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Read the three winners stories of the 6th international short story contest!

FIRST PRIZE

Sarah Isaak /Foreign fruit

stories in colour sThe fibres of her dress, her hair, are illuminated by sunlight. Shadows travel the length and breadth of her as clouds fray. She pushes her chin forward. The ellipse of darkness cast on her neck momentarily beards her. She watches the plants, the subjects of my drawings, with an intensity that is a reproof for my daily inattention.

With her fists resting on her knees and her hooded eyes level with the top of the planting bed she reminds me of the ape his Lordship kept, until he grew bored with the beast’s habit of spitting and grabbing at women’s hair.

The pineapple is suffused with rose madder and gold and looks too heavy for its stem. I turn a page in my book. I have not told his Lordship about my experiments with pigments, that the colour I paint on these drawings might be as transient as the fruit itself. The gardener’s wife is more robust.  Her hair, ribboned with raw sienna and silver, her skirts, a collapsed ochre dome, are a collection of pigments that will endure.

She is a striped cat about to pounce. Her thick fingers become claws. Her wide mouth bears sharp teeth to bite the flesh of the pineapple with. I smudge my lines with fingerprints of cadmiums and umbers and, ah, Naples yellow, the colour of home.

The smell of manure, horse piss and sweat announces her husband’s arrival. He stands in the doorway, holding his hand to his back. The basket containing his lunch sits alongside his wife’s skirts. The uncovered cheese glistens and the bread is dry.

I turn a page so he will not see what I have made of her. His neck darts forward. His clay encrusted boots are lifted and tucked behind him in turn as he releases the pulsing bone ache of his morning’s work. He is a heron watching the river. His wife reaches out a hand and slowly pushes it through the humid air until it almost touches the pineapple. He says ‘no, please’ and she withdraws but not until she has greedily inhaled the scent, citrus and honey and something else that is not at home amongst the dung and the tanning bark.

She smiles. Her tongue catches her lower lip.

‘It’s a shame you don’t be coming to bed smelling like that,’ she says to him.

Her shoulder brushes mine as she walks past. Her arm feels hot and heavy.

‘I want it,’ I hear her whisper in his ear. ‘Make it mine.’

 

That night’s dinner guests have a castle and an older lineage than his Lordship. He now owns most of their land. These neighbours contravene the absurd rules by which we dine and raise a rapid succession of toasts out of turn, imbibing huge quantities of wine which is sharp and musty. Politeness dictates that I also drink. His Lordship’s daughters drink. Hannah, the eldest, peers around the table’s florid centrepiece, a pyramid of sugar paste fruit, gilded in parts, topped by the first mature pineapple grown on the estate. Her lips are stained dark. She stares.

‘Seven years it has taken me to grow this fruit’ his Lordship says. Hannah’s satin clad toe nudges my foot. She’s asking a question. Perhaps she thinks my distraction is caused by the cut of her muslin dress and her soft, spaniel ear breasts. In truth I am distracted by the pineapple, the aureole of white and turquoise mould at its base, its colour now an indifferent burnt umber. I am distracted by the leaves the fruit has shed, lying like moonlit rose petals on the damask. I am distracted by the smell, no longer sweet but dank.

Hannah whispers ‘the yew hedge,’ and ‘tomorrow.’  I assume she is talking about the drawing lesson I am to give where I will compliment her on her timid lines and poor grasp of tone. I agree. A flush of carmine spreads across her cheeks which are beginning to fall like her mother’s.

His Lordship waves a fork at the gross indulgence that squats on the mahogany. He describes the system where pits either side of the glasshouse are filled with the horse manure, straw and urine that keep the plants warm. The castle owning neighbour levers himself out of his chair and walks unsteadily to the corner of the dining room and straddles a chamber pot, pissing a faltering stream as if he wishes to illustrate the process.

In the hills above Naples we grow peaches in meadows rich with volcanic ash. Oranges burst in a rush of sweetness on our tongues.

We would not let fruit rot.

‘Why in London,’ his lordship declaims, ‘pineapples are rented by the hour.’

In my room in an echoing part of the house away from the family, away from Hannah, I open the package containing my most recent order. A tightly rolled bundle of gold leaf, the paper delicate, shimmers even in this dull northern light. I secrete pigments in the unlit fireplace. I am relying on the steward’s sloth when dealing with the accounts to maintain this pilfering that is no longer petty.

 

Early morning light blues the walls. It is almost June and there is a frost on the lawn. I wear as many layers of clothing as I can without making myself an object of ridicule.

The yew hedge encloses a formal garden of box and other borders that provide a symmetry Hannah may manage in her drawing; if I allow her a simplistic point of view. She is halfway down the left side of the hedge, her pale dress offering no concealment amongst the Scheele and Verona greens. She has long expressed an interest in painting ‘en plein air’ but she has brought neither her paper nor her paints. Her pale lips are parted.

‘You came,’ she says. Her cold fingers clutch mine. She smells of powder, cake and old blood. She talks but I am not listening. I am back in Naples with my mistress, a capricious creature who never carried just the one, same stale scent but smelt of oranges or of wine, of garlic, of the sea.

Hannah wants her hand held and secrets. She wants to be loved in the way the girls in her romance novels are loved. I think about thrusting her over one of the lower hedges and lifting her skirts. Her buttocks will be wrinkled like the fruit on the table. They will be cold.

I reciprocate her tentative touch crudely, pushing my knee between her skirts and squeezing her spaniel ear breasts hard.

I whisper, ’my mignotta, my puta’.

This crude ardour should repel her. Then I remember that

I am not the first Italian to ‘instruct’ her.  She might understand the words. Her lips wobble, her moist eyes overflow and she runs across the frosted grass with slumped shoulders and a teetering gait

It is a day of poor decisions. Another package arrives, too soon after the last. The steward finds me in the glasshouse. Hannah’s slack mouthed incomprehension has been represented in the back pages of my book alongside the pissing castle owner and the under gardener and his wife. The steward’s wig is askew. He’s holding the bill for my latest order.

‘You’ll be telling me,’ he says, ‘what all this is. You’ll not be taking advantage, oh no. You’ll be a telling me.’

His bulbous nose is the colour of an Italian onion. His collar is damp. He is sweating like his Lordship’s ape. The ape smelt better.

He repeats himself until the heat and my suddenly acquired difficulty with the English language become too much for him. He shakes his jowls and the sweat falls away in beaded arcs. I draw him later as a bulldog after an enforced swim, decaying teeth protruding over a veined and purple lower lip.

When I return to the glasshouse after eating a bland meal,  the ripest pineapple, the largest fruit grown, the pineapple a ball has been planned around, the fruit that is measured and recorded daily, the thing coveted by the under gardener’s wife, has gone.  It has been ‘CUT AND STOLEN AWAY!’

