2023 Creatives Flash Contests – Winners & Runners-Up

All the winners and runners-up of our 2023 Creatives Flash Contest series. This has been the first contest series we’ve run as part of Creatives and we can’t tell you how impressed and inspired we were by all the entries. Here we’ve collated all the published finalists so you can browse the entries yourselves.

This series has been supported by Fort William Mountain Festival and The Highland Bookshop. 

Poetry — Currents

Winner

‘The Race’ by Kate Shenton

‘The Race’ is a poem about a simple childhood game played on a bridge: Poohsticks. Yet, in only 57 words, Kate Shenton captures the suspense, lust and camaraderie that makes this game so captivating. Once you drop your stick into the river and it disappears downstream, scuttle across the bridge, lean over, and wait. Who’s stick will reappear first? Will it be yours? Only the current can tell.

Read here

Runners-Up

‘Swimming from Balmerino’ by Beth McDonough

‘Three Rivers’ by Sharon Black

‘Hutton’s Origami’ by Finola Scott

From the River Tay and moving westwards on ice skates to the Isle of Arran, these three poems explore the myriad currents that exist in water, rock, flora and fauna. Whether moving, transporting, fishing, submerging or becoming, human history has always evolved with that of the natural world.

Read here

Oak gall ink image of a view towards Arran from Ben Venue

Nonfiction — Horizons

Winner

‘Heart Lines’ by Felicia Sabartinelli

After travelling across the United States and standing at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Felicia Sabartinelli is pulled onward to see what lies beyond the eastern horizon. Whether discovering new rock formations, gestures, twilights or murmurations, ‘Heart Lines’ celebrates the joys and risks of falling in love with a new country and person.

Read here

Runners-Up

Arran from Ben Venue by Bruce Shaw (pictured)

‘The Mountain Woodlands of Loch A’an Returning’ by Ellie Dimambro-Denson

‘Margins of Rock’ by Elizabeth Stephenson

Whether alone up high on a rock face in Strathspey, doing restoration work in the heart of the Cairngorms, or sitting atop Ben Venue in the Trossachs, these three works all remind us of one thing: reaching the horizon starts by connecting with the finer details around us. 

Read here

Fiction — Contours

Winner

‘Coigach, 1902’ by Sue Trees

‘Coigach, 1902’ seems to bring us to a remote loch in the Northwest Highlands to answer one simple question: ‘How deep is Loch Osgaig?’ However, as we row along the loch with Donald, we soon discover that scientific questions of place aren’t so straightforward. By weaving together the experiences of the people, animals and hills who share the land, Sue Trees reminds us that one’s sense of place is part of a collective spirit that cannot be contained, or defined, by strict contour lines. 

Read here

Runners-Up

Contours by Hilary Tresidder (pictured)

‘Ripples’ by Ellie Stewart

‘Contours – A Cartographic Fiction’ by Keith Horner

Scotland’s landscapes have been mapped and surveyed for centuries, but the map rarely captures a place’s myriad stories and communities. From literary fiction and magical realism to the world of collage and ink, these three works show us that narratives are a vital part of understanding landscapes . . . and they rarely follow a single, linear contour line.

Read here

Image by Claire McLeod

Visual Art

Winner

Something Quite Other III by Claire MacLeod

Something Quite Other III is a photographic reflection of an autumnal sunrise in Glen Nevis. Claire MacLeod’s process, however, goes far beyond simply taking a photo outside, waiting for it to print, and then moving on. Combining polaroid photography and cyanotype contact-printing, this image explores the margins between what it shows, what was seen and what remains unseen.

View here