Winners – Poetry
1st : Seven Ages of Man, by Fran Weerts
2nd: Seven Stages of Life, by Jackie Fairon
3rd : The Seven Ages of Mary Beth, by Jenny Young
Limericks are fun, risqué, short and to the point. A classic limerick consists of five lines, rhyming aabba, with the “a” lines having three beats, and the “b” lines having two. The last line should contain the punchline and rhyme with first/second lines. There are variants, but as long as the basic rhythm remains constant, they are acceptable. Limericks date back to 1755 and were originally called ‘nonsense verse’.
A famous limerick writer was Edward Lear, who used a nom-de-plume, Derry Down Derry, to publish a book called “A Book of Nonsense” which was reprinted in 1846 under the name of Edward Lear. A competition, run by Punch Magazine asked readers to send in nonsense verse about a named geographical location, which is where Limerick comes in as people complained that it was impossible to find a rhyme for the town of Limerick in Ireland. However, it took forty years before the name ‘Limerick’ was used to describe a nonsense verse.
Nonsense verses were used as a form of entertainment in local pubs, which is why they were often bawdy. An excellent book is “The Lure of the Limerick—An Uninhibited History” written by William S. Baring-Gould, published in 1967. This book gives the reader a complete picture of the limerick with examples of the work of Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, and many more.
I congratulate the people who entered this competition but, as always, some people did not research limericks and sent in entries bearing no resemblance to limericks at all.
- First place shone out immediately: everything was correct, and it was easy to give this honour to “Seven Ages of Man”, by Fran Weerts.
- Second place, also correct with humour and balance, goes to “Seven Stages of Life”, by Jackie Fairon.
- It was hard to decide between third and second place (almost a tie), but a well-deserved third place was awarded to “The Seven Ages of Mary Beth”, by Jenny Young.
There is no highly commended.
All the winners understood the limerick format and I was entertained by all three entries.
Unfortunately, it went downhill from there.
I encourage all entrants to read my individual critiques, to not be disheartened, and to keep on entering competitions as this is how we improve our craft.
Thank you for the opportunity to judge the entries.
Winners – Flash Fiction
- Angelique Pacheco—All the World’s a Stage – Entrances and Exits
- Bettina Calder—Smile for the Camera
- Jenny Young—Dinosaur Stage
- Highly Commended: Gaia Cosmos—All the World’s a Stage
Judge’s Report – Flash Fiction
Thanks to the South African Writer’s Circle for the opportunity of reading these works. I thoroughly enjoyed the tales, interesting ideas and variety of characters.
It is not easy to breathe life into a story and keep it constrained to a mere 400 words. Successful flash fiction is an art form – and seeing it done so successfully by the competition entrants was impressive.
The topic allowed people to explore some fascinating concepts, deep existential questions and (no doubt) let their alter egos run wild. It appears there may even be one or two potential “Dexters” within the ranks, so be careful who you turn your back on…
On the whole, the writing was good. Self-editing is often a major challenge for anyone who writes – we don’t always see the small mistakes and inconsistencies which are so obvious to others. But that’s why we edit, edit, edit…and then edit again. In a few instances I was conscious of wanting more carefully constructed dialogue to advance the plot and reveal the main characters motives – rather than have the writer “telling” me how it is.