The under gardener has his broad hands spread and his narrow eyes closed. The steward is apoplectic. I will draw him again later, exploding like an overripe peach, his rage a spatter of reds.

The inquisition that will surely follow this theft will delay the auditing of my orders, but not for long.

I have secreted far more than I remember ordering. My bag is heavy and my pockets full when I tiptoe along the corridor. I am wearing most of my clothes. There are voices in the drawing room. I hear Hannah saying ‘but father, he, he…’

‘It will have to wait my girl. This is a theft of such magnitude it must be dealt with.’

‘But my honour father…’

‘Was lost several drawing instructors ago,’ he says, a remark that leaves me feeling somewhat diminished.

The theft took place during my absence from the glasshouse, a fact documented by the steward’s presence, then by the cooks, my rosemary and orange zest tisane making them shriek with laughter, my presence in the kitchen something to remember.

No one will be looking for me.

Summer has arrived. It is a weak and thin affair. I thread through woods, walking amongst the indigo remnants of bluebells.  There is a mound of red ahead, resting against the wide trunk of an oak. I can see ochres, russets and the soft gleam of a white cap. It is the under gardener’s wife. Resting in her lap is a slender curl of green and gold, coiling. A tuft of green rests at her side like a scalp taken from a Mohican. I breathe out slowly and let my hands unclench. She stands heavily and thrusts out her hand. In it is a golden disc of sweet smelling pineapple. She smiles. There is blood on her lips.

‘For you,’ she says, ‘take it’ and she pushes it against me so that I have to accept. She holds her hands to her stomach then raises them to her mouth where she finds her cracked lips to be damp with something that is not pineapple. Her eyes widen when she sees her finger’s bloody tip and she frowns.

’Is this my punishment?’ she asks.

I shake my head.

‘It is simply a fruit. How can it be so?’ I say. ‘It is perhaps meant to be eaten in …’ I look at the fruit and the fibres that radiate from its core, ‘lesser amounts?’

That reassures her. It must be true for why would his lordship invest so much in something that would cause harm?

 

She wipes the blood away and smears it onto her skirts where it joins other stains.

‘They, in the house, they are …’

She shrugs.

‘Tis done, ‘she says and her smile is sorrowful.

If I eat the fruit I am made complicit. But I am leaving. The smell is sweet. I bite into the ring of gold… My lips are soon made tender and my tongue a little sore.

I take my book from my bag and show her the drawing I made of her. Her smile is broad and her laugh a low rumble.

‘That’ll be me right enough.’

I tear the sheet away and hand it to her. She sees the drawings underneath then, the etiolated figure of a man pecking the ground. She crumples the drawing I have given her.

‘You be mocking him!’

Her broad hand is on my chest, pushing. She steps back.

Her arms hang at her side like an idle ape’s.

‘I have done him such harm,’ she says. She is crying. Unlike Hannah’s tears, it moves me.

I can hear birdsong. I can see beauty here. I can see why she might want to stay.

‘There need be no harm done,’ I say. ‘I’m leaving. Make the fault mine.’

I do not tell her that it will simply be the addition of one theft to another. The steward, his lordship, the cook, they will all find a time when I was unattended, a moment in which I could have acted. I do not say that I would have preferred to be the one that stole the pineapple, that I wish I had dared that.

The folds of the paper lying on the ground facet her. I tear out another page. It falls on top. It shows his lordship in his best wig, the curls turning into the plant’s corona, his face transforming into the outer flesh of a pineapple. The whole is supported by a body that is shrunken and potbellied. I have not wasted any colour on him.

The under gardener’s wife prods it with her toe and bends to look closer. She tries to suppress a smile but she can’t.

‘I’ll not be finding that just yet,’ she says. ‘Maybe in a few days. Or a while longer?’

‘That would be a kindness,’ I say.

The taste of the sun is in my mouth. As I travel further south it will grow warm and the trees will bear fruit.

                                                          stories in colour sSECOND PRIZE

 Jennifer Tucker              

The Many Shades of Darkness

In the last few minutes before it happened, this is what Kyla tried to remember:

Red.

Red was the dry, dusty ‘soil’ of her planetoid home.

Red was the sweaty, scowling faces of the B colony crowd as they shuffled and jostled and muttered in the heat of the public square, squinting and grumbling in the daylight. So different from the calm, bronzed people of Colony A, all seated in quiet, orderly rows before the ceremonial seat of The Lady Arbiter.

Red was the long, ceremonial carpet that led to the middle of the square where her Grandmother sat in a swathe of judge’s robes, waiting to announce her final decision.

Orange.

Orange was the egg-yolk Sun – feeding the power panels, the mining machinery, the henhouses, the hydroponics labs and a ton of other stuff beside.

Orange was the plastic blocks that formed all the buildings in Colony A. Nicer than the Bs’ dull, grey ones. Even in the dark side’s constant night the vivid orange ones would be more cheerful. Not fair, really…

Yellow.

Yellow was the ration pack ‘custard’ and the giant sand slugs. Double yuck.

The custard and the other luxury rations had started all the arguments. Ration packs were rubbish. She didn’t even like custard, but she ate it when her Grandmother made it, because it helped her remember her Mum, even three years after the accident. And because if she did her two hours of Arbiter training every day without complaining, Gran would let her gloop her fingers through the custard for ages, for the fun of it, like Mum used to let her, if no-one was looking.

The colonies’ rationing battles didn’t make sense. Why couldn’t they all just share their resources fairly? The power grid, the livestock, the crops, the rations. Why should the colony B kids have no nightlights just coz they had no solar panels? It wasn’t their fault!

And the scary sand slugs – like huuuge seal-sized blobs of crawling, carnivorous earwax. Slow, but dangerous. Any family would want to up sticks and move to the day side rather than live next to a nest of those things.  And why not? No life-threatening predators, no radio silences, no vitamin injections – Colony A was definitely the better place to be.

Green.

Green was the currency chips that the grown-ups used that looked like strips of candy.

They most certainly did not taste of candy, though. Their taste had made Kyla pull a face a bit like the one that the Colony B leader was making right now. He was a pale, grumpy-looking man. He was big and he looked like he wanted to hurt someone.

Why were the grown-ups so angry all the time?

Blue.

Ohh, the blues of Earth! The photos of Gran’s visit to Earth with its rivers and lakes and oceans and … and SKY! The way Gran told her the stories made Kyla almost taste the salt spray and hear the screeching seagulls. The thought of actually swimming in endless blue… it was a nice distraction from the chanting that had started, and the shrinking perimeter of fist-clenched B colonists that now surrounded the seated As.

Indigo.

Deepest indigo was the night sky and ‘day’ sky on the dark side of the planetoid.

The Arbiter’s residence had been built on the Dark Side Border to symbolise ‘impartiality’. Kyla’s hand still ached from writing that word out soooo many times.

