Wednesday, 4 December 2013

SENTINEL PUBLICATIONS ACTION FOCUS TIME

We have put aside everything else to focus the next seven days on Sentinel publications. Our scheduling has been a right mess lately to be quite honest. Therefore over the next 7 days, we will be working with our distributors to ensure that all books and magazines ordered are on their way to the buyers. We shall also be pushing our Christmas special offers.

 

We are truly humbled by the fact that despite the delay in publishing Sentinel Literary Quarterly, subscriptions have continued to come in from the UK, the United States and especially South Africa. We can't let down such faith people have in Sentinel. We appreciate the overwhelming support we have continued to receive.

 

So far today we have dispatched many copies of "The Genesis of Falcon", "First Flame" - the short fiction collection by Bruce Harris, and various back issues of Sentinel Literary Quarterly, and Sentinel Champions. If you are waiting for your order, we will get to it inside this focus week and dispatch it.

 

If you have any queries please shoot them in. We can guarantee a reply within 24 hours - not the 72 hours our mail confirmation says.

 

E-mail: nnorom.azuonye@sentinelpoetry.org.uk | sentinel@sentinelpoetry.org.uk | publisher@spmpublications.com | competitions@sentinelpoetry.org.uk | editor@sentinelquarterly.com

 

All of these emails are manned. Sandra, Jacob and I are standing by to deal with any issues.

 

Want to talk? Call me on 07812 755 751 or 0870 127 1967. If the lines are busy, leave a message and somebody will call you back.

 

All the best

Nnorom Azuonye

Sentinel Writing & Publishing Company Ltd

Monday, 2 December 2013

Sentinel Annual Poetry & Short Story Competitions 2013 Closing Date Extension

Further to changes already reflected on our website, we make this further announcement that the closing date for the Sentinel Annual Poetry & Short Story Competitions 2013 has been extended to the 21 December, 2013.

 

We have already received hundreds of entries for both poetry and short story categories. This extension of closing date will give more writers the time to enter and make the contests fiercer.

 

SENTINEL ANNUAL POETRY & SHORT STORY COMPETITIONS 2013

CLOSING DATE EXTENDED TO 21 DECEMBER 2013

For original, previously unpublished poems up to 60 lines long and short stories up to 2000 words long, in English Language, in any style, on any subject.

Eligibility: writers of all ages and gender of all nationalities living in any part of the world are eligible to enter.

Prizes in each category: £500 (First), £250 (Second), £125 (Third), £25 x 5 (High Commendation)

Entry Fees: £5 per poem or story (first 2 entries) £3.50 for any subsequent poem or story.

Judges: Roger Elkin (Poems), David Caddy (Stories)

For full information visit www.sentinelpoetry.org.uk/sawc

Sunday, 17 November 2013

ONLY 12 DAYS LEFT TO ENTER THE SENTINEL ANNUAL POETRY & SHORT STORY COMPETITIONS 2013

Closing date: 30th November 2013

 

These competitions are for original, previously unpublished poems and short stories in English Language, in any style, up to 50 lines long (poems) or 2000 words long (stories). Writers of all nationalities living in any part of the world are eligible to enter.

 

Prizes in each category: £500 (First), £250 (Second), £125 (Third) and £25 x 5 (High Commendation)

 

Judges: Roger Elkin (Poetry), David Caddy (Fiction)

 

Have you written a winning poem or story that can take one of the prizes in the £2000 prize pot?  Enter it today online or download an Entry Form at www.sentinelpoetry.org.uk/sawc  

 

The Sentinel Annual Poetry Competition is now in its 4th year, the short story competition in its 2nd year. For information on fees, terms and conditions visit the web pages of the Sentinel Annual Writing Competitions (SAWC) www.sentinelpoetry.org.uk/sawc

 

Organised by Sentinel Poetry Movement - the international community of writers and artists...since December 2002

- a style of Sentinel Writing & Publishing Company Ltd

Friday, 15 November 2013

SENTINEL LITERARY QUARTERLY POETRY COMPETITION (SEPTEMBER 2013) Judge’s Report by Todd Swift

Overall, this was a lively bunch of poems.  About half were quite weak, and could easily be moved on from.  The other half demanded serious attention.  Of these, the poems clustered into several interlocking themes, of family, love, faith, illness, death, and nature – classic themes, of course.  Most of the poems felt like they could have used another edit or two – they remained a bit unsteady, with a few words, images, or phrases not quite holding their own with the rest.  The 15 poems here were clearly stronger than the rest, and there were no other poets or poems that I felt might have scraped in.  It was satisfying to see that, in the end, there were really fifteen very good or excellent poems to judge between.

