Paul Dawson is this year’s short story competition winner with his eclectic short story Rosebud. Paul has been writing poetry and stories since he was young. Recently his reading and writing habits have been leaning towards a more literary style. He likes the idea of a story being more than just entertainment, and his interest in philosophy and classical works has broadened his outlook on what a story can be. He has had his work published in Under the Bed, Beyond Imagination and several other smaller independent magazines, including being on the shortlist for the Broken Worlds anthology released by Almond Press last year. He is currently working hard on a dystopian novel about a walled city shut off from the rest of the world, and of course nothing can keep him from writing short stories. At any one time he finds himself juggling many stories in his head, and is excited by the challenge of getting them out into the world. Emma Petfield: When did you first begin writing, and why? Paul Dawson: I was in English class in my first year of high school and we had to write a poem. I can’t remember now what the poem was about, but I felt a sense that the words and rhyme came quite easily to me, and I realised that even though I was young, I had a lot to say about the world around me, and poetry was the first medium through which I could express that. Thinking back now, I guess that was when I first found a way to channel something that was always inside of me, but I never knew how to release it before. It was at first a place to explore my own feelings, and then more recently it’s become a part of my own identity and an important part… read more →
**Spoiler Alert** “He tells her that he trusts her and she throws herself around him, enveloping him in feathers and bones.” Felix gets up, goes to work, spends his weekends drinking and dancing with his friend/ work colleague, Michael and repeats. After a traumatic childhood experience Felix is left with a dispassion for life. However his affinity for the sea is what sees him through his day-to-day routines. Featherbones is a story of childhood, guilt, grievances and sexuality. The narrative invites an array of avian metaphors, the biggest of which is revealed to Felix towards the end of the novel. Felix’s biggest demons are his subconscious feelings. He looks back on aspects of his childhood; meeting Harriet and her horrific death by drowning, his counselling sessions with his father’s friend and the constant feeling of being different. He’s haunted by dreams of his school days and as a result his mental health is unstable. One point in the novel that struck me, were his two attempts to drop his phone from his balcony. To me this symbolises two particularly low moments in Felix’s life and is almost a metaphor for his own suicide; as if watching his phone drop to its demise will solidify his need to let go. Discussion about Felix’s lack of interest in women is a common subject between him and Michael. It is not entirely prevalent in the novel until he sleeps with Angela. His regret in having done so is a powerful moment at which point his grasp on reality drops and his connection to Michael takes on a new level. It isn’t until Felix visits his hometown and leaves Southampton for the first time since graduation that he starts to let go of his past. The catharsis of being told his nightmares were normal… read more →
Almond Press publish a variety of short stories, so I thought I’d take a look at some classical short stories that everyone should read.