the event – the audience. Without an audience there’s no point writing or acting at all, so you’re really the most important people!


Monisha Saldanha, Momaya Press Director, welcomes guests

The short story is an art form like no other. While a novel is sprawling and can encompass many themes, a short story is compressed and focused, usually exploring a single idea succinctly. Some writers can find this challenging, as the construction of the story is much more important than in a novel, where a writer can afford to meander a bit before getting to the point. The point is what a short story is all about. The Momaya Short Story Competition has a maximum of 2,500 words, which is about 4 typed, single-spaced pages, so the writers who submit to our competition have to be very focused indeed.


Judges Polly Courtney (Novelist), Kay Peddle (Random House), Andy Callus (Reuters), Guest Amina Callus (Left to Right)

Focus is an interesting theme itself in our contemporary age. We very rarely focus on anything anymore. Those of us in office jobs will often be juggling email, phone, in person, and text communications simultaneously, with multiple programmes open on our computer, our attention split across a myriad projects and a handful of means of communication. In our leisure time we watch television while surfing the web and texting our friends. We go to music gigs and film the musicians on our mobile phones while we watch them, and post the footage on facebook before we leave the venue. Our attention is commonly divided and multi-tasking has become so much the norm that we don’t even realise we’re doing it anymore.


Momaya Awards Dinner Audience
Writing a short story is a welcome opportunity to take a break from our multi-channel lives, and sit down, unplugged from the internet, to focus our mind and our writing to produce a polished diamond of a story (ok, maybe it will take a few drafts to get the “polished” effect”!) Each person has a unique and totally individual voice. No two people would write exactly the same piece when given the same topic – in the case of our 2010 competition, the theme being “Family”. Family is a universal theme – we all have them in one shape or another – and yet all our experiences, even within the same family, are unique. Family can be explored from a variety of angles, but the short story writer must chose one specific angle to explore, in order to produce a coherent and compelling narrative.

The actors’ performances of the winning stories gave an idea of the incredible range of the stories we received. We hope that these stories will inspire everyone in the audience to read more short stories, and for those of you who haven’t yet written one, to give it a go. Just a few hours in front of a computer should be enough time to produce your first story. Don’t worry about the quality when you’re writing your first draft, just think of a single idea or moment in time, and write about that. The theme for our 2011 competition is “Greed” which is a big, juicy topic that will hopefully give you loads of ideas for what to write.


Polly Courtney, Momaya Press Judge and Novelist shares her experience of writing

Maya Cointreau and Monisha Saldanha founded Momaya Press to provide a platform to inspire and promote aspiring short story writers. We view it as our social enterprise, our own small contribution to hopefully helping make the world a better, brighter place. This was our 7th Annual Awards Ceremony. It’s been an exciting journey. We’ve met loads of great people along the way and hopefully have inspired some great writers as well.


Momaya Press Dinner is served

 


Actor Asen Kukushev reads the 1st place story “From Space”

 


Judge Kay Peddle (Random House) shares our thoughts on the 1st place story “From Space”

1st Place: Lynne Voyce

I live in Birmingham with my husband and two daughters where I teach English in an inner city comprehensive. My work has appeared in magazines, online and in anthologies from Leaf Books, Earlyworks and Chester University Press. I have been placed in, and won, many competitions including Legend, Calderdale, Ted Walters, Guildford and Ink Tears. I enjoy TV comedy, celebrity gossip and shopping.

I am currently working with a small press with a view to anthologising my published work. I have recently embarked on a novel but can’t quiet the nagging short story ideas that constantly plague me. In the future I would like to take some of my work into a live forum.

The Momaya Review is always excellent quality and it has been an ambition of mine to be included. It is always very satisfying, and motivating, when people like your work – especially people with the experience of the Momaya judges.

My stories often start with a visual image, as this one did: a bed in a suburban garden seen from the air. It was only when I put characters into this picture that I realized it was a story about marriage and family. It is about a woman who needs space to communicate with her partner. When I look back at my work it is often about a woman’s need to express herself; perhaps this is because I express myself through writing.


