More than 2,100 people submitted stories to the Florida Keys Flash Fiction Contest, competing to work in Ernest Hemingway’s former Key West writing studio, but none could outshine ‘Wallpaper’ by Ireland’s Denyse Woods.
Competition organizers announced today (26 May), that Woods, who lives in Inniscarra, County Cork, had won the contest open to entrants in several countries who submitted stories of 500 words or less.
“I am thrilled and so honoured,” said Woods, who also writes as Denyse Devlin. “This is the best prize of any competition ever.”
Author of five novels including the critically acclaimed ‘Overnight to Innsbruck’ and ‘The Catalpa Tree,’ Woods is the former artistic director of one of Ireland’s leading literary festivals. She attended the Key West Literary Seminar in 2012 and is working on a novel set partially in the island city, as well as a collection of flash fiction pieces.
Woods’ ‘Wallpaper’ depicts a woman so enthralled by mysterious letters from a travelling stranger that she papers her walls with them.
Contest judge Karen Russell, whose books include the Pulitzer Prize for fiction finalist ‘Swamplandia,’ praised the story for its tingling vivid word pictures and eloquent description of the reading process.
“I’ve always loved that uncanny pleasure of the reading experience — eavesdropping on another consciousness, fusing my subjectivity with a stranger’s experience,” said Russell, who was a panellist at the 2016 Key West Literary Seminar where the flash fiction competition was launched. “And ‘Wallpaper’ captures that uncanny intimacy, while showing us how words can make the walls go porous, opening up portals into another season, another country, another body.”
Woods plans to spend up to 10 days writing in the Key West studio where Hemingway authored novels and short stories in the 1930s. Her prize also includes complimentary accommodations in a residency cottage at The Studios of Key West, funds for travel, attendance at Key West’s 2016 Hemingway Days festival and a day of fishing in the Bacardi Oakheart Key West Marlin Tournament.
The Florida Keys Flash Fiction Contest celebrates the Key West literary heritage that dates back to Hemingway, who wrote classics including ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ and ‘Green Hills of Africa’ while living in a Spanish Colonial estate on Whitehead Street.
Studios of Key West: https://tskw.org
Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum: http://www.hemingwayhome.com
Key West Literary Seminar: www.kwls.org
Hemingway Days: hemingwaydays.net
For more information on the Florida Keys & Key West, visit: fla-keys.co.uk