Last week we shared the results of our French Flash Fiction Competition. This week, we bring you the results of our equivalent competition in Spanish. Students in Years 7-13 were invited to submit a short story in Spanish of no more than 100 words. There were two categories: Years 7-11 and Years 12-13. We were delighted to receive almost 600 eligible entries, which covered all sorts of topics, from butterflies to the apocalypse, from a love story between two monkeys, to a personification of war. We even received a memorable recipe for Sangria!
After much deliberation, the judges have selected a winner and two runners up in each age group. The winner of the Years 7-11 category is Catherine, in Year 8, from Churchers College, and the runners up are Kasia, Year 7, Westcliff High School For Girls and Fakyha, Year 10, Nonsuch High School for Girls. The winner of the Years 12-13 category is Freya, Year 12, Aylesbury High School, and the runners up are Salome, Year 12, The College of Richard Collyer, and Alexandra, Year 13, Bradfield College. Huge congratulations to all the winners and runners up!
We would like to say a massive well done to everyone who entered. The standard was extremely high, and we were thrilled to see a vast array of topics and narrative styles which demonstrated imagination and linguistic flair. Choosing the winners was no easy feat, and we would really like to thank all of the entrants for the time and careful thought they put into their stories. Writing a story in 100 words is a tall order, and to do so in a language that may not be your mother tongue is especially commendable. Please do keep using your Spanish creatively and think about entering the competition again next year.
We’ll leave you with one of the winning entries. This one’s by Freya, in the older category, and is a beautifully subtle and delicate meditation on loss.
Pareces tan hermosa cuando duermes. Una fractura en el paso del tiempo, un rincón encubierto del mundo bullicioso, entre los árboles ondulantes y los suaves trazos de la brisa de verano. El vacío me llenó, y el silencio era casi abrumador. Entonces sus pasos pesados atravesaron ese refugio, cada paso fracturando la escena congelada, como rascarse en una pintura. Te seguí. En silencio, en silencio, hasta que no podía aguantarlo más. Es hora de convertir esa pintura roja. Aquel silencio sofocante se rompe cuando caes al suelo, y la hierba comienza a oscurecer. Pareces tan hermosa cuando duermes.
We were delighted, and quite literally overwhelmed, to receive nearly eight hundred entries to our first Flash Fiction competition in French. We asked you for a story on any subject, written in your best French, and comprising one hundred words or fewer in total. What we got was an astounding variety of creations, showcasing some immensely impressive storytelling imagination. There were spine-chilling tales of the supernatural, surreal dream-narratives, delicate character studies, and little comic masterpieces. A number of themes kept returning, among them: colours, animals, flowers, war, romance and death. There were many credible attempts at creating a cryptic plot or ending with a twist.
Our three judges, Caroline Ridler, Matt Hines and Simon Kemp, enjoyed your endlessly inventive contributions, and had a real struggle to pick our favourites. Finally, we settled on Clementine, Year 10, The Grey Coat Hospital as our winner in the Years 7-11 category, and Alisa, Year 12, Surbiton High School, as the winner of the Year 12-13 category. Congratulations to both of you, and you’ll each be receiving £100 in prize money.
Runner-up among the Year 7-11s is Maddie, Year 9, from Longsands Academy and among the 12-13s is Ben, Year 12, The King’s (The Cathedral) School Peterborough. You’ll each receive the runner-up prize of £25.