Violet.

Violet was her Grandmother’s ceremonial robes – made by her grandmother.

And her beautiful, crystal gavel – part of a core sample geode taken by the first Settlers.

And violet was the nasty bruises that some of Kyla’s classmates had given each other after a debate on ‘The Colony Troubles’ went awry.

Then, with slow deliberation, Gran – the Grand Arbiter – rose to her feet and held up her gavel.

“It is decided… The only way to level the playing field, and prevent civil war, is to equalise everyone’s living standards across both colonies.”

A big cheer erupted from the B crowd.

“And the only feasible way to achieved this… is for me to help you all see as I must.”

She raised her arm further. Aloft, in her wizened hand, the gavel was…  humming?

Somehow Kyla knew what her Grandmother was going to do, and whispered to herself in a shaky voice,

“Red-orange-yellow-green-blue-indigo-violet, Red-orange -yellow-green-blue-indigo-violet, Red-orange-yellow…”

One loud crackle later, the colours were all gone.

Across the entire planetoid, everything became a drab shade of darkness.

No one spoke. The only sounds were the echoes of a thousand shorted solar cells contracting and irreparably cracking from thermal shock.

The tide of colonists ebbed away in head-hung silence, until only Kyla and her Grandmother remained.

Their hands reached for each other.

“Come, child. There is much work to be done.”

The Lady Arbiter smiled, but tears welled in her milky, unseeing eyes.

stories in colour sTHIRD PRIZE

 Lynda Haycock-Watkins

Feeling, tasting, and smelling colours

I was born blind, don’t feel sorry for me as I’m happy really happy.  I live with my mum, dad and thee older brothers in East London.  I know the house has four floors and there are two rooms on each floor, but I don’t know if my house is big or small as I’m not aware of size.  I know my bedroom is ten paces long and five paces wide but is that big or is that small?

 

My older brothers John, Christopher and George all go to the local school which is only a five-minute walk from our house.  I however, have to go to a special school because of my disability, I am not really sure if this is good or bad.  Monday to Friday about 8 o’ clock in the morning Peter knocks on the front door.

“Is Anna ready?” he usually asks when one of my brothers answers the door.

“Anna” is then shouted down the hall way.

I had already heard the first Anna because my hearing is so sharp, so I’ve already started to make my way from the kitchen to the front door.  The second Anna sounded like somebody was speaking through a microphone.  I don’t say anything to my brother about how loud he shouts; I’ve tried before but it still continues.

I search for Peter’s arm and find it immediately. The coat on his is arm is bumpy.  I had learnt the difference between bumpy and smooth last month in school so I was still enjoying identifying the two textures.  Peter takes me to the taxi, opens the door and I climb in slowly making sure not to bang my head.  Peter does up my seat belt for me as I am still finding this tricky.

“Let’s get you off to school” said Peter as he starts the engine.

I search for the handle to open the window, it is hard and smooth and I turn it a notch to open the window.  I am not sure how much it opens but it is enough for me to feel a breeze on my face.  I now sniff the air and start to analyse my journey.  I smell something, trees so we must be near the park.  I now know that trees have bumpy bark and usually have smooth leaves.  Next I smell food so we must be travelling up the main street which is full of different types of restaurants and bars, my nose is on over load.

“Half way there” Peter tells me which is nice as it gives me a perception of time.

I know the next smell that is coming up and I don’t like it.  I asked Peter what it was once, he said it was from a factory that made tyres.  He didn’t explain what a factory was so I presumed it was like a house but people made things in it rather than lived in it.  I did know that tyres were part of a car because of my brother’s toys at home.  I once tried to hold my breath when we reached this landmark but I didn’t last long and had to take some deep breaths after which made the smell worse.

“We are here” said Peter but I already knew that as I could hear the car’s indicator clicking.

The car came to a sudden halt, I heard Peter get out of the car open my door then felt him as he reached in to undo my seat belt.  His breath smelt weird and not nice at all.

“Come on young lady” he said beckoning me out of the car.

I carefully reached for his arm then when I found it I climbed out.  We walked slowly to the school’s entrance.  I could hear the other children talking but there were so many conversations I couldn’t really make out what they were saying.  The bell rang loudly then I heard the doors open. Peter and I walked into the school and up the corridor, we stopped just outside my classroom.  My coat peg was the last one so I felt my way down them one, two, three, four, five and six which was me.  I took off my coat hung it on my peg then turned back to Peter for guidance.  He lead me into the class room and positioned me behind my desk.

 

“I’ll pick you up later Anna, bye” he said before leaving.

I pull out my chair and sit down waiting for the other pupils to arrive.  There are six pupils and two teachers in my class.  The other five children are autistic and don’t speak very well if at all so it is hard to communicate with them.  We were however, all aged six and eager to learn all about the world we lived in.  The classroom started to become noisy as the teachers came in with the other pupils.

“Good morning Anna” said Miss Roberts her voice being not so loud as my other teacher.

“Good morning Miss Roberts” I reply.

She came over to me and squeezes my shoulders so I can feel her presence, I smell soap.  I place my hand on hers and notice it feels soft.  The other children begin to sit down but I can also hear running on the tiled floor.

“James you need to sit down now as we need to take the register” says Mrs Joy my other teacher.

James says nothing as he can’t speak and I still hear him running up and down not really understanding why.  Miss Roberts decides to take the register anyway.  I then hear the classroom door open and get an instant hit of the smell of petrol.

“I am looking for Anna” the voice said.

I put my hand up and feel heavy feet coming towards me.  I feel unsure.

“Good morning Anna” said the voice, “I am Doctor Williams and I have come to your school today so I can teach you all about colours.  I teach a lot of blind children so the school has asked me here specially to teach you.”

I left a pang of excitement and suddenly had a lot of faith in this loud rough voice.  Doctor Williams helped me get up from my chair then took me down the hall to an empty class room.  We stopped next to some tables and a chair and I sat down. I had heard about colours of course but I didn’t know what they were.

“Anna do you know what colours are?” he asked.

“No” I replied.

“Ok right, when you eat your tongue tastes different things like sweet, sour, salty and bitter.  Do you know all these tastes?” he asked.

“Yes I know about different tastes.  Is colour another type of taste?”  I enquire.

“No,” he replies and I am sure there was a little chuckle.

“With colour your eyes are like your tongue, light bounces off each object in different ways giving that object its own unique colour.”

I thought he must be mad “I’m blind Doctor Williams how can my eyes see the different types of light?”

“No Anna” he said “I am going to teach you colour by feeling it, tasting it and smelling it” his voice sound excited.

 

The Doctor then handed me a soft object.  It was half the size of my hand and I squashed it between my fingers, it felt nice.

“It feels nice and soft” I told him.

