Annette Edwards-Hill LISP 2nd Half 2019 Longlisted Writer
- Can you please tell us about you? Where do you live and how is your daily life?
I live in Wellington, New Zealand. I work as a business analyst in the public sector. I have a nine year old daughter. In-between school pick-ups and work, I write.
- When did you start writing? How often do you write? We want to learn all about your writing life!
I started writing stories at primary school. There was a big emphasis on creative writing at the time and I loved it! A New Zealand writer visited our school and read some of my writing, he told me I was going to be a writer and although I’ve had quite a varied career I have never forgotten that. I started writing poetry in my first year of university and then completed a poetry writing paper. After I had my daughter I sought career advice and complained to the careers advisor that I had no time for writing. She advised I try flash fiction. I sent my first piece to the New Zealand journal Flash Frontier and it was accepted and published.
Since then I have been long listed and recommended in a number of competitions, published in anthologies – including the just published Bath Flash Fiction Anthology, and nominated for Best Small Fictions and the Pushcart Prize.
- How did you feel when you learned that you won The London Independent Story Prize? How does it feel to have your work recognised?
Stunned! This is the second time I have been longlisted and I really thought the first time was a fluke! I am very happy to be here again and it makes all the time spent writing, then editing and editing again worthwhile. It’s great to have this recognition.
- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Flash-Fiction?
Last time I was asked this question I said the length and this is still true. I love how much can be left unsaid in such a short piece of writing but at the same time there is a fine balance between saying too much and saying too little.
- How did you come up with the idea for your LISP selected story? Is there a story behind your story? And how long have you been working on it?
Unfortunately the turkey was real. When I was growing up a friend of the family joined us for Christmas dinner one year and supplied a very smelly turkey that nobody wanted to eat. I took the stinky turkey and used it as the central element in a story about a child dealing with the recent loss of their father.
- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a 300-word flash-fiction story?
For me, the best way to improve a piece of writing, is to put it down and come back to it later. ‘The Turkey’, sat in my draft folder for a few months untouched as I was unsatisfied with the story it was telling. But when I came back to it several months down the track it was far clearer to me what I needed to do to reach a point where I was happy with it. I also have a writing group. We meet monthly and the feedback I get from that group is invaluable. They often see holes in the plot of my stories or help me find the ending I have been searching for.
- What's the best thing about writing competitions? Having a deadline, a motivation to finish the story, the chance of winning, getting recognised by a professional organisation, communicating with other writers or a networking opportunity to meet with like-minded people?
All those things! The deadline is definitely motivating and it’s wonderful to have my writing recognised alongside so many talented writers. It is a real honour.
-Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on flash fiction story and LISP?
Absolutely! I’m here for a second time and this was completely unexpected. You never know what will happen in any competition and if you don’t enter, you’ll never find out!