 

The winning poem struck me as being very witty, and very well handled, in terms of its virtuosity of tone and style.  It had a panache that reminded me of Larkin, or perhaps Douglas Dunn.   Signs, in second place, was a more naive poem in some ways, but it had a just-so rightness to it, and a certain enigmatic and brief potency that made me feel it was a genuine poem, driven by poetic energies and feeling. Afterlife came in third, though I had some trouble working it out.  I loved the second half, and the anachronism of the mobile phone and so on was clever, but I didn’t understand precisely why the mummified boy was older than the Pharaohs.

 

Of the Highly Commended, two appear to be by the same (and winning poet) – Lakeland Gothic and Remembered Dialect.  I could tell by the voice/style which was like a thumbprint.  I have no idea who this poet is, but I admire their work.  Both these poems were witty and intelligent. Matilda is almost a very fine poem, with some satisfyingly strange aspects.

 

Of the Commended poems, I will say that each one of them, at one point, had a chance of being Highly Commended, if not a winner.

 

Each of them had moments of poetic pleasure and achievement, and with further work, these will be very good poems, and easily publishable.  Steeple Gidding Church was very strange and funny and moving. Hourglass was very moving and well-crafted.  Janus Tree was almost the winning poem, it had some great opening lines, but its form and presentation let it down a bit.   Grapple Y was very clever.  Love Match was formally adept, if a bit odd. The others also had some good moments.

 

I enjoyed judging again this year, and hope to do so again in future.

 

kind regards

 

Todd

 

Dr Todd Swift
Director, Eyewear Publishing Ltd
London, UK

http://www.eyewearpublishing.com/

SENTINEL LITERARY QUARTERLY POETRY COMPETITION (SEPTEMBER 2013)

 

RESULTS

 

Commended (in no order):

 

Seamus Harrington - Beachcombers

Jenny Donnison - Anguilla Anguilla

Jason Lytollis – Janus Tree

Jocelyn Simms - Grapple Y

John Gallas - Steeple Gidding Church

Sue M. Davies - Hourglass

Al McClimens - Love Match

Diane Jackman - Dying is not the time for crackpot theories

Joanne Fox - In the Jewellery Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum

 

Highly commended:

 

Seth Insua – Matilda

Jason Lytollis – Remembered Dialect

Jason Lytollis – Lakeland Gothic

 

Third Prize

Jenny Donnison -  Afterlife

 

Second Prize

Mark Totterdell - Signs

 

First Prize:

Jason Lytollis – The Book Town

 

Congratulations to the winners.  

 

SENTINEL ANNUAL POETRY COMPETITION 2013

CLOSING DATE: 30 NOVEMBER 2013

FIRST PRIZE: £500  SECOND PRIZE: £250  THIRD PRIZE: £125

HIGH COMMENDATION: £25 X 5

For previously unpublished poems in English Language, on any subject, in any style, up to 60 lines long. Poets of all nationalities, age and gender living in any part of the world are eligible to enter.

JUDGE: ROGER ELKIN author of Marking Time & No Laughing Matter

FEES: £5 per poem for first 2 poems, £3.50 per subsequent poem

Enter online and pay securely by PayPal or download an Entry Form for postal entry at:

http://www.sentinelpoetry.org.uk/sawc/poetry.html

Cheques/Postal Orders in favour of SENTINEL POETRY MOVEMENT  to

Sentinel Poetry Movement,

Unit 136, 113-115 George Lane, South Woodford, London E18 1AB

 

SENTINEL LITERARY QUARTERLY SHORT STORY COMPETITION (SEPTEMBER 2013)

Judge’s Report by Alex Keegan

 

Over the last 10-15 years I have judged approximately 45 short-story competitions including “From the Ashes”, The Derby Prize, 7Q & Fish. Usually, although sometimes there is not a very long short-list, it seems, just about always, there are enough decent stories to allow the judge to select the prize-winners and a few “High Recommendations.”

 

But this competition, sadly, I guess through the randomness of chance, simply did not produce six stories that I could, hand on heart, say were worthy of prizes or recommendation.

 

This is a new situation for me, and not at all comfortable. It would be easy to “bite my tongue” and take the best six and over-praise them, but if I did that I would be dishonest and ultimately help no-one. It is important that when we win an accolade it MEANS something

 

After all the stories had been read once my feeling was “not great”, but what was very noticeable was the lack of ambition, the over-use of stock phrases and clich├ęs, too many stock characters and stereotypes and a homogeneity of language. Lines and phrases could be cut-and-pasted from most stories into almost any other. Only two stories stood out as having a distinct voice.