Actress Fran Wilde reads the 2nd place story “Plasticated”

 


Judge Andy Callus (Copy Editor, Reuters) explains why we selected “Up and Out” for 2nd Place

2nd Place: Vanessa Jones

I am the author of three novels. The first two were published by Flamingo in 2000 and 2002, but my third failed to find a publisher. This setback meant I didn’t write anything for many years, but have recently started again with some short stories. I live in Rome with her daughter Rose. The inspiration for the story came from seeing a plastic bag, neatly folded, inside an elderly lady’s handbag. Being published by Momaya is a great boost to my writing confidence. I’m also delighted that my work will be read again. I plan on writing more short stories – I also have an idea for a novel which I hope to start soon.


Actor James Crocker reads “Up and Out” the 3rd place story

3rd Place: Mary Wilson
I’m currently writing a series of short stories, one of which was my story for Momaya. This story was inspired by a close friend of mine, who recounted in passing an amusing airbourne anecdote which took on a life of its own in my mind. It’s great to know its found an audience who enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I’m encouraged to continue writing, and am starting a 2 year creative writing course in 2011.


Momaya Awards Dinner audience listens to the story readings

Honourable Mention

Sophie Coulombeau

Sophie Coulombeau was born in London and grew up mainly in Manchester. After taking her BA in English Literature from Oxford University, she went on to live and travel in Europe, Canada and South America, and to do postgraduate work at the University of Pennsylvania under a Thouron Fellowship. She lives in York, where she has just started her doctorate. Sophie has had short stories published in the Momaya Annual Review 2009, the Cheshire Prize Anthology 2010 and the New Writer.

The idea for ‘The Circle Line’ popped into my head one hellish day on the tube, when I had my elbow in someone’s stomach and my face in someone else’s armpit. I wondered how somebody might react if one of the people jammed next to them was someone that they had both yearned and dreaded to
run into for years, with whom they felt they had unfinished business. I went home and wrote the story straight down in one go (which very rarely happens!)

Momaya Press has a very special place in my heart, as it was the first press to ever publish one of my stories. It meant the world to me to see my first story published in last year’s Annual Review, and this year the feeling is even better!I’m delighted that the judges enjoyed my story. I can now tell myself with confidence that I’m writing at a consistent standard, and last year wasn’t just a flash in the pan.

I’m putting the final touches to a collection of short stories called ‘The Carnival’, which explores different states of freedom from unwritten rules. I’m also planning a novel, and trying to knock a huge and sprawling collection of poetry into the shape of a decent collection.


Darren Croucher discusses his story “Love Like a Shooting Star”

Darren Croucher

I have an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. I write stories, novels and screenplays. This story was inspired by the landscapes of America, the music of U2, and the emotional beats of a daughter trying to connect with her origins. As writers, we necessarily spend much of our time creating ‘in the dark,’ not knowing if what we are making will ever reach the outside world. When an entity like Momaya Press shines a light on my fictional universe, it creates a bridge between my writing and the world, and this means everything to me. This story is an excerpt from, or a preview of, a novel in progress. I have completed an additional novel, and a collection of short stories. My future plans include the novel in progress, and an original TV pilot script.

Bea Davenport

I suffered from this traumatic condition as a child and into adulthood, so I know all about how it feels. I wrote about the experience as part of my research into The Serpent House, because my main character has trauma-induced hair loss. My PhD supervisor, the award-winning writer Jackie Kay, loved the piece so I worked it into a short story. It’s a mixture of real incidents and total fiction.

Getting published seems like such a tough, closed world that competitions like Momaya are a fantastic opportunity for unpublished writers. The competition has such prestige that it’s wonderful to be part of it. It’s also a great boost to the confidence on those dark days when ‘becoming a writer’ feels like a distant dream.

I’m hoping to find a publisher for The Serpent House and I’ve also mentally mapped out a sequel. But I’m also working on another novel for an older age group. I could also seriously do with an agent – if anyone’s out there, contact me!

