Telling my Granddad I Like Girls

Nadia Lines


The truth lines my throat like a cold.
My round mouthed nan is being
mildly homophobic in that

product-of-their-time kind of way.
My granddad leans to me, a willow
arching over a river, and whispers

‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol
is the saddest poem I’ve ever read.’
‘Yes,’ I say ‘Yes’.


Nadia Lines is a nineteen-year-old poet from Hertfordshire. She is currently reading English at the University of Cambridge. She was a 2019 Foyle Young Poet of the Year, and a winner of the 2019 Orwell Youth Prize and the 2020 Tower Poetry Competition. She loves Keats.

The Lost Art of Staring into Fires

Georgia Hilton


When we were kids, we practised this:
the lost art of staring into fires.

There was no need to break the silence
– no one said, ‘hey kid, what you up to?’

it was obvious we were staring into fires.
Watching coals collapsing into embers

is the only lesson in mortality I ever needed.


Georgia Hilton is an Irish poet and fiction writer, now living in Winchester, England. She is published widely in magazines and anthologies and has a pamphlet, I went up the lane quite cheerful (2018) and a collection, Swing (2020), both with Dempsey and Windle. Georgia lives with her husband and three children, and tweets sometimes (@GGeorgiahilton). 

When You Speak

Adeleke Deborah


and when you speak to the woman
who weaved a basket of history
with the strands of her ancestor’s hair,
she will tell you about the masquerades
with bleeding gums who found science
in their ritual of burning flesh
with woods thralled by strange fires
she will tell you about the virulent gods
who spoke and made gestures with magma,
ashes, chaos, yoked in the sprout of winds.


Adeleke Deborah is a Nigerian writer and teacher. She is passionate about using her artistic skill as a tool for change and impact. Her work has appeared in Okada books. Find her on Instagram (@debbyhife).

Steel City

Creana Bosac


Son of an immigrant,
my grandfather worked in
the steelworks of Sheffield,
white heat paring his frame
to sparseness, sharp angles.

A proud man, foreign-tall,
hallmarked with honesty
and shining with kindness,
day by day he forged the
steel of my heritage.


Creana Bosac hails from the UK, where she has worked as an Open University Associate Lecturer and now edits and writes creative writing critiques. Since joining a writing group last year, she has had a number of pieces published and has authored a guide to giving and receiving feedback.

Oranges

Khushi Bajaj


My family tree sprawls over the forest 
Where the fruit grows pre-segmented
Clinging to the branches with a tight grip
Split from the centre, hoping
That the tree which grew it this way
Will make up for the empty core
By clinging back to it.
Suspended mid-air, it hasn’t yet decided
That it would rather let go than stay sour.


Khushi Bajaj is a multilingual poet and writer from Lucknow, India. Her work has previously been featured in two anthologies published by Penguin Random House (India) and on the platforms of Gaysi Family and Feminism in India

Briefly Write Poetry Prize 2021 – Results

Wow.

The inaugural Briefly Write Poetry Prize has been a joy to judge. We read amazing poems about love, despair and confusion; books, bridges and bones; treasure, tears and trees; grapes, onions and… oranges.

We were honoured to receive 1,412 entries and thoroughly enjoyed reading all of them. We had to make agonising decisions to draw up the longlist – we let go of some amazing poems well worthy of recognition and reward.

We are therefore immensely proud to share below our selection of winning and commended poems, along with the names of our longlisted poets. The best entries were subtly powerful and powerfully subtle.

Poems, like moments, are transitional and ephemeral; they are both self-contained houses and doors leading to the unknown. Each winning, commended or longlisted poem is a snapshot of a moment or a moment of a snapshot. Each line is an invitation to a new word or world, as well as the ending of an old one.

We hope you’ll agree with all our choices… but acknowledge you probably won’t. Personal taste is a wonderful thing. And poetry is a conversation. We would love to hear what you think – reflections on the poems, discussion of themes or styles, congratulations to the winning poets – in the comments below.

The Briefly Write Poetry Prize will return next year. We hope you’ll submit a poem or join us again to read (and listen to) the winning pieces. Once again, the size of the prize fund will be determined by how many donations we receive. We don’t make any money out of Briefly Write – all donations go directly towards website costs and paying writers!

Thank you again for your interest and support. We hope you enjoy making these poetic discoveries as much as we did.