“Good” he said “this is cotton wool and it represents white which is the colour of milk.

I knew what milk was I had it on my cereal every day further more I knew its colour, this was fun.

 

Next he handed me a lump of coal, it felt hard and bitty.  He told me this feeling was black the colour of my hair.  I wanted to feel more.  Water became blue; grass became green; strawberries became red; lemons became yellow; tree bark became brown; oranges became orange; my lips became pink and lastly lavender became purple.

“There are more colours to explore” he told me “but to start with we need to stick to the basics.”

The basics were just fine with me.  I had an alive feeling almost like I could actually see for the very first time.  I randomly started pointing at things while the Doctor gave me my colour object.

 

I pointed at my shoes “tree bark” said the doctor.   I pointed at my dress “lemons and grass” he told me.  My mind was a whir as I pointed and pointed loving the answers.  For the rest of the day Doctor Williams and I walked around the school as I touched and pointed at everything.

 

As I said in the beginning I might be blind but I am very very happy.

 

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EYELANDS 7th INTERNATIONAL SHORT STORY CONTEST – 2017

strange-love-affairsThe contest runs from March 20th through June 20th, 2017

The theme of the contest this year is «Strange love affairs»

First prize: A week holiday in the island of Crete (for 2 persons)

First three winners stories published in two different anthologies (Greek and English).

Judge: Maria PsomaPetridou

**

The contest runs from March 20th through June 20th, 2017

The theme of the contest this year is «Strange love affairs». The prize for the first winner is a week holiday in the island of Crete. The first three winners will see their stories published in two different anthologies (Greek and English). All the stories of the Short List will be published in a special English edition, released through amazon.com & strangedays books. Entry fee: 10 €

See more: http://www.eyelands.gr  / English section

Also: www.strangedaysbooks.gr

https://www.facebook.com/eyelands.portal

PRIZES & HONORABLE MENTIONS

Triopetra, the beachFirst, Second and Third prize: publication of your story in an anthology of the shortlisted stories of the contest (Greek section), translated in Greek.

  • The three prize winners will also get a free copy of the book with the winning stories of our contest & certification document & a Greek handmade ceramic from the collection of Omodamos Clayart*

All the shortlisted stories will be published in an anthology. The book will be released through “Strange Days” publications and  http://www.amazon.co.uk

All the shortlisted writers will also get a free copy of the book & certification document. Plus a book from Strange Days Books –for free!!

* Entry fee: 10 €

*Judge: Maria Psoma Petridou

NOTE: Free entry for the shortlisted writers of previous contests

RULES OF THE CONTEST  (ENGLISH SECTION)

stories in colour s* Theme of the contest: «Strange love affairs».

*Entries must be short stories, of any genre, and maximum length is 2,500 words and must be previously unpublished in a book, printed magazine or web-based journal. Entries must be in English.

*This is an international contest. There is no restriction such as nationality etc of the author, but you have to be 18 years old on the 21st of March 2017 to enter the contest.

* No “eyelands” editor, judge, or relative of them, is allowed to enter.

* Entries can be submitted electronically (see below).

* Winners and the short list to be announced on September 10th,  2017

* Copyright of manuscripts remains to the author.

* In addition to the story being published on http://www.eyelands.gr, the author’s acceptance of the prize gives eyelands.gr the right to include the story in the anthology that will appear in book form. Entry gives permission to include the three prize winners and the shortlisted stories in the book which will be published and will be available from “Strange Days” publications.

* There will be two collections of stories -one that will be published in Greek with the stories of the first three winners of English Section included and another one with all the Short Listed stories of the English Section.

ENTRY FORM AND PAYMENT

Pay via paypal – See the banner in eyelands Home Page.

Click the «buy now» button. Fill the description with: Strange love affairs

Entry fee is 10.00

* After the payment is complete, you can send the e-mail with your story attached in word. doc /docx format to:

info@eyelands.gr

writing at the subject line: Eyelands Short Story Contest

*An email confirmation that your entry has been received will be sent within three /four days after receiving your e-mail.

*We don’t accept postal entries

* Name and address of the author are to be submitted in a separate attachment to accompany the entry.

*There is no fee for the shortlisted writers of previous contests

ABOUT THREE ROCK

Three Rock is a very special studio just a few hundred meters from Triopetra beach, one of the most beautiful beaches of Crete. Three-Rock is a unique studio with a design that combines the touch of the ’60s to the current look and you can find also all the necessary amenities of a modern tourist accommodation. Designed to accommodate two to four people the studio studio is one very large furnished room of 70 sq.m., (with a separated bathroom) with a lot of space which lets you cooking, dining, relax all day if you want and can simply and easily be tailored to your tastes.

Mind that Triopetra beach is at the very centre of South Crete and that means, (provided you rent a car) easily access to places like Spili, Preveli, Plakias, Amari plateau (westward) & Agia Galini, Matala, Phestos (eastward)

THREE-ROCK (studio and apartment)

listed on: holiday lettings/ trip advisor/ house trip/air bnb

 

JUDGE

Maria Psoma Petridou

%ce%bc%ce%b1%cf%81%ce%af%ce%b1Maria was born and lives in Thessaloniki – Greece. She is an english teacher. She has published two poetry collections, «Lifetime Service» 2006, «A second pair of wings» 2010. She writes poetry & fiction in greek and in english. In 2006 she was awarded the 2nd prize for her poem «The Bate» from the Greek – Australian Cultural League of Melbourn, in 2009 the 2nd prize: Antonis Samarakis» for her story: Even if it’s found it will chase me». A lot of her work has been edited in Literature Magazines in Greece and on the internet.

Maria teaches Creative Writing. She is the co-ordinator of a book club for six years and of a writers’ meet up. The last four years she’s been a collaborator in http://www.eyelands.gr as well as a judge of its poetry and story competitions.

links
http://www.eyelands.gr
eyelands/ Storyland – Short Stories

STRANGE DAYS BOOKS
http://www.paraxenesmeres.gr
http://www.strangedaysbooks.gr

THREE ROCK STUDIO

http://three-rock.blogspot.gr/

OMODAMOS CLAYART
http://www.rethymnoguide.com/omodamos/
*

Contest poster: painting by Andriana Minou

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UPDATE: SIGN THE PETITION TO #BRINGTHEMHERE


CRNI joins with IFEX, Australia’s Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, the International Federation of Journalists (Asia-Pacific) and other freedom of expression organizations in once again calling upon the government of Australia to release a trio of Iranian nationals from their detention centre on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea most especially Eaten Fish, last year’s recipient of our Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award.

Cartoon by Rod Emmerson

The statement reads as follows:


Australia silencing expression through detention on Manus Island

To:

Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP
Prime Minister of Australia

Hon. Peter Dutton MP
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection

We, the undersigned, write as journalists, writers, cartoonists and performers to urge you to allow our colleagues Behrouz Boochani, Mehdi Savari, and Eaten Fish to be resettled in Australia.