 

A lot of the writing was careless and “baggy”, twenty words used when fifteen, ten, even half-a-dozen would suffice. There was no sense whatsoever of rewriting, of POLISH, of serious editing, of any attempt to be succinct, poetic, or punchy.

 

Also, almost all the stories are WYSIWYG. That is, what-you-see-is-what-you-get. Everything is obvious, surface, superficial. There is no dance, no subtlety, no shadows, nothing metaphorical, nothing to “discover”.

 

Quite a few “stories” were mere lists of advice, e.g.: how to pick a husband, but were not STORIES with characters making choices and those choices driving a plot.

 

Far too many stories were simple, obvious with tacked-on “twist-endings”. Writers should know that the purpose of a good story is not some cheap trick, some crude, “clever” surprise. 99% of the time the twist is not much of a surprise and ALWAYS a disappointment.

 

My advice is, if you have an idea for a twist-ending, put it in the first paragraph and write something worthwhile.

 

Only six stories made what would normally be a long-list and the following three (in no particular order), while better than the rest, did not reach a standard where I could award them the accolade of “Highly Recommended”

 

An Angel in Dustville

The White Coat

Funeral Checklist

 

This left three stories

 

Epilogue to the Uganda

The Last of the Yagimui

The Innocents of War

 

Uganda and Yagimui stood out immediately for their language, in such a way that they didn’t need to be read right through to make the long-list. They smelled of writing in a way all judges want all stories to smell.

 

The innocents of War has a promising scenario where a French housewife protects an allied airman before ultimately sacrificing him in order to save some Jewish children. The story fails partly because the language, while smooth enough is derivative and stock, and partly because there is no decision-making, no heartache, no wrenching decision for Claudette to make (or if there is, it is “off-screen” denying the reader the chance to feel the weight of her choices. The story is thus “too easy” what I call a roll-out, a plot unfolding far-too-neatly without tension. For that reason, though this is the third-best story, I did not feel I could award it a prize.

 

The Last of the Yagimui was instantly attractive. It had voice, a great setting, and a definite hook. I had put it in the probable-finalist pile after reading just one paragraph.

 

Sadly, the story failed, not on the writing itself, but on (again) the lack of dramatic tension, the sense of rolling out with too much ease. The finish was glib and disappointing, which was a damn shame because the author can carry a narrative well. The story deserved to be longer, more complex and the death and/or language-transfer needed to be lingered over and result from an actual, seen, action or decision.

 

Epilogue to the Uganda, like “Yagimui” had immediate promise. It was simply better-written than all bar one of the rest. This was the ONLY story to move me and to resonate and linger.

 

It’s far from perfect but it has weight, depth, some fine detail, and a great last line. It was slightly over-wrought in places but genuinely created an atmosphere and made me think.

 

I am happy to choose “Uganda” as the overall winner, but, as explained, I do not feel that the two runners-up quite reached the standard to be awarded a prize.

 

No doubt I will be cast as a villain, here, but I feel it is important not to inflate the worth of submitted stories and to indicate to aspiring writers that it takes a lot of hard work over an extended time to reach a reasonable standard. Join a good writing group, seek out professional feedback, and write-write-write, search your work for stock language and cliches, ask can this sentence, that sentence be tighter, more voiced, more original. Understand point-of-view and control it. Give up on twist endings and write stuff that matters and moves the reader. Be brave.

 

Alex Keegan

 

SENTINEL LITERARY QUARTERLY SHORT STORY COMPETITION (SEPTEMBER 2013)

 

THE RESULTS

 

This quarter we had particularly low numbers. Only 69 short stories. When we received the adjudication report from Alex Keegan it was somewhat disheartening. We have been running the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Short Story Competitions since January 2010 and we have had one occasion that the judge struggled to find a winner. We have never felt that any of the stories that have won our competitions have not deserved the prize. Alex Keegan, the judge in this competition is a novelist and short story writer himself. He also runs a writing boot camp. We perfectly understand where he is coming from and we respect his judgment. Usually we do not interfere in any way or change any decisions made by the judge, but in this instance, we will intervene. We don’t think that anyone will cast Mr Keegan as a villain as he suspects in his report. Our writers are grown-up and will understand that he has stated his own professional opinion. It is nothing personal.

