Odd Voice Out
We are now just one month away from the release of our first anthology collection, showcasing the Top Ten entries of our 'Not So Normal Narrators' short story competition. So in these next two blog posts, we're letting our finalists introduce themselves in their own words. These talented writers have been a pleasure to work with and we can't wait to share their stories. But in the meantime, let's share a little about who they are and what they're about. Five more coming soon!
'For Hugo' author Tonia Markou (Second Place)
Tonia Markou is a Greek-German polyglot and globetrotter with an unhealthy obsession for stationery, mugs, pajamas and Chuck Taylors. Her short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in 50-Word Stories, Dime Show Review, Youth Imagination, Corvid Queen and little somethings press. She’s currently editing her first novel. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Medium at @toniawrites.
'The Silence Rock' author Mary Ball Howkins (Third Place)
Mary Ball Howkins uses her experiences as a wildlife volunteer in southern African countries to write stories that herald the daily successes of young Africans against difficult odds. These odds can be resistance to cultural change, snake bite, lions killing family livestock, drought, famine, and forced marriage, among others. She mostly focusses on rural village life while also setting stories in Cape Town and Nairobi.
Mary Ball Is an art historian who has come to writing late in her career and after first volunteering in Namibia for desert-adapted elephants, then in Zimbabwe and South Africa, and after visiting other regions of Africa. She finds delight in the inventive language constructions Africans create when they speak English. Their language structures, a combination of their own dialect and English learned in school and conversation, often verge on splendid metaphor, figures of speech in which she takes great pleasure and adapts in her stories. Her goal as a writer is linked to her life-long role as educator. She hopes to inform non-African readers of all ages about the challenges African youth face in their villages.
'Size of Rice' author Sabah Carrim (Finalist)
Sabah has authored two novels, namely Humeirah and Semi-Apes, both set in Mauritius where she was born.
Her short stories have been shortlisted and published in various competitions organised internationally by Commonwealth Writers, Goethe Institute South Africa, and recently by the Bristol Short Story Prize. Her nonfiction was also a semi-finalist in the Gabriele Rico Challenge for Creative Nonfiction, and is scheduled for publication in an upcoming issue of Reed Magazine.
Sabah was invited to be judge of the African Short Story Award, as well as to deliver the keynote speech on Cultural Stereotypes in African Literature at the African Writers Festival held in Nairobi in 2019.
Sabah is also a law lecturer, and holds a PhD in Genocide Studies and Prevention, with a focus on the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge era.
'Imago' author Jack Bumby (Finalist)
Jack is a writer living and working in Greater Manchester. He studied Creative Writing at Edge Hill University, during which time he won the LoveSexTravelMusik competition organised by author Rodge Glass, with his short story ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice?’. Since leaving university, he has placed second in a scriptwriting competition at Tyldesley Little Theatre and self-published a collection of short stories with fellow writers, titled ‘The Torment of Thomas Farriner’.
Currently, he is an avid reviewer and spends a lot of time contributing to his blog, ‘My Creative Ramblings’. He is working on a novel and has recently begun a Master’s degree in Creative Writing.
'Anchor' author Colby Wren Fierek (Finalist)
Colby is a third-year student at the University of Worcester, currently attempting a degree in Creative Writing and Screenwriting. Living in rural Shropshire, they naturally like to write about unconventional family dynamics, inner-city class tensions, and contemporary queer teenagers being good and cool. Their favourite things include loud, terrible punk music and hideous pests like raccoons and possums.
When they’re not writing, they like to acquire pointless musical trivia-their favourite Fun Fact being that former lead singer for The Vapors, Dave Fenton, now works as a solicitor for the Musicians Union. Their other Key Skill is being able to recall the location of every Jiggy from Rare’s 1998 platforming classic, Banjo-Kazooie (but not Banjo-Tooie. Please don’t ask them to do that). They’re even attempting narrative design for their own exploration, story-type game, about trains in the early 80s. They promise it’s a lot more interesting than it sounds.
Their next big project is to start writing a historical novel centred around the lives of a group of working-class youths in 1970s London. You might’ve heard of one of them. Some kid called Todd Reynard. Who knows what happened to him?