June 2017 Travel Article – Judge’s Report


It goes without saying that every judge approaches their task differently and, inevitably, each judges entries from their own perspective, and according to their own tastes. So another judge might have come up with a completely different list of winners to those I have chosen. Entrants should, therefore, take comfort from the fact that in another ‘court’ the verdict might have been completely otherwise. Never lose heart – just keep ploughing onward.

The writing standard, on the whole, was high, though some entrants were somewhat slack in their presentation and grammar. It is possible English is not their first language and if that is the case, they have done admirably. I then apologise for ‘nit-picking.’

The topic allowed the writers an opportunity to let their imaginations take wing. I am not sure whether some of the articles were genuine crits of places which, if they do exist, clearly should long ago have locked their front doors, while their owners retired to lick their wounded egos and hopefully learn from their misdemeanours!

I would imagine, though, that in many cases writer’s licence was freely exercised. This genre opens a positive Pandora’s Box of wicked and fun possibilities. Many of the competition entrants seem to have availed themselves of an opportunity to be creative, and spit venom happily; someone using a sharp turn of phrase can never be accused of being dull.

‘The Little Red Dot’ is a straight-forward critique, beautifully written, and bound to beckon anyone who reads it to sample the delights of Singapore at the first opportunity. By the same context, ‘Cheap Thrill Chills’ and ‘An Icy Breath in the Empire of the Dead’ can either lure or deter any would-be visitor to unusual attractions. While some might shudder in horror and keep their money in their wallet, others will be happy to fork out and revel in the consequences.

I feel every writer approached their task from a slightly different angle, and there were some delightful twists in their various tales. Some had certainly applied their minds.

That said, my choice of winners ….

First: ‘Hells Bells! An unholy adventure’ : for its sheer cleverness. The writer’s approach – a critique about the shortcomings of Hell, expressed by a human soul despatched there for a short sojourn is delightful. The juxtaposition of God’s response, pointing out the lessons to be learned, makes this piece both amusing and clever. (I would love to meet this writer!)

Second: ‘The Little Red Dot’ : for painting a vivid portrait of Singapore’s tourist attractions. Good descriptive writing is always a drawcard.

Third: ‘Trouble in Paradise’ : for a different take on how one can be affected when nature runs amock. The writer’s exploring how it played on her psyche elevated this piece.

Commended: ”Review of Fox and Hound Inn’ : I toyed with putting this in third place. It seemed a standard review, but the final paragraph elevated it into a very unusual take on the subject. Sadly, the grammatical errors which dot the article weighed against it.

Myrtle Ryan.
Retired reporter, Sunday Tribune, Durban, but still writing travel articles, both local and international, on a free-lance basis.