 

At Sentinel, we understand that many short stories entered into writing competitions are works in progress. Some authors enter stories into competitions that they have completed, but many enter stories into competitions to test the stories, to seek feedback from a judge who does not know them. Because the stories are judged blind, many writers trust the comments from such blind judging more than those from their friends in small writing groups. The reason we have such a long time, several months between the announcement of our results and the publication of winning stories is that we attempt to edit winning and commended stories and improve them as much as possible.

 

Because of this, we have decided that we will award the First, Second and Third Prizes to the three stories Mr Keegan has picked. We took the liberty of sending the 6 top stories to two independent readers and the consensus is that the stories “The Innocents of War”, “The Last of the Yagimui” and “Epilogue to the Uganda” do deserve the prizes but could benefit from strong editorial intervention. We will work with the authors to improve the stories before publishing them in our magazine. Unfortunately this time, we will not award the Highly Commended Prizes. We will however contact the authors of the three stories that nearly were highly commended: An Angel in Dustville, The White Coat, Funeral Checklist and invite them to work on these stories and re-enter them free of charge under different titles to our next quarterly competition and see how a different judge will rate the stories.

 

Here are the prizes that we will award:

 

Third Prize

 Sally A. Johns - The Innocents of War

 

Second Prize

Joseph Rizzo-Naudi - The Last of the Yagimui

 

First Prize

Stuart Condie - Epilogue to the Uganda

 

Congratulations to the winners

 

Nnorom Azuonye

Administrator

 

 

SENTINEL ANNUAL SHORT STORY COMPETITION 2013

CLOSING DATE: 30 NOVEMBER 2013

FIRST PRIZE: £500  SECOND PRIZE: £250  THIRD PRIZE: £125

HIGH COMMENDATION: £25 X 5

For previously unpublished stories in English Language, on any subject, in any style, up to 2000 words long.

Authors of all nationalities, age and gender living in any part of the world are eligible to enter.

JUDGE: DAVID CADDY – editor of Tears in the Fence

FEES: £5 per story for first 2 stories, £3.50 per subsequent story

Enter online and pay securely by PayPal or download an Entry Form for postal entry at:

http://www.sentinelpoetry.org.uk/sawc/short-story.html

Cheques/Postal Orders in favour of SENTINEL POETRY MOVEMENT  to

Sentinel Poetry Movement,

Unit 136, 113-115 George Lane, South Woodford, London E18 1AB

 

SENTINEL LITERARY QUARTERLY POETRY COMPETITION (SEPTEMBER 2013) Judge’s Report by Todd Swift

Overall, this was a lively bunch of poems.  About half were quite weak, and could easily be moved on from.  The other half demanded serious attention.  Of these, the poems clustered into several interlocking themes, of family, love, faith, illness, death, and nature – classic themes, of course.  Most of the poems felt like they could have used another edit or two – they remained a bit unsteady, with a few words, images, or phrases not quite holding their own with the rest.  The 15 poems here were clearly stronger than the rest, and there were no other poets or poems that I felt might have scraped in.  It was satisfying to see that, in the end, there were really fifteen very good or excellent poems to judge between.

 

The winning poem struck me as being very witty, and very well handled, in terms of its virtuosity of tone and style.  It had a panache that reminded me of Larkin, or perhaps Douglas Dunn.   Signs, in second place, was a more naive poem in some ways, but it had a just-so rightness to it, and a certain enigmatic and brief potency that made me feel it was a genuine poem, driven by poetic energies and feeling. Afterlife came in third, though I had some trouble working it out.  I loved the second half, and the anachronism of the mobile phone and so on was clever, but I didn’t understand precisely why the mummified boy was older than the Pharaohs.

 

Of the Highly Commended, two appear to be by the same (and winning poet) – Lakeland Gothic and Remembered Dialect.  I could tell by the voice/style which was like a thumbprint.  I have no idea who this poet is, but I admire their work.  Both these poems were witty and intelligent. Matilda is almost a very fine poem, with some satisfyingly strange aspects.

 

Of the Commended poems, I will say that each one of them, at one point, had a chance of being Highly Commended, if not a winner.

 

Each of them had moments of poetic pleasure and achievement, and with further work, these will be very good poems, and easily publishable.  Steeple Gidding Church was very strange and funny and moving. Hourglass was very moving and well-crafted.  Janus Tree was almost the winning poem, it had some great opening lines, but its form and presentation let it down a bit.   Grapple Y was very clever.  Love Match was formally adept, if a bit odd. The others also had some good moments.

