The BIFFY50 Microfiction Contest (summer)


Judge: Rebecca Williams

Below you will find the Judge’s report as well as the names of the winner, and the two runners up, with a link to the winning pieces. You’ll also find a list of the Highly Commended.

The next microfiction competition (autumn) will be announced later in the year and will be judged by BIFFY50 Editor, Barbara Lovrić.




037.Storm, by Rachael Smart



Drought, by Alison Woodhouse

Blaming The Rain, by Hannah Whiteoak


Read the winner and runners up by following the link here.




Monsoon Child – Priscilla Kint

Stormy – Safiya Kinshasa

Spring on Jupiter and Mars – Sharon Telfer

The Weather Girls – Damnhait Monaghan

Post-War Weather – Barlow Adams

Drought Reflections – Joyce Wheatley

The Five Day Forecast – Rachel Tripp

Drizzle – Angela Readman

Judge’s Report

I’ve very much enjoyed reading all 150+ entries for our very first BIFFY50 quarterly micro competition. It’s an incredible number of submissions for a week long comp – well done to the winners and those highly commended. The quality that linked together the winning piece and the others named below was that even within 100 words or less, each story had conflict and a destination – they went somewhere within the narrative. Whilst many good pieces had a twist or a reveal, they weren’t in and of themselves a layered story.  When tackling the theme, our winning pieces used it as an integral part of the story, rather than pure description.  Our winner and runners up have tackled big concepts – stillbirth, domestic violence, sex – and each of the three pieces left me thinking about them for days after.

With Rachael Smart’s piece, what made it the winner was combining incredible imagery “the rain falls pewter / quick as bream and blue” whilst adhering to the theme, creating a powerful and moving story.  Not only did we have our narrator’s voice – “our gentle stroll soured under an iron sky” but we have a “passing stranger” also “grip on, pet”. I was left breathless with shock and pain at the end “your eyelashes were minute; commas with rain drops on them.”

I was mesmerised by the erotic tension in `Drought` by Alison Woodhouse – “my pearly buttons / the moonlight / memories that burn”. With this piece, it’s all about the unsaid, what’s happening off the page, and for me, the implication that our narrator is an older woman owning her desire. The theme is also woven deftly into this piece – the heat used both as a mechanism to have the narrator speak to the gardener but also an analogy for how she’s feeling, the tension between them.

Blaming The Rain by Hannah Whiteoak was a powerful and alarming read. A clever layered narrative, I had to go back and read it several times to see how she’d built up to a stunning twist. It’s deft and clever, as a reader you’re distracted by the irritation caused by the burst water main and the heavy rain “shoes soaked, bottoms of his new suit trousers soggy .” And then the narrator is forgiving our mystery him for being “understandably upset”. The last line socks it to the reader – but I’ll leave you to read it and not spoil the reveal here.

The pieces I selected to be highly commended all used the theme well, had beautiful imagery and drew me closely into their stories. In particular I enjoyed Sharon Telfer’s clever sci-fi twist on the theme with `Spring on Jupiter and Mars`, Priscilla Kint’s personification of the wind made me smile in `Monsoon Child` and I loved the sassy attitude of the teens in The Weather Girls by Damnhait Monaghan. 

I’d like to thank everyone again for sending in such great pieces and making my job as judge so difficult. Thanks also to my fellow BIFFY50 editors, Barbara Lovic and Elisabeth Ingram Wallace for reading entries also and assisting with the judging process.  Whatever the outcome of your submission, please know it’s been an honour and privilege to read all your pieces.

For more information about the BIFFY50 project and our Editors, please follow the link here.