We also selected the best of the rest for our Highly Commended category. For Years 7-11, congratulations to:
Matthew, Year 7, King Alfred’s Academy
Neelkantha, Year 7, The Perse School
Sean, Year 7, Trinity Catholic High School
Annoushka, Year 8, The Queen’s School, Chester
Ansh, Year 8, Hill House School
Jeong, Year 8, Milbourne Lodge School
Mairead, Year 8, Swavesey Village College
Jack, Year 9, The Judd School
Jasmine, Year 9, Cheltenham Ladies College
Tilly, Year 10, Colston’s Girls’ School
Giulia, Year 11, Channing School
Isabel, Year 11, Wycombe Abbey School
Jenna, Year 11, Skipton Girls’ High School
Jessica, Year 11, Wycombe Abbey School
Joshua, Year 11, City of London Freemen’s School
Lucas, Year 11, The Judd School
Nicole, Year 11, The Latymer School
Sulemaan, Year 11, St Albans School
And for Years 12-13:
Jemima, Year 12, The Henrietta Barnett School
Ella, Year 13, South Hampstead High School
Hannah, Year 12, Bryanston School
Juliette, Year 12, St Helen’s School
Eleanor, Year 12, Redland Green School
Camille, Year 12, The Latymer School
Katie, Year 12, Skipton Girls’ High School
Vikita, Year 12, St Olave’s and St Saviour’s Grammar School
We’d like to offer our congratulations to all our winners, and our thanks to everyone who entered for all the hard work and imagination you put into your stories. They were a pleasure to read, and we hope you’ll think about entering again next year. We’ll be posting the stories by some of the entrants listed here over the course of the summer, so look out for your entry in the coming weeks. First up, here are the winning stories and the runners up…
FRENCH FLASH FICTION: THE WINNING STORIES
Here are some of the winners of our 2019 French Flash Fiction competition. The standard of entries was incredibly high, but the judges agreed that these stories were particularly outstanding in their imagination and creativity, as well as their enthusiastic engagement with the target language. Writing a complete story in under a hundred words is a tough assignment in any language. Here, in the Years 7-11 category, we have a perfectly formed narrative that will make you dream. Below, in the Years 12-13 category is a story that makes creative use of colloquial French to show a mind in turmoil, and in the winning tale, a story that takes apart the whole premise of the competition. Hope you enjoy them.
Winner : Clementine , Year 10
Je suis le mur blanc propre d’un jeune couple chic qui veut montrer sa réussite au monde.
Enlevez ma peau: vous verrez le papier peint des années 70, orné de fleurs jaunes géantes. Reniflez un peu: l’odeur de nicotine du papa, une cigarette toujours à la main depuis qu’il a perdu son travail.
Encore une couche; vous devriez voir le chintz de la famille qui a connu une peur constante. Examinez de près – les tâches de brûlure de la bombe tombée en 41.
Enfin, le vert foncé d’une époque de paix; la dame toujours vêtue en noir, son visage abaissé.
Winner: Alisa, Year 12
La seule acception est les simples traces noires sur le papier. J’avais toujours pensé. D’autres ont toujours essayé de construire quelque chose de plus importante de ce qu’ils étaient. En voyant ces lettres comme elles sont en réalité, nous aurions gagné plus de contentement d’elles que d’imaginer de ce qu’elles pourraient devenir. Eux, ils ne veulent pas me comprendre, comme c’est le cas avec la pipe. René Magritte m’a dit: ceci n’est pas une pipe. Je vous dirais: ceci n’est pas une conte. Ceci n’est que des mots. Vous n’êtes pas comme les autres? Vous me comprendrez?
Runner-Up: Ben, Year 12
Je pense plus que j’aie envie de vivre.
En fait, à l’heure actuelle c’est la seule chose dont je peux être certain.
Des nuits blanches se passent sans cesse, voilées par les somnifères qui n’entraînent que la paralysie. J’y repose regardant le plafond et je hurle ton nom jusqu’à ce que ma gorge saigne.
Moi, chuis mort de trouille par l’idée de mourir, mais j’mourrais mille morts si ça signifiait que je pouvais te voir une dernière fois.
Je suppose que je ferais mieux de m’habituer à jouer le second rôle.
Je veux pas me réveiller.
If you entered our Spanish competition you can expect to hear from us very soon!
This year, instead of our usual French Film competition, we will be running a Flash Fiction Competition in both French and Spanish. If you are in Years 7-13, you are invited to send us a very short story to be in with a chance of winning up to £100. Read on to find out more…
What is Flash Fiction?
We’re looking for a complete story, written in French or Spanish, using NO MORE THAN 100 WORDS.
How short can it be?
Well, candidates for the World’s Shortest Story include a six-word story in English by Ernest Hemingway:
‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’
Or a seven-word story in Spanish by Augusto Monterroso, called El dinosaurio:
‘Cuando despertó, el dinosaurio todavía estaba allí.’
You don’t have to be as brief as that, but anything from six to a hundred words will do. Just not a single word more.
What are the judges looking for?
We’ll be looking for imagination and creativity, as well as your ability to write in French or Spanish. Your use of French or Spanish will be considered in the context of your age and year group: in other words, we will not expect younger pupils to compete against older pupils linguistically.
What do I win?
There are two categories: Years 7-11 and Years 12-13. A first prize of £100 will be awarded to the winning entry in each category, with runner-up prizes of £25. The winning entries will be published on our website.
How do I enter?
The deadline for submissions is noon on Sunday 31st March 2019.
If you would like to submit a story in French please do so via our online sumission portal here.