 

I enjoyed judging again this year, and hope to do so again in future.

 

kind regards

 

Todd

 

Dr Todd Swift
Director, Eyewear Publishing Ltd
London, UK

http://www.eyewearpublishing.com/

SENTINEL LITERARY QUARTERLY POETRY COMPETITION (SEPTEMBER 2013)

 

RESULTS

 

Commended (in no order):

 

Seamus Harrington - Beachcombers

Jenny Donnison - Anguilla Anguilla

Jason Lytollis – Janus Tree

Jocelyn Simms - Grapple Y

John Gallas - Steeple Gidding Church

Sue M. Davies - Hourglass

Al McClimens - Love Match

Diane Jackman - Dying is not the time for crackpot theories

Joanne Fox - In the Jewellery Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum

 

Highly commended:

 

Seth Insua – Matilda

Jason Lytollis – Remembered Dialect

Jason Lytollis – Lakeland Gothic

 

Third Prize

Jenny Donnison -  Afterlife

 

Second Prize

Mark Totterdell - Signs

 

First Pize:

Jason Lytollis – The Book Town

 

Congratulations to the winners.  

 

SENTINEL ANNUAL POETRY COMPETITION 2013

CLOSING DATE: 30 NOVEMBER 2013

FIRST PRIZE: £500  SECOND PRIZE: £250  THIRD PRIZE: £125

HIGH COMMENDATION: £25 X 5

For previously unpublished poems in English Language, on any subject, in any style, up to 60 lines long. Poets of all nationalities, age and gender living in any part of the world are eligible to enter.

JUDGE: ROGER ELKIN author of Marking Time & No Laughing Matter

FEES: £5 per poem for first 2 poems, £3.50 per subsequent poem

Enter online and pay securely by PayPal or download an Entry Form for postal entry at:

http://www.sentinelpoetry.org.uk/sawc/poetry.html

Cheques/Postal Orders in favour of SENTINEL POETRY MOVEMENT  to

Sentinel Poetry Movement,

Unit 136, 113-115 George Lane, South Woodford, London E18 1AB

 

Thursday, 31 October 2013

RESULTS OF THE SENTINEL LITERARY QUARTERLY POETRY & SHORT STORY COMPETITIONS (SEPTEMBER 2013)

JUDGES:

TODD SWIFT (Poetry),
ALEX KEEGAN (Short Stories)
 
Important message to competition entrants

 

Thank you for entering the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry & Short Story Competitions, September 2013.

 

The results were scheduled for release on the 31st October 2013, but are slightly delayed. I have spoken to the judges and they are doing everything to deliver the results as soon as possible.

 

The lead time for results of the short story competition is 7th November, 2013, and we should have the poetry results latest by the 14th of November.

 

We will publish the results within 24 hours of receiving them.

Please bear with us.

 

Nnorom Azuonye

Administrator

Monday, 2 September 2013

Revised & Updated Publications Information

We have now revised and updated information on all outstanding or forthcoming books by individual authors and anthologies featuring various authors expected from SPM Publications. Here is the schedule all the way to February 2014. We are committed to this schedule in order not to affect our plans for the 2014/2015 cycle.

FORTHCOMING

September 2013

WHAT THEY SAY IN AVENALE
Caroline Maldonado
Poetry
Publication Date: 15/09/2013

FIRST FLAME
Bruce Harris
Short Stories
Publication Date: 20/09/2013

THE GENESIS OF FALCON
An anthology of winning works from the Sentinel Annual Poetry & Short Story Competitions 2012.
Selected by Roger Elkin
& David Caddy.
Edited by Nnorom Azuonye
Publication Date: 30/09/2013

October 2013

SENTINEL ANNUAL LITERATURE ANTHOLOGY 2012
Edited by Nnorom Azuonye, Unoma Azuah and Amanda Sington-Williams
This over-delayed anthology has had several issues which have been fixed but finding a slot for it in the overall scheme of things has been tough. We sincerely apologise for this, but can now firmly confirm a release date of 15/10/2013

November 2013

NOT A MATTER OF CHOICE
Brindley Hallam Dennis
Short Stories
Publication Date: 15/11/2013

December 2013

NORTHERN JUNCTIONS
New & Selected Poems
Will Daunt
Publication Date: 01/12/2013

February 2014

THE MAGENTA SHADOW
Nnorom Azuonye
Short Stories
Publication Date: 28/02/2014

If you have any queries, please send them to publisher@spmpublications.com
or text 07812 755 751