The £50 first prize winner of the 

Earlyworks Press

Myth & Legend Competition

Jonathan Pinnock

His story, 'Nature's Banquet', will take first place in the planned anthology, 'Old Magic in a New Age'.

The runners up are listed below, along with tasters of their work, which will be a published in full in the anthology...

Nature's Banquet

by Jonathan Pinnock

You can smell it in the air, can’t you? Blossom in the trees, dew on the meadow grass and the pungent whiff of steamy cowpats. Spring, and the world has come out of hibernation. And God, isn’t this a good place to be in the bright early morning? Just you and Bonzo and Nature. Christ knows, you needed to get away from everything in the City right now. Away from all that fakery and bullshit. This is the real deal...

Click here to Read More

Buddha Girl

by Leah Armstead


     Seed syllables sanctify ordinary life,
     but only if you believe it is so.
     A lotus flower is what's lovely in you,

    
and like you the lotus rose from darkness.
     Your eyes softly close on the wooden beads 
     of a rosary when you sleep. It is more than wood


     to you, more than beads linked on a string;
     as are the swanning, star-struck clouds
     flowing on the streams of an auspicious moon. 

     Demons and beasts may be imperishable
     but your heart perishes over and over
     seeking release from beats strung on dust. 

     You are the ash-pale devotee of release.
     Your prayers are perfect jeweled rings of gold
     stolen by the keepers of the graves.

extract

from      Seven Maidens Dancing


by
Anne Ayres



...And now I was standing on the exposed hillside waiting for her to catch me up. She looked like the rebel on a school outing with her skin-tight jeans, skimpy top and those ridiculously dainty shoes. Her face was pink with the exertion of the climb. This wasn’t the sort of exercise you got at the gym. I noticed she was still wearing the false eyelashes that gave her the look of a startled fawn. I sighed and turned away; everything about her annoyed me...

extract

from       Begun In Innocence

by Edna Eglinton


   I coveted the cherished trinket of a neighbour’s 
   child and fixed the weight of my desire upon 
   its gaudy shine, until that child approached me 
   willingly, the blue translucent bauble 
   in her outstretched hand. Take it - she said – 
   it’s yours now since you want it so. I took it, 
   held it, loved it, drew from it a power
   that led me step by step down twisted ways;
   a power that gained me prizes, let me believe 
   it was my right to seize what I desired.
   So as I grew I gathered other people’s loves
   and thought them mine...

extract

from                   The Ash Lady

by A.J. Humphrey

You think I can’t see you sloping off into the night like that. I’m asleep, you presume, where I can’t do any mischief. The house is quiet: my daughters at the ball, the servants enjoying a night of freedom. But you really should have thought about this more carefully, Sarah. How could a gilded coach with white stallions and footmen appear outside the walls and not attract my attention?

I’m always watching you, if only you knew it. I’ve watched you grow up, the girl who has everything. You’re the prettiest girl in the city; that tongue of yours can silence me with a single word some days; and don’t get me started on the size of the trust fund your father left. Next to you, my own two daughters are plain and slow. They have to make do with home-made dresses and their mother for a lady-in-waiting...

To find out more about A J Humphrey's work

 visit his website...

extract

from              One. Two. Three.

by Bryan Martin



Once I have got to the place I don’t mind taking my top stuff off. I just grab hold of the bottom of my jumper and T shirt all together and lift them up and pull my head out and that feels all right. It feels the way it should be. But I feel funny when I am taking my trousers and pants and socks off. I never really like that and I don’t like the way I have to stand on one leg to do it. It feels too real. I wish I could just pull everything all off in one go and be standing there ready straight away. But there is no getting round it, really, when I do the thing...

extract

from                     Swan Heart

by Jess Richards

In this town the church is on the floor on top of the library. Hymns are sung above a graveyard of carefully hand picked books. My friend Nessi borrowed a dictionary of witches and faeries. Her mother was phoned by the head librarian who told her to fix a closer eye on her daughter. She didn’t tell her she borrowed it for me. That I secretly asked her to help me find out about wings and why they grew on humans. We couldn’t find the answer anyway.

Men demand to buy us girls a drink. We tell them no, they get angry and foul mouthed. We back down. When they’ve bought it they think we’re theirs for the night and punch walls if we say no to that as well. Hands with skinned knuckles can be far too persuasive. I think we should all just start charging them money, make it more honest...

extract

from            Pendine Remembered

by Sarah Thomasin

His elder sister waited for the tide.
She sulked. And, feeling robbed of precious time,
And forced to watch her brother dodge and hide
Among the rocks she’d told him not to climb,
Coating his shirt in dark, organic slime
That she’d be blamed for, called to him, and lied.