Dream big, write briefly,

Daniel & Elinor


WINNER

Khushi Bajaj, ‘Oranges’


RUNNERS-UP

Creana Bosac, ‘Steel City’

Adeleke Deborah, ‘When You Speak’

Georgia Hilton, ‘The Lost Art of Staring into Fires’

Nadia Lines, ‘Telling my Granddad I Like Girls’

Ilias Tsagas, ‘Waterloo & City’


COMMENDED

Faiz Ahmad, ‘At the Burial’

Virginia Boudreau, ‘By the Potting Shed’

Martin Heavisides, ‘Insect Life’

Tamanda Kanjaye, ‘Paper Dolls’

CB McCall, ‘Thistles in August’

Eamonn McKeon, ‘It’s Too Late to be Asleep’

Valerie Nieman, ‘Girl at the Beach’


LONGLIST

Lynn Aprill, ‘Anthem for the Year’
Shalom Galve Aranas, ‘Flight of the Manananngal’
Gaynor Beesley, ‘An Unscheduled Stop at Dovey Junction’
Tammana Begum, ‘Where do we belong?’
Thomas Brezing, ‘Strands’
Eleni Cay, ‘Air lyrics’
Corinne Clark, ‘Tuesday, closing’
Shirley Anne Cook, ‘Needle’
Andreea Finichiu, ‘Untitled’
Patrick Green, ‘Give Us One’
Jan Harris, ‘Anish Kapoor’s Sky Mirror at Houghton Hall’
Lewis Hedges, ‘Becalm’
Rachel Jung, ‘On Digging a Hole’
Ben Keatinge, ‘Homecoming’
Miodrag Kojadinović, ‘August 1968 Afternoon Break in Eastern Serbia, in 3 haiku’
Lori Levy, ‘Under it All’
Gavin Lumsden, ‘Kinetic’
Kathryn Anna Marshall, ‘There are many more dogs in the woods these days’
Louise Mather, ‘The Shape of Blossom’
Caitlin Bianca Mathey, ‘Two Seconds, and Then You Want To Sit Down’
Cholena Maurer, ‘birthdays with my father’
Tony McAndrew, ‘Bridges’
Elisabeth Otocka, ‘The Interlude’
Jennifer Patino, ‘I Recognized Her By Her Housecoat’
Claudio Perinot, ‘Heuristics’
Stephanie Powell, ‘Dighton Street’
Audrey L. Reyes, ‘A Minute in Our City’
Arya Sharma, ‘Bare Your Bones’
Richard Simpson, ‘Stretcher Duty’
Jeff Skinner, ‘August’
Maya Stott, ‘blue’
Sally Jane Tate, ‘The Falling Man’
Steven Taylor, ‘Seven’
Liz Verlander, ‘Brumous’
Binny Yadav, ‘Wisdom Springs’
Intigam Yashar, ‘All the covert rooms’


Competition homepage: https://brieflywrite.com/poetry-prize/

Support Briefly: https://ko-fi.com/brieflywrite

‘Write 10, Win 10’ 2021

A huge thank you to everyone who submitted to our inaugural micro competition. We received 116 entries and thoroughly enjoyed reading all of them. Entries were read anonymously by a panel of four judges.

We were treated to an inspiring mix of discoveries: everything from witches, treasure hunters, weddings, gods and new books to space, presents, mirrors, moons and murderers.

After many hours of deliberation, we are delighted to reveal that the winner is Rebecca Kinnarney. Rebecca’s story stood out for its humour, clever construction and inventive take on the theme.

The following writers made the shortlist: Laura Besley, Mandira Pattnaik, William Davis, Jessica Klimesh, Ruth Callaghan do Valle, Susy Churchill, Linda Sejung Park, Rita Lazaro and Gunnar De Winter. They all managed to tell a full story in ten words, hiding layers of meaning beneath the surface.

You can read our 10 selected stories below.


WINNER (£10)

10th January. One mince pie left. It must be love.

Rebecca Kinnarney


SHORTLIST

Letters unearthed. “Dad’s dead, you said.” “Sorry, love” Mum whispered.

Laura Besley


Childhood friend. Shared bed, dreams. Got married. Discovered a stranger.

Mandira Pattnaik


we sailed amongst the unnamed latitudes trading words for home

William Davis


Fumble for glasses, lamp. Open door to crickets singing summer.

Jessica Klimesh


Explorar: Explore / Exploit – An isthmus in ink – In Brazil landlessness

Ruth Callaghan do Valle


He emptied drawers, dispatched belongings. Every space revealed her face.

Susy Churchill


In bulging bags of homemade food, I found her heart.

Linda Sejung Park


Blue Light. Human gone. Empty bowl. Cat affronted. Now alone.

Rita Lazaro


“Look,” said grandfather, “endless worlds await.” He opened the book.

Gunnar De Winter


Judges’ notes:

  • The quality was exceptionally high. From our longlist of 30, we had a hard time getting down to a shortlist of 10.
  • The winner and shortlisted entries all told a story. It didn’t matter whether this was a grand tale of adventure or a tiny snapshot of a moment; each one narrated a full story in 10 words.
  • The best stories adhered closely to the theme, but perhaps approached ‘discovery’ from a less obvious angle.
  • It was important not to waste any words. Some promising stories that made the longlist were dropped on the basis of a single word that felt forced or out of place.
  • Clever use of punctuation made some stories stand out. Breaking up the 10 words allowed them to go further.