Araminta Hall

Thanks so much for selecting my story (Friends, Family, Lovers and Charlie, Armainta Craig Hall) to be published in your annual review. I’ve attached a photo and following are the answers to your questions.

I worked as a journalist for nine years, on staff at Emap and then as a freelancer, working for many magazines and newspapers including regular features in the Daily Mirror. I gave up six years ago when my second child was born to try to concentrate on writing a novel. I took an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Sussex three years ago. My debut novel Everything and Nothing is due to be published by Harper Press on 20th January 2011. I live in Brighton with my husband and three children.

Writing is by nature a solitary pursuit and it is painfully easy to lose confidence in yourself. At the start of this year I set myself the task of entering some short story competitions to see if anyone actually liked what I wrote. During this process Harper Press decided to publish my novel, but I have still found writing short stories so enjoyable. The Momaya competition was the third one I entered, so being short listed was fantastic.

My future plans are to keep writing! I am working on a second novel and keep finding myself drawn to writing more short stories.

Kate McStavrick was born in Washington DC and traveled widely during her childhood. She has studied literature and creative writing in Hawaii, London, Paris and Belfast and currently lives and works in Northern Ireland with her husband and boxer-dog Ruby.

I had been reading Calvino’s Italian Folktales while my husband was watching a program about an infamous serial killer on the television and somehow what I was reading and half-hearing came together: I was inspired.

In a few choice words – thrilled to bits. I have been trying to get work published for the last year and just when I was about ready to give up, I received the news from Momaya Press. I’m encouraged that there are like-minded people out there who love the short story form. This publication has reinvigorated my efforts to write and reach readers.

I have been working on a collection of stories like this one, fairy tales inspired by true and horrific events. Once complete, I hope to have them published as a collection of tales to titillate and terrify!

Rebecca Steven

Having previously had a successful business career, I am now living in a beautiful part of rural mid Wales with my partner, who is a prolific artist. Always an avid reader, I went on to gain a first class honours degree in English literature and am now happily able to devote myself to writing full time.

It is very difficult to say what inspires me, I think, like so many, it is the world around me, my own life experiences and the people I have met. What really interests me is the minutiae of life, the subtle nuances that make us human and this is what I try to capture in my stories. I want to take the reader on a journey into the worlds of my characters; I want the reader to empathise enough with them in order to care about what happens to them.

I am thrilled to be given this opportunity by Momaya. To have one of my stories published so it can be read has given me great incentive and encouragement to continue in my capacity as a writer.

Through my love of short stories, I have written on a diversity of themes relating to the everyday elements of human life, which currently comprises of two collections. I am also in the process of completing my first novel and continuing with my collection of poetry.


Momaya Press guests relax after the ceremony

 

Published under theme of “Family”

Karen Corbett

After a career in the theatre as an actor and playwright, I began writing fiction in university and found it a blessed relief! My plays have been produced and several have toured Australia. I am currently finishing a PhD in playwriting at Melbourne University.

‘Holy Night’ is one of several short stories that I am crafting into a novel entitled ‘Eel Island’, which will be structured as a discontinuous narrative. I am trying to find a producer for my latest play, ‘Orphanage of the Animals’. Generally, I intend to enjoy writing and discover ways it can work with my ceramics and paintings.

Through a creative writing major at uni I found an outlet for my stories and those of my friends, which were very different to those of my fellow students. While my plays explore children’s experiences, mothering has been an abiding interest throughout my fiction, especially mothering in straightened circumstances. ‘Holy Night’ looks at one of many diverse stories of mothering.

Ironically, in the eight years of writing my PhD on playwriting, I feel as though I’ve fallen through the cracks as far as theatre goes. To be published by Momaya gives me hope that I still have a creative career and that there is an audience for the material.