Her little brother never knew she lied:
His clever sister understood the tide,
Did algebra, and knew why slugs made slime -
He trusted her pronouncements every time.
She’d showed him starfish, taught him how to climb.
And what she said now made him want to hide...

extract

from         Open Mic Apollo


by Thérèse Whitelock


As soon as the Sun God appeared on the dusty stage, my journalistic neutrality left the building. Before he sung a note I knew I was in trouble.

 
He was only a boy but he locked eyes with the jaded musos in that Camden pub and subjugated them. It had been one rough night, all bunny hopping power chords and tearful acoustic picking, so Apollo’s brutal command provoked an expectant silence... 

Standing Stone

 

by Sheila Wild

 

                         What could be stiller

                         than the hare 

                         crouched at the foot

                         of the menhir?

NB  The copyrights of all works displayed on this site remain with their creators.  No works may be copied off the site by any method or for any purpose without the prior, written permission of the writers and illustrators named here as their creators.

 

Here are two contenders for the cover illustration...

myth anthology cover - sunset  myth anthology cover - swan

And here's the one we finally went for...

Details of the anthology 'Old Magic in a New Age' are on our Publications Page now.

Click here for the launch

And here are some of the pictures that inspired the works... 

Caves of Ice and Fire  

Picture: Caves of Ice and Fire © 2008 Rainbowstrand

 

 

Three Muses  

Picture: Three Muses © 2008 Cathy Edmunds

 

 

Tree  

Picture: Tree  © 2008 Cathy Edmunds

 

 

Castlerigg  

Picture: Castlerigg © 2008 Cathy Edmunds

 

 

Pendine Monster

Picture: Pendine Monster © 2008 Marilyn Francis

 

Pendine Monsters

Picture: Pendine Monsters © 2008 Marilyn Francis

 

 

 

 

NB  The copyrights of all works displayed on this site remain with their creators.  No works may be copied off the site by any method or for any purpose without the prior permission of the individual creators.

sky dagger

Picture: © 2008 David Urion

 

 

magpie 

Picture: © 2008 David Urion

 

 

stone sun and moon

Picture: © 2008 David Urion

 

 

sad witch by Rose Mai

Picture: © 2008 Rose Mai

 

last house by Rose Mai

Picture: © 2008 Rose Mai

 

elfen brook by Rose Mai

Picture: © 2008 Rose Mai

About the Artists

Rainbowstrand (Picture 1) photographer and graphic designer, has created several covers for Earlyworks Press. 

See Rainbowstrand's  Royal Pictoria Gallery.

Cathy Edmunds (Pictures 2, 3, 4) Catherine Edmunds is an established artist and illustrator who has provided the cover art for a number of Earlyworks Press and Circaidy Gregory Press publications, including her own poetry collection, wormwood, earth and honey. Her illustrations – including exploding dogs, baboons in electric chairs, quills inserted into veins, and rotting toads – can be seen in Daniel Abelman's ALLAKAZZAM (BeWrite Books) and the shortly to be released Anomalous Appetites (Ed. John Irvine). She is also in demand as a portrait artist, as she resists the temptation to make her sitters’ heads explode or melt.

Marilyn Francis (Pictures 5) is an occasional photographer of ill-considered monstrosities, is also a writer of poetry, short stories and disgusted-Tunbridge-Wells letters to The Guardian Review and the London Review of Books. She has been published in various Earlyworks Press anthologies and has a forthcoming poetry collection to be published by Circaidy Gregory Press in 2009.

David Leslie Urion (Pictures 6, 7) was born on the North Wales border in 1959. He has a BA (Hons) degree in Youth and Community Education from the University of Wales in Wrexham and has held a whole host of varied and challenging jobs since leaving school, some more enjoyable and long-lasting than others obviously, but all providing unique learning experiences; Farm hand, engineering draughtsman, police officer, forklift truck driver, youth and community worker, garden designer, translator, book salesman, football coach, tour guide, foreign language teacher … He has lived a nomadic life in the North Wales Borderlands and South Yorkshire and is now happily settled with his Spanish family, Maria and Eva on the Spanish Mediterranean coast. This lifestyle and the memories and emotions experienced are reflected in the wide range of his short stories, digital photography and poetry collections featuring inspiration from the multitude of environmentally and ethnically different locations where he has lived or felt `at home´ throughout a happy, contented and interesting life.

Rose Mai (Pictures 9. 10) writer, artist and photographer Rose Mai is at present living and working in Spain. You can see more of her work in the Earlyworks Press Illustrators' Gallery.

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