All three men have sought protection as refugees from Iran and are currently detained at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre in Papua New Guinea, which is operated on behalf of the Australian Government.

Well into the fourth year of their ordeal on Manus Island, and with delays and uncertainties in relation to any US resettlement deal, the three men remain in limbo. To varying degrees, the years of detention, has severely impacted their mental and physical health.

• Behrouz Boochani, 33, is a Kurdish journalist. He has worked as a journalist and editor for several Iranian newspapers. On February 17, 2013, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps ransacked his offices in Ilam and arrested 11 of Boochani’s colleagues. Six were imprisoned. He has courageously continued to work as a journalist while in detention, and is a regular contributor to publications in Australia and overseas, often reporting on the situation and conditions on Manus Island. He has been recognised as a refugee and we urge you to allow him to reside in Australia to resume his career as a journalist. Boochani is a Main Case of PEN International and has been recognised as a detained journalist by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

• Mehdi Savari, 31, is an Ahwazi performer. As an actor, he has worked with numerous theatre troupes in many cities and villages in Iran, and performed for audiences in open public places. He was also well-known as the host of a satirical children’s TV show before fleeing Iran. Mehdi is a person of short stature, and has met with severe discrimination over his life, which has been exacerbated by the conditions and his treatment on Manus Island over the last three years, and he continues to suffer a range of physical ailments and indignities, as well as regular bouts of depression and chronic pain. As he has also been recognised as a refugee, we urge you to facilitate his resettlement in Australia. We also refer you to a resolution passed by the International Federation of Actors congress in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in September calling for his release from detention.

• Eaten Fish, 24, is a cartoonist and artist who prefers to be known by his nom-de-plume. He has recently received Cartoonists’ Rights Network International’s 2016 award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning. His application for refugee status has not been assessed. Since he was detained at Manus Island, he has been diagnosed with mental illnesses, which have been compounded by his incarceration. We urge you to allow him to live in Australia until the final status of his claim can be determined.

As journalists, cartoonists, writers and performers, we are aware that the rights we enjoy are matched by a responsibility to challenge and confront tyranny and wrongdoing, to bear witness and uphold truth, and to reflect our society, even if sometimes unfavourably. We are privileged that in Australia we are able to pursue these ends without fear of persecution or threat to our personal liberty.

We believe that to continue to detain these three individuals without charge or trial undermines freedom of expression and the right to seek asylum. All three have courageously continued to practice their vocations on Manus Island despite their incarceration. We urge you to allow them to be resettled in Australia so that they can live, work and contribute to Australian society.

MEAA is joined in this letter by free expression groups from around the world. We urge you to give the cases for resettlement of these three men serious consideration.


UPDATE: SIGN THE PETITION TO #BRINGTHEMHERE


 To Report a Cartoonist in Danger  Email Cartoonists Rights Network

To Donate to Cartoonist Rights Network Click Here

eyelands logo

EYELANDS 7th INTERNATIONAL SHORT STORY CONTEST – 2017

The contest runs from March 20th through June 20th, 2017

The theme of the contest this year is «Strange love affairs»

First prize: A week holiday on the island of Crete (for 2 people)

First three winners stories published in two different anthologies (Greek and English).

Judge: Maria PsomaPetridou

**

The contest runs from March 20th through June 20th, 2017

The theme of the contest this year is «Strange love affairs». The prize for the first winner is a week holiday on the island of Crete. The first three winners will see their stories published in two different anthologies (Greek and English). All the stories of the Short List will be published in a special English edition, released through amazon.com & strangedays books. Entry fee: 10 €

 

eyelands logo

10th annual   

lgff2017_poster1_grLONDON GREEK FILM FESTIVAL 2017

the international meeting point for Greek film from across the world

14-20 May 2017

PRESS RELEASE

 Call for Film and Script Submissions for the 10th annual London Greek Film Festival 2017

The 10th annual London Greek Film Festival coming up on May 2017. The festival invites Greek and International film directors, producers, writers and artists from around the world, to submit films and screenplays.  Website: www.londongreekfilmfestival.com

Deadlines:

Regular deadline: 17 February 2017

Late deadline: 10 March 2017

Very late deadline and final: 31 March 2017

Films and Screenplays accepted, from:

Greek Origin Individuals and Production Companies from all over the world (Greek Diaspora & Greek-Cypriots included), with no specific subject in their work, or

International Individuals and Production Companies from all over the world, with film or screenplay related to Greece (i.e. subject, myths, history or filming in Greece).

Kind of Films: Fiction Feature, Short Fiction, Documentaries, Experimental, Video Art.

Kind of Screenplays: Fiction Feature and Short Fiction.

Organized / Supported by: Cosmocinema, London, UK.

Art Director: Christos Prosylis

For more information and submissions, please visit: www.londongreekfilmfestival.com

Email: info@londongreekfilmfestival.com

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S M I L E
MUSIC PERFORMANCE AT ROTA
11 NOVEMBER 21.30
MARIKA
.poster
Soprano, Pianist and Avant-Garde composer presents her performance SMILE inspired by the song with the same title from ‘Modern Times’ (1936) starring Charlie Chaplin. Marika interprets ‘smile’ emphasizing and revealing the ambiguity and bitterness that characterizes Charlie Chaplin’s own famous smile as it has been captured to all of our imagination through his movies and famous photographs.

Marika interprets ‘smile’ among other songs, fusing intensified elements of rock blues, opera but also using elements of Parody when it comes to singing arias like the well known theme of ‘Habanera’ from the opera Carmen by George Bizet or Monteverdi’s “Lasciate mi morire”.

At her performance, SMILE, directing her voice as a weapon, she interprets a program that includes among others, Henry Purcell, Giuseppe Verdi, Cole Porter, Kurt Weill, George Gerswhin Eric Satie, as well as songs which have been sung by Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Mairilyn Monroe Elvis Presley, Nat King Cole, and Klaus Nomi.
At SMILE people will also have the chance to listen parts from her awarded chamber opera ‘Calamity Jane letters to her Daughter’ (1877-1902). A great example of Marika’s free imporvisation style where the singer allows her voice to trasform through the process of interpreting the story-telling of her songs; a great example of which is her song ‘My horse, Satan’ where Calamity’s mourns for her beloved horse Satan.

Finally, at SMILE, excerpts from Marika’s latest work ‘Butterfly In Blood’ will also be heard. The latter, is music written based on the book written by the holocaust survivor Fania Fenelon ‘Women’s orchestra of Auschwitz’. ‘Butterfly In Blood’ was presented in England and supported by the Arts Council.