Madi Hanekom is a newcomer to creative writing, having only succumbed to this wonderfully addictive escapism in early 2010. She lives in Pretoria, South Africa and is the director of The ME Corporation, a management consultancy that undertakes project management of large infrastructure projects, as well as offering business coaching and mentoring services. The Doll Maker, which will be published in the Momaya Press Annual Review 2010, is the second short story Madi has ever written but she has since been severely and decisively bitten by the creative writing bug as shown by the fact that she has over the last six months completed more than 14 short stories with themes ranging from good witches to the recycling of human beings (horror of horrors!) and love stories. She is an avid reader, loves traveling, music and gardening and has recently found a new hobby in tracing her family history. Her qualifications include business degrees – B. Comm. (Honors) Economics; MBA – and various other national and international certificates in project finance, negotiation skills, etc.

Writing The Doll Maker was not a story I chose – it chose me. I shed many tears as I wrote this story. It was part of a personal healing process and interweaves important threads from my past, the present and the future. The past: my emotional journey of dealing with the tremendous loss I experienced when my mother died two years ago – she was my mother, my best friend and my mentor – and she sewed many dresses for me and my sister when we were young girls, keeping all the off-cuts of material in bags. The present: my sister who is a semi-retired anesthetist and who sews the most beautiful rag dolls which she then gives as presents to underprivileged little girls – I have watched her sewing these dolls painstakingly by hand and know the many hours she puts into creating a perfect doll – what a wonderful and special gift. The future: knowing that out of adversity and loss there emerge deep personal growth and that special lessons are learnt during such periods which guide us to go forward in acceptance and hope.

Being published by Momaya Press: What an unexpected pleasure and my first taste of success in writing! It gave me such an incredible rush of wellbeing when I first saw my name short-listed and then to learn that my story will be published. WOOHOO!!

Future writing plans: I continue to write short stories at a great pace, submitting to both magazines and competitions, ever hopeful of further successful outcomes! I’m also planning to enter the Momaya 2011 short story competition and my mind is already churning around the theme of ‘Greed’ – such a delightfully wicked topic and one of the ever-present seven deadly sins! And eventually I would like to write that great novel……


Anthony Howcroft shares the inspiration for his story “Sibling Games”

 

Anthony Howcraft

Anthony is a writer and technology entrepreneur, and was one of the co-founders of a software company recently sold to Microsoft. His writing has been published in a variety of magazines including

Succour, Pestle, The London Magazine, Salt Publishing, Horizon Review, and Trespass. His short stories have appeared in collections as diverse as Leaf, Invisible Ink, and the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology and have been broadcast on BBC Radio and short-listed or awarded prizes in many of the mainstream competitions with the notable exception of the Bridport Prize in which he has failed miserably for several years. He has a Creative Writing Diploma from Oxford University and is married with one daughter and a Weimaraner dog that won’t let strangers touch her ears.

This is a very unusual story for me in that it is nakedly autobiographical. Like many writers I tend to mix characters and situations, using real-world observations and experiences in a blend that makes it hard to unravel fact from fiction even for those that know me very well. In Sibling Games I wrote the story as I remembered it, although with one twist in the perspective by looking at the scenario from a different person’s viewpoint. The events took place a long time ago but are still raw enough that I think this is the only story I’ve written that I couldn’t read aloud to an audience.

I was delighted to find out that I was being published in Momaya. This was my third attempt at getting into the anthology – I’m a great believer in perseverance! There’s a great feeling of accomplishment at seeing your work in print and the validation that comes from being selected by editors, readers and writers. Although this time the excitement is mixed with some nerves because the subject is so personal to me.

My hectic work schedule keeps me focused on the short story format, for now, and I have to admit that over time I have become more passionate about the short story. There is still (especially in the UK) a common perception of the short story as a lesser creature than the novel, and it is through energetic publishers like Momaya that we can help educate readers that have yet to discover the pleasure of this format. As a technology entrepreneur I felt compelled to set up a website called InkTears to help promote the short story and I intend to continue writing and publishing the work of short story specialists, and hope to launch my own collection of short stories in the next year.

David Malone is a recent research postgraduate from Liverpool. He has worked on board several international development projects around the world and is currently acting Director for Research at the Institute for Philanthropy in London. Mother’s Buoy is his third published short story.

Inspiration is a tricky thing to pin down, but I wrote Mother’s Buoy as my own small way of exploring the weight of family love and the contrasting lightness of free will – and the role this interplay has in determining ones life. It’s basically about the liberation of choice and the loneliness that comes with it. I’m a huge fan of Kundera’s method of adding something small and strange to the landscape to make an otherwise straightforward story vivid. Hopefully I haven’t messed it up.

I came out of the closet as a writer around a year ago and had no idea if I was deluding myself. I still have doubts, but I’m truly appreciate to the people at Momaya for seeing potential in my work. It’s better than breathing.

My plan is to hopefully gain a little time and creative headspace away from the hustle and bustle of London life with a place on a Creative Writing MA in 2011. Failing that, 2012, and so on…

Paul Marx

I’ve had a long career as a teacher of writing and literature. I’ve got an MFA in writing from the Iowa Writers Workshop. My big writing project there was a series of short stories, but in the many years since then most of my writing has been non-fiction. I got into the habit of writing op-eds, and many of them have been published in leading American newspapers. I’ve written a book on writing that I consider much more helpful to beginning writers than Strunk and White; it’s called The Modern Rules of Style. I’m currently finishing up a novel called Vermont Odyssey, about life on a Vermont commune back in counterculture days.

I had been living for several years with a woman I really cared about. She was a graphic artist, a fine artist, a seamstress, a carpenter. She could do a whole lot of things I could never imagine myself doing. I thought she was terrific. But then my mother died, and my 86-year-old father needed a home. M. and I lived by ourselves in a big four-bedroom house; we thought we could do it. But living in this house with an old man, we found out, was one thing M. could not do. A few years after we broke up, I wrote the story. Anyone who wants to communicate about this can reach me at pppmarx@comcast.net

Being published by Momaya is a great boost to my confidence as a fiction writer. The big things ahead are finishing and publishing Vermont Odyssey. I have high hopes for it. I’ve worked out a very different way of telling the story. The two main characters, a former army officer who served in Vietnam and a woman who was a fervent anti-Vietnam War activist, meet by chance fifteen years after the commune dissolved. In alternating chapters, they tell stories about life at the commune that the other was not aware of.

Jeda Pearl

The eldest of five, Jeda Pearl was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland by her Jamaican father and British mother. Put off writing at the age of twelve by a dismissive high school teacher, she tried to suppress it but would often find solace in her writing, particularly during her recent recovery from breast cancer. “It’s as if I’ve been lugging around a thin cardboard box of words that is now bursting at the seams. So now it’s time to cast my stories to the wind and see if anyone will catch them.”

There can be no denying The Apple Inspector is a personal outpouring. I wanted to look through the eyes of a young girl and try to grasp her experience of her mother’s breast cancer. I plucked a few of my own childhood memories and mixed them in with the strange logic and directness of kids, which I adore. And there was a girl on the train one time, the same age as my daughter but a little too wise to the world, who intrigued me and inspired the voice in this story.

I am overjoyed, yet still in disbelief. Being published on my first attempt has been life-changing. It has permitted me to “come out” with my writing. When I write, I feel quenched and now Momaya Press have given me the confidence to really go with it, this re-invention of myself.

Cancer has a way of slicing the frivolous layers off your life and clearing your vision. The endless hours spent inside my own head and creating fantasies was initially a great distraction. It is now a compelling urge, a need, possibly an awakening of sorts. I am enjoying the craft, challenge and freedom of short stories and I’ve been flooded with scraps of ideas which I am attempting to mop up into something worth telling. Who knows, I might even unearth a novel in the process.


The Nightingale hosted the Momaya Awards Dinner

Words from Authors Published in Past Editions

Kendare Blare, published 2007

“Taking second place in the Momaya Press 2007 Short Story Contest really started everything for me. After submitting for what seemed like forever, the literary world opened up, and in a very nice way! This was a contest with great judges, a fantastic-looking and reading anthology, and an event that was definitely worth driving a thousand miles for (my folks and I drove from Minnesota to Connecticut). What a thrill to read before such a warm and attentive audience.”

Kendare Blake lives and writes in the United States. Her first novel, Sleepwalk Society, a coming of age tale centering on four collegians, is to be released from PRA Publishing in July 2010. She also just signed a two-book deal with Tor, for a young adult horror novel, Anna Dressed in Blood, and it’s sequel, for release in Summer 2011. She may be contacted via her website, www.kendareblake.com.


Sheila Corbishley, Published in 2006 by Momaya Press

 

Sheila Corbishley, published 2006

Being published by Momaya was a great confidence booster. It was lovely to know that people liked my work enough not only to choose it for one of the winning stories, but to want to share it with others.

Since then I’ve been writing a children’s novel which has been ‘finished’ three times and is now undergoing a drastic re-write. In addition I’ve been writing short stories, some of which have been short-listed in competitions, others which have won. Last year I had four stories published in Woman’s Weekly Magazine, and earlier this year had a story performed at Northern Stage by members of the cast of “Oh What a Lovely War.” In September I came first in the Arts Advance short story competition.

I’m inspired by other writers, not only successful writers , but writers like me, who are still struggling and learning their craft. I am part of a wonderful, supportive group called SSWAG – the Seven Stories Artists and Writers Group – which is based at Seven Stories, the Centre for the Children’s Book the actual building is an inspiration in itself – an old warehouse beside the river, awash with water-light, packed with inventively displayed archives. I am also inspired by my two writing tutors, both poets. Kathleen Kenny and Ellen Phethean.

Vanessa Gebbie, Published 2004

In August 2004, whilst on holiday in Cornwall, I received an email from Monisha telling me that although there was not technically a Third Prize in the inaugural Momaya Press Award, the judges had made one for my short piece, “There Were Tigers”. I can’t remember why, now, but I entered under a pseudonym, Meredith Gee my middle name and initial. Embarrassment, I expect.

That encouraging Third Prize for which there was no budget, so no ‘prize’ other than kudos, a warm glow and of course publication in the first lovely Momaya anthology – was a real validation of my writing, and was the first in a succession of some 40 awards won over the next few years. Bridport, Fish, The Daily Telegraph, Guildford Book Festival, Per Contra (USA) to name a few, the winning stories ended up in my first collection, Words from a Glass Bubble (Salt Modern Fiction, 2008).

In 2009, Salt Publishing commissioned me to compile a guide [UTF-8?]to writing the short story, and the result is ‘Short Circuit’. A collection of twenty or so specially commissioned essays on craft and process of short fiction writing by well-published prize-winning writers, ‘Short Circuit’ is now on the reading lists of many University Creative Writing courses in the UK and abroad.

My second collection, ‘Storm Warning’ comes out in a few weeks, also from the lovely Salt Publishing. I teach a lot. A highlight this year has been taking ‘Short Circuit’ to Stockholm University. And finally, earlier this year I was awarded an Arts Council Grant for the Arts to work with the novelist Maggie Gee, polishing my first novel.

I never forget that this lovely journey all started here with Momaya Press. Thank you all so much. www.vanessagebbie.com

Tania Hershman, published 2008

Since winning third prize in the Momaya contest in 2008, which happened just after the publication of my first collection, The White Road and Other Stories, I have been spending most of my time involved in book promotion! Having a book is far more time consuming than anyone told me. Thrillingly, New Scientist included the book in its Best Books of 2008, and then it was commended by the judges of the 2009 Orange Award for New Writers. I have been writing a great deal of flash fiction and was Grand Prize Winner of the 2009 Binnacle Ultra-Short 150 word short story competition. In June of this year, Radio 4 broadcast a week of my flash fiction – 16 very short stories – in the Afternoon Reading slot. We moved from Israel to Bristol a year ago and I am now writer-in-residence in the Science Faculty at Bristol University. I have just been awarded an Arts Council grant for a collection of short stories inspired by spending time in the biology labs. I am also still editing The Short Review, the journal I founded which reviews short story collections and interviews authors.


Helen Hunt discusses her writing experiences

 

Helen Hunt, published 2007

Having my story ‘Shredding The Label’ published by Momaya Press was a very significant moment for me. It was my first fiction publication and I was so thrilled to see it featured alongside the work of other writers who I admired. Since then I have continued to write short stories and also short non-fiction pieces. I have been fortunate to be published by magazines such as My Weekly, Woman’s Weekly, Writers’ Forum and This England.

My love of reading has led me to become involved with a book review blog, Bookersatz (http://bookersatz.blogspot.com ), and I now write a number of book reviews as well as my short stories and articles.

In future I plan to keep writing short stories and articles and also to complete a novel. I will always be grateful to Momaya for giving me the boost I needed to keep going in the early days.

My blog, Fiction Is Stranger Than Fact (http://fictionisstrangerthanfact.blogspot.com ) is about the ups and downs of writing, reading and owning four cats.

Joleen Kupyer, published 2006

I write, quite simply, because I sometimes feel like there are words sprouting inside me that must come out somehow, and if I don’t turn them into a story, I might burst or go mad.

As for inspiration – well, it is everywhere. The story published by Momaya Press was inspired by the graffiti of bored teenagers. I have been inspired by people, animals, places, plants – the list is pretty much endless. I do tend to write dark stories, mostly, so I suppose the darker side of humanity, the psychology of desperation, is a big inspiration for me.

Since 2006 I have had some periods where I wrote a lot, and others where I hardly wrote at all for months; some periods where I would enter every competition and seek out calls for submission and others where I would write and not dare show it to anyone or even read it again personally. Myself and two other writers published an anthology of dark stories and poems called Casting Shadows, and some of my short stories will appear in various horror anthologies over the coming months. I try really hard to keep my blog updated, http://joleenkuyper.blogspot.com/ though I expect that with a new baby it might be harder to do so this Winter!

Being published in the Momaya Annual Review 2006 was a great confidence booster at a time I really needed one, as a writer. After all, I might write to stop myself going mad – but at times, unless others read my stories and tell me otherwise, I might look over them and think I’ve already crossed that line! Stories should be shared, whenever possible, and as a writer therefore I like to know that my work is read.

Alan McClure, published in 2006

After being published in Momaya in 2006 my writing was rather interrupted by a change of career (I’m now a primary school teacher) and the arrival of my second son. In the last year or so, however, I’ve got back to work: I’ve had extracts from a satire of folk medicine published in Edinburgh literary magazine Scree, with more to follow in online journal Textualities. This work is written under the pseudonym Hugo Undershin and is ongoing, entertainingly silly and quite well received, apparently. I also rediscovered my love of the short story and have submitted a piece called ‘The Initiate’ for publication in New Writing Scotland. My most ambitious project, however, has been a novel aimed at young teens: provisionally titled ‘The Choices of Molly Fortune’, it traces an 8-year-old girl’s immersion in a futuristic school where adults are forbidden and a sinister simulation called Pan is the children’s only guide. I’m currently looking for representation for this work, which I anticipate being the first part of a trilogy. It’s been fantastically good fun to write and has reminded of the sheer joy of weaving a yarn with words on paper.

Cally Taylor, published 2008

I was utterly delighted to be published by Momaya. When I first started writing short stories I compiled a list of literary competitions that I wanted to be placed in, and published by, and Momaya was right up there in the top five. I was doubly delighted because I was particularly fond of my story and felt like it had found its perfect home.

In 2008 I wrote my first novel, a supernatural romantic-comedy called “Heaven Can Wait”. It was published by Orion in October 2009 and was voted the best Debut Novel of the Year by chicklitreviews.com and chicklitclub.com. I’m currently completing the edits for my second novel, this time a straight romantic-comedy called “Happiness Ever After”. It will be published in September 2011.

I’m inspired by my emotional response to events in my life and the world at large. If something amuses, touches or hurts me it seems to spark something inside me that makes me want to put pen to paper. I try and challenge myself too with short stories, it was to get published in certain journals and anthologies and now, with novels, I’m trying out different structures and points of view. Regardless of whatever I’m writing I’m always motivated by the urge to become a better writer.

Deborah Thomas, Published 2004

 

 

 

Photos, Videos & Speeches from previous Momaya Press Awards:

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