Now is the busy time. Now is the time when I, watcher of the inbox, keeper of the all-seeing database and distributor of the missives, will be dealing with tens if not hundreds (well, probably not quite hundreds) of emails a day. So this blog entry will have to be quick.
For it is on this coming weekend, on the twenty-ninth day of the month of February, that the entries close for the Scottish Arts Trust Short Story Competition 2020, the first one in which Booker-nominated Andrew O’Hagan replaces Sandy McCall Smith as head judge. So, as writers and artists alike are wont to leave things to the last minute, it’s once more a case of apres moi le deluge. No marriage proposals from desperate lassies, but a shedload of stories from wannabe authors.
As Saturday is also the fifty-fifth birthday of Italian composer Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868), I do hope I can find time to rustle up a quick plate of his eponymous tournedos, but them stories should be coming in thick (and I do mean thick, in a few cases) and fast.
The competition closes at midnight. The first year I did this (2015!), there was the now usual flurry in the closing minutes. I responded to all entrants, to confirm we had their stories safe and sound, logged them all in the spreadsheet, and made myself a cup of decaf, with which to wind down in front of some mindless telly before bed and sleeping the sleep of the sleepy.
At about two thirty I went to switch off the computer, just as another entry came in.
You’re too late, sunshine, I thought, preparing to stick the entry in the reject folder and pocket their tenner to spend on riotous living. Then I saw the address in New England. Still Feb 28 there, wasn’t it?
So I awoke the morrow morn wondering if someone in Kiribati or the Aleutian Islands was likely to enter, as they had until noon our time.
The closing date is now set to midnight, UK time!
Which means you still have three days to enter. If you fancy yourself as a writist, and have an unpublished shortie lying around, or can rattle off a new one by then, why not go to the short story website and give it a go? Up to 2,000 words on any topic you like. Ten British pounds per story and a top prize of £1,000.
Don’t worry, I’m not allowed to enter, being the award-winning admin wallah, so the competition won’t be that stiff.
But I see an Aussie entry in my inbox. No rest for the wicked…