Info
11th of November 21:30
Rota Art Coffee (Community Room ‘Words and Notes’)
Solonos 124, Exarheia
Ticket: 8 euros
Reservations: 2103801033 and rota.solonos124@gmail.com

^^**^^

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6th Short story Contest – Results

6th international contest smaller.jpgThese are the results of our 6th international short story contest!

(International section)

**

 6th INTERNATIONAL CONTEST

Theme: colours

 PRIZES, DISTINCTIONS & SHORT LISTED STORIES

FIRST PRIZE

Foreign Fruit – Sarah Isaac (United Kingdom)

SECOND PRIZE

The many shades of darkness – Jennifer Tucker (United Kingdom)

THIRD PRIZE

Feeling, tasting and smelling colours  – Lynda Haycock-Watkins (United Kingdom)

DISTINCTIONS

Evergreen  – Helen Shay (United Kingdom)

& Lime Green – Liz Gwinnell (United Kingdom)

SHORT LISTED STORIES

(order according to submission date)

Black rainbows – Kathryn Joyce

United Kingdom

Red or Green – Konstantina Sozou-Kyrkou

Greece

In Search Of The Elusive Blue – Leonie Brandner

Switzerland

The iced Asylum – Valeriia Lapteva

United Kingdom

Arrangement in amber and gold – Mary D’ Arcy

Northern Ireland

Reading the auras – Heather Walker

United Kingdom

Cut, shape and colour – Patrick Roycroft

United Kingdom

The Blue Wizard – Sara Muldowney

United Kingdom

%ce%bc%ce%b1%cf%81%ce%af%ce%b1JUDGE: MARIA PSOMA – PETRIDOU

All The Short Listed stories will be published in the collection

Stories in colour that will be released through

“Strange Days Books” publications / http://www.paraxenesmeres.gr

and http://www.amazon.co.uk

on November

All writers will get a copy of the book plus a certification document by mail .

*

The first three winners will see their stories translated on Greek and published in the collection  «Ιστορίες με χρώματα»,  with the stories of the Greek section, that will be released through “Strange Days Books” publications / http://www.paraxenesmeres.gr

on November, and get a copy of this book also.

*

The three prize winners (and distinctions) will also get a Greek handmade ceramic from the collection of Omodamos Clayart

*

The prize for the first winner is a week holiday in the island of Crete at the Three Rock Studio /or Apartment (http://three-rock.blogspot.gr/ ) at the magnificent beach of Triopetra. The prize includes a week accommodation at Three Rock for one or two persons, (airtickets not included)

**

links

THREE ROCK / threerock.blogspot.gr

STRANGE DAYS BOOKS / http://www.paraxenesmeres.gr

http://www.strangedaysbooks.gr

PAST CONTESTS

http://www.eyelands.gr  &

OMODAMOS CLAYART

http://www.rethymnoguide.com/omodamos/

eyelands logo

EYELANDS 6th INTERNATIONAL SHORT STORY CONTEST – 2016 / last call!

The contest runs from March 20th through June 20th, 2016
The theme of the contest this year is «Colours»
First prize: A week holiday in the island of Crete (for 2 persons)
First three winners stories published in two different anthologies (Greek and English).
Judge: Maria Psoma-Petridou
**

6th international contest smallerThe contest runs from March 20th through June 20th, 2016

The theme of the contest this year is «Colours». The prize for the first winner is a week holiday in the island of Crete. The first three winners will see their stories published in two different anthologies (Greek and English). All the stories of the Short List will be published in a special English edition, released through amazon.com & strangedays books.

Entry fee: 10 €

See more: http://www.eyelands.gr  / English section

eyelands logo

*/ 12th Athens Digital Arts Festival | Programme


*/ 12ο Athens Digital Arts Festival | 19 – 22 May 2016

Main Venue: Building Complex Gate Ermou 117 – 121

Performance Venue: six d.o.g.s, 6-8 Avramiotou str., Monastiraki

Tickets pre-sale: Viva.gr

www.adaf.gr | #ADAF2016 #DigitalPop

Athens Digital Arts Festival (ADAF) returns with its 12th edition at the historic center of Athens and invites you to its annual four-day meeting that takes place on 19 – 22 of May, at the Building Complex Gate Ermou 117 – 121. In addition, ADAF 2016 will present artworks and AV performances at the multiplex art space six d.o.g.s.

Under the theme of Digital Pop, ADAF 2016 aims to capture the different aspects of Pop in the digital era and explore how our increasing engagement with new technologies and the Internet has generated new trends and habits. Pop is characterized by the culture of «here and now». Nowadays, Pop may be as well defined by likes, shares, tweets, views or followers showing in a way the power of the people to decide about trends and attitudes but also highlighting the ephemerality of it, as the culture around us is changing at high speed.

450 artists from 60 countries will present their works through a multifaceted programme that includes interactive and audiovisual installations, video art, web art, and creative workshops for both adults and kids, launching as well a new category, ADAF KIDS. Moreover, there will be held artists’ talks and presentations of international festivals, such as Japan Media Arts Festival (Japan), Loop Festival (Spain), Anima (Belgium), Locomocion (Mexico) and more. In addition, the screening programme includes: the well-known documentary The Story of Technoviking, the programme VIDEOsPAIN featuring contemporary Spanish video artists, the video art project From A to Z in Loop featuring works by students of The Department of Photography and Audiovisual Arts, ΤΕΙ of Athens and the School of Visual and Applied Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. At the same time, the gallery space of six d.o.g.s. will host the Digital Image exhibition of ADAF, a tribute to contemporary digital image and Internet culture.

From 19 to 22 of May, the Festival will present its programme of audiovisual performances at six d.o.g.s. Starting on May 19 with the exclusive event focus raster-noton, featuring artists from one of the leading international electronic music record labels and ending on May 22 with the performance Recession by the renowned collective 1024 from France, ADAF invites the audience to a series of groundbreaking audiovisual live acts.

Creative Directors:

Ilias Chatzichristodoulou & Katerina Gkoutziouli
INSTALLATIONS | Curated by Katerina Gkoutziouli

VIDEO ART | Curated by Eirini Olympiou

ANIMATION | Curated by Babis Alexiadis

WEB ART | Curated by Foteini Vergidou

PERFORMANCES | Curated by Caterina Antonopoulou

DIGITAL IMAGE | Curated by Carolina Ghali

WORKSHOPS | Curated by Sotiris Iliadis

INFO

To see full programme click here!

To see all artists and artworks that will be presented at the exhibition of ADAF click here!