If you would like to submit a story in Spanish please do so here.
You may only submit one story per language but you are welcome to submit one story in French AND one story in Spanish if you would like to. Your submission should be uploaded as a Word document or pdf.
You will then be sent an automated email (check your spam folder if you can’t find this), which will include a link to validate your email address. Please click this link, which will take you to the Modern Languages Faculty website (you will be given an option to sign up to the newsletter. You do not have to sign up to the newsletter in order to enter the competition, although you are welcome to do so). Once you have clicked the confirmation link in the email, your entry has been submitted.
If you have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This week we are delighted to showcase the winning entry in the Year 12-13 category of our 2018 Spanish Flash Fiction Competition. This story comes from Charlotte Collerton and is a poignant evocation of familial relations across generations, told in a simple but graceful style. The judges were impressed by Charlotte’s excellent command of idiomatic Spanish, but also her poetic sense of rhythm that permeates both the form (vocabulary and sentence structure) and the content of the text (the action of knitting, the rhythm of seasons and sequence of generations).
¡ Felicidades, Charlotte!
Ella empezó tejer la primera bufanda hace cuarenta años cuando estaba embarazada de su primer hijo. El invierno era constante y la bufanda se convirtió en manta para el bebé.
Ella tenía siete hijos y cada bebé tenía su propia bufanda como una manta para proteger de los inviernos atroces.
Con los años los bebés crecían y ellos creaban la próxima generación y las agujas de tricotar se reanimaban de nuevo.
Cuando ella colgó el guante la familia recogió todas las bufandas y cosió un chal de cada uno. El invierno era impotente contra la tibieza en su ataúd.
She started knitting the first scarf forty years ago when she was pregnant with her first child. Winter was constant and the scarf became a blanket for the baby.
She had seven children and each baby had her own scarf as a blanket to protect it from the severe winters.
Over the years the babies grew and they created the next generation, and the knitting needles were revived again.
When she passed away, the family gathered all the scarves and sewed a shawl from each one. Winter was powerless against the warmth of her coffin.
This year’s Spanish Flash Fiction Competition ran from December to March and received almost 400 entries. We were amazed at the entrants’ command of, and enthusiasm for, Spanish, and the imagination and grasp of narrative techniques evident in the submissions. Stories ranged from a tale about a vegetarian lion to one about a zombie Christmas. We would like to thank everyone who submitted an entry. The judges were throughly entertained, and choosing the winners was no easy task. Congratulations to the winners below and, to everyone who took part – please do continue to use your languages creatively!
Years 7-11 Category
The winner for this category was “Traición?” by Ivo Reeve. Besides the author’s excellent command of Spanish, we were especially impressed by how well wrought the text is: how Ivo managed to balance poetic language with military description. All of that in a piece of veritable historical flash fiction. We also want to commend the two runners-up for this category: “El monstruo brillante” by Chloe Cheng and “No la sorprendió cuando vinieron…” by Elizabeth McDonald, who both showcased excellent command of Spanish and true literary sensitivity. Finally, we want to give an honorary mention to Savannah Culpepper’s piece, “Una noche, Jesús y yo…”, for its deft use of humour and ingenuity.
Years 12-13 Category
The first prize in this category goes to “Las bufandas” by Charlotte Collerton (Year 12), a seemingly simple yet powerful and tender story. We would like to congratulate Charlotte for her excellent command of idiomatic Spanish, but also her poetic sense of rhythm that permeates both the form (vocabulary and sentence structure) and the content of the text (the action of knitting, the rhythm of seasons and sequence of generations). There was one close runner-up: “El día que lo tosió…” by Hannah Corsini (Year 12), which truly impressed us with her originality and her use of bold yet successful metaphors. The text itself, which describes sickness through literary terms and references, made us think of a Quixotic “literary sickness” or “literatosis”, as it were: seeing everything in the world through the lens of literature (we are afraid to report no cure has been found against this “terrible disease” yet…). Lastly, we would like to give an honorary mention to two entries: “El francotirador” by Jacob Murray (Year 12) and “El estimado rey” by Oliver Pearey (Year 12) for their underlying philosophical message and their successful use of narrative tension in such brief texts, including a final plot twist that leaves readers pondering and quesstioning their own assumptions.
We hope to feature some of the winning entries on this blog in the coming weeks. ¡ Felicidades !
A blog for students and teachers of Years 11 to 13, and anyone else with an interest in Modern Foreign Languages and Cultures, written by the staff and students of Oxford University. Updated every Wednesday!
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