Facebook event : www.facebook.com/events/1181280721882548

COLLABORATORS / SUPPORTERS

CO-ORGANISATION:
Culture, Sports and Youth Organization of the City of Athens

UNDER THE AUSPICES :
Ministry of Culture and Sports | Ministry of Economy, Growth and Tourism | Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs | Region of Attica | City of Athens | Hellenic National Tourism Organization | Athens Traders Association

WITH THE SUPPORT:
Polyeco Contemporary Art Initiative (PCAI) | Europe Public Space and Delegation of European Commission of Greece | Transport for Athens | Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos | Spanish Embassy in Athens | French Institute of Athens | Athens City SightSeeing | Aegean Airlines | Athens – Attica & Argosaronic Hotel Association

IN COLLABORATION WITH:
ΤΕΙ of Athens – The Department of Photography and Audiovisual Arts | School of Visual and Applied Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki | Locomotion Festival | Anima Festival | LOOP Festival | Japan Media Arts Festival | FILE Electronic Language International Festival | SONICA Festival of Transitory Art | MOTA Museum of Transitory Ar

PARTNERS:
AVNODE | LPM 2015 > 2018 | CREATIVE EUROPE CULTURE PROGRAMME

Watch the show reel video

*/ 12ο Athens Digital Arts Festival |

*/ 12ο Athens Digital Arts Festival | 19 – 22 Μαΐου 2016

Κεντρικός Χώρος: Κτηριακό Συγκρότημα Πύλη Ερμού 117-121

Performance Venue: six d.o.g.s, Αβραμιώτου 6 – 8, Μοναστηράκι

Προπώληση εισιτηρίων: Viva.gr

www.adaf.gr | #ADAF2016 #DigitalPop

eyelands logo

EYELANDS 6th INTERNATIONAL SHORT STORY CONTEST – 2016

The contest runs from March 20th through June 20th, 2016
The theme of the contest this year is «Colours»
First prize: A week holiday in the island of Crete (for 2 persons)
First three winners stories published in two different anthologies (Greek and English).
Judge: Maria Psoma-Petridou
**

6th international contest smallerThe contest runs from March 20th through June 20th, 2016

The theme of the contest this year is «Colours». The prize for the first winner is a week holiday in the island of Crete. The first three winners will see their stories published in two different anthologies (Greek and English). All the stories of the Short List will be published in a special English edition, released through amazon.com & strangedays books. Entry fee: 10 €

See more: http://www.eyelands.gr  / English section

Also: www.strangedaysbooks.gr

https://www.facebook.com/eyelands.portal

PRIZES & HONORABLE MENTIONS

First, Second and Third prize: publication of your story in an anthology of the shortlisted stories of the contest (Greek section), translated in Greek.

  • The three prize winners will also get a free copy of the book with the winning stories of our contest & certification document & a Greek handmade ceramic from the collection of Omodamos Clayart*

All The Shortlisted stories: publication of your story in an anthology of the shortlisted stories of the contest (English section), will be released through

“Strange Days” publications and  http://www.amazon.co.uk

* Entry fee: 10 €

*Judge: Maria Psoma Petridou

.NOTE: Free entry for the shortlisted writers of previous contests

RULES OF THE CONTEST  (ENGLISH SECTION)

* Theme of the contest: «Colours».

*Entries must be short stories, of any genre, and maximum length is 2,500 words and must be previously unpublished in a book, printed magazine or web-based journal. Entries must be in English.

*This is an international contest. There is no restriction such as nationality etc of the author, but you have to be 18 years old on the 21st of March 2016 to enter the contest.

* No “eyelands” editor, judge, or relative of them, is allowed to enter.

* Entries can be submitted electronically (see below).

* Winners and the short list to be announced on September 10th,  2016

* Copyright of manuscripts remains to the author.

* In addition to the story being published on http://www.eyelands.gr, the author’s acceptance of the prize gives eyelands.gr the right to include the story in the anthology that will appear in book form. Entry gives permission to include the three prize winners and the shortlisted stories in the book which will be published and will be available from “Strange Days” publications.

* There will be two collections of stories -one that will be published in Greek with the stories of the first three winners of English Section included and another one with all the Short Listed stories of the English Section.

ENTRY FORM AND PAYMENT

  • Pay via paypal – See the banner in eyelands Home Page.
  • Click the «buy now» button. Fill the description with: Colours
  • Entry fee is 10.00
  • * After the payment is complete, you can send the e-mail with your story attached in word. doc /docx format to:

info@eyelands.gr

  • writing at the subject line: Eyelands Short Story Contest
  • *An email confirmation that your entry has been received will be sent within three /four days after receiving your e-mail.
  • *We don’t accept postal entries
  • * Name and address of the author are to be submitted in a separate attachment to accompany the entry.
  • *There is no fee for the shortlisted writers of previous contests

ABOUT THREE ROCK

Three Rock is a very special studio just a few hundred meters from Triopetra beach, one of the most beautiful beaches of Crete. Three-Rock is a unique studio with a design that combines the touch of the ’60s to the current look and you can find also all the necessary amenities of a modern tourist accommodation. Designed to accommodate two to four people the studio studio is one very large furnished room of 70 sq.m., (with a separated bathroom) with a lot of space which lets you cooking, dining, relax all day if you want and can simply and easily be tailored to your tastes.

Mind that Triopetra beach is at the very centre of South Crete and that means, (provided you rent a car) easily access to places like Spili, Preveli, Plakias, Amari plateau (westward) & Agia Galini, Matala, Phestos (eastward)

THREE-ROCK (studio and apartment) : listed on: holiday lettings/ trip advisor/ house trip/air bnb

 

-short story collection 2015 BORDERLINE STORIESBORDERLINE cover

JUDGE

Maria Psoma Petridou

035bwMaria was born and lives in Thessaloniki – Greece. She is an english teacher. She has published two poetry collections, «Lifetime Service» 2006, «A second pair of wings» 2010. She writes poetry & fiction in greek and in english. In 2006 she was awarded the 2nd prize for her poem «The Bate» from the Greek – Australian Cultural League of Melbourn, in 2009 the 2nd prize: Antonis Samarakis» for her story: Even if it’s found it will chase me». A lot of her work has been edited in Literature Magazines in Greece and on the internet.

Maria teaches Creative Writing. She is the co-ordinator of a book club for six years and of a writers’ meet up. The last four years she’s been a collaborator in http://www.eyelands.gr as well as a judge of its poetry and story competitions.

 »Colours» painting, by Andriana Minou

FIRST PRIZE WINNER 2015 – LIZ GWINNELL / U.K

Liz 1

FIRST PRIZE WINNER 2014 – SETH LIBBY / USA

2014.JPG

FIRST PRIZE WINNER 2012 – PAUL ADKIN / ENGLAND- SPAIN

Adkin

FIRST PRIZE WINNER 2011 – NATASHA ALI /PAKISTAN

natasha1

**

links

STRANGE DAYS BOOKS

  1. http://www.paraxenesmeres.gr
    http://www.strangedaysbooks.gr
  2. THREE ROCK STUDIO : http://three-rock.blogspot.gr/
  3. OMODAMOS CLAYART : http://www.rethymnoguide.com/omodamos/

 

***

 

eyelands logo

EYELANDS 5th SHORT STORY CONTEST – FIRST PRIZE

liz2

Liz Gwinnell /Waiting For My Tomorrow

No one really knows what it’s like when you’re released from prison. Well, I’ll tell you. It’s like you have a secret. You walk amongst normal people and they don’t know. Don’t know that you’ve spent the best part of the last decade and a bit inside.

This is what I thought when I got off the train at Reading with my £46 discharge grant.  When I first went inside twelve years ago, mobile phones were bricks and coffee was coffee.  The world changed but I remained cocooned from the every day reminders of how things were moving on. Instead, they all hit me in one blast.

They’ve pedestrianised the road outside the railway station – turned it into Planet Zong. This is where I used to nick stuff from the newsagents across the road and catch the bus to school.  I did not expect time to stand still for me but I did not expect it to erase all I knew so completely.

The weather is indifferent, cold, wet, grey February. I pull my coat collar up against the rain, against time. Back there now, the dinner trolley will be clattering on to the wing, the orderly dishing out our dinner, a game of pool at association, before bang up and then bed and your dreams, maybe nightmares. Everyone wrestles with their past in prison. It’s all you’ve got, it’s what they make you focus on, it’s day and night, always with you perhaps that’s why it feels so strange to come out. Because now all you’ve got is the future and you don’t know the future half as well as you know the past you went over in every tiny detail on all those courses, at every parole review.

I want a coffee.

“Mercatto. Latte. Skinny. Grande?”

“I just want a fucking coffee!”

“Alright sir, there’s no need to be like that.”

“Sorry,” I mumble. “Sorry.”

She doesn’t know, it’s not her fault. Try fogging, try the broken record technique; try to calm your mind with what they taught you in prison to avoid a snooker ball in a sock or a razor melted into a toothbrush. I am not sure if they will work out here.

I sign on at probation. Bullshit about what a nice journey I’ve had. Bullshit about how wonderful it is to get out.

“It isn’t going to be easy Mark,” she says. How does she know? I play the game. Doleful down looking eyes. That’s what probation want. For you to be forever looking like you’re sorry. Of course I’m sorry but I’m not made of sorry. Next stop, my new living quarters.

Outside the hostel there is a group of men with wild eyes in green parka coats sitting on the steps. They look at me, the new arrival. I avoid eye contact, swagger a bit. That’s what they don’t teach you on the prison courses. Survival when street dogs are looking at you.

It ain’t no five star hotel. Fat guy with his feet up on the desk watching the telly. He is indifferent as I sign in. I go up the stairs. Someone has sprayed air freshener to cover up the smell of men just out of prison. It smells cheap and sweet and sickly.

My room is basic but it’s a room. I can hear keys jangling in the corridor, doors slamming. I can’t get it out of my head that I’m still in prison. Perhaps it will go when my head catches up with my body and realises I’m not inside anymore.  I have a view of some office blocks. What did I think I’d get? The Pacific Ocean? Grey day, grey head, grey life. I thought that bells would ring and cannons fire when I got out. Nothing.  This is it. This is your life. No red book.

I go out. Reading is always best at night. It’s got an edge to it but I’ve got a curfew. I have to be in by 7 so I have precisely 45 minutes. After that, I have to stay in until 7am, corralled indoors out of the way of harm, in case that harm should leap out of an alleyway and drag me down it.

The telly isn’t working.

“The telly isn’t working,” I tell the fat man with his feet on the desk.

He shrugs.

“So bang it,” he says. “It will work tomorrow.”

I go out. Stav’s greasy white van still parks up in Deadman’s Alley selling greasy kebabs and other under the counter goods to those who know him. I buy a kebab and something more deadly.  At least he hasn’t changed.

In the morning, I am waiting behind the door for 7am to come. I can’t wait to get out of this room. I paced most of the night and now it’s time to let the tiger out of the cage. I’m not living like this. I’m going to get me a load of money and clear off somewhere, make up for the 12 years I lost. So life on the run is always looking over your shoulder? I’m willing to try it. At least it’s not grey days and a room in a hostel. I’ll get the ferry to France. Drink wine for breakfast. Sleep on a beach. Pick grapes in a vineyard. Love some women. Yeh. My plan is roughly formed but it’s a plan. First, the finance.

I know what coffee to buy now. I know how to order coffee! Well done ex prisoner on licence! This is your first test. I take it into the probation office. Katie frowns as I put the paper lidded cup down on her desk. I pick it up again.

“It’s not really appropriate,” she says.

I have learned that sorry is the best word with probation.

“Sorry,” I say. “I didn’t think.”

“Well you need to think Mark because you’re on life licence now. It’s very very different from being inside.”

Katie. What Katie did next. My sister was reading that when we were kids. I threw it in the fishpond and she cried. She’s the only one who’s kept in touch though, despite that, despite that and what came after.

I can’t breathe in the probation office. It smells of restriction, of doubt, of cynicism. I go through the motions.

“So what have you got planned for today Mark?” Katie asks in a sing song sort of voice

I tell her I am going to the bank.

“That’s a very good idea Mark,” she says. “I’m glad to see you’re using your time constructively. What will you do, open a current account?”

No, I want to say, I’m going to ask to speak to the bank manager and put a gun to his head.

“Something like that,” I say.

She looks at me. Wrong answer. Deduct ten points.

“Yes,” I say. “Sorry.”

“Good well we’ll see you the same time tomorrow ok? I’ve arranged for you to join the alcohol group next Monday. And maybe some volunteer work with the refuse collectors from next week. I’ll let you know.”

I want to say yippee. What a life. Hold me back.

“Thanks,” I say.

So I get out of the zoo.

I walk around. Sound it out. I quite like being invisible but I look at all the faces to see if there’s any I know from the old days. I take my time. And then, just after 1pm, I go to the bank, just like I promised Katie I would.

This is the bank with the horse. I didn’t appreciate how busy it would be. How long the queue. Patience is the name of the game. Don’t draw attention to yourself. Do it quietly. Be a grey man and then strike like a cobra. That’s what old Wrighty said inside. He was a master of armed robbery. I was good at it too until I got caught.

The queue shuffles forward. There is only one cashier. People tut and sigh. It is green and cool in here, like a forest where money grows.

The queue grows. I hang around a bit looking at the leaflets in the racks, pretending I am interested in savings accounts, current accounts. I put a frown on my face, a frown of concentration, that always says you’re serious. I can wait. I don’t want it this busy when I strike like a cobra.

“Hi Mark,”

She floors me. I didn’t anticipate Katie coming in here.

“It’s my lunch hour,” she laughs. “I’m not spying on you.”

“Oh,” I say.

The gun tucked into the elastic waistband of my jogging bottoms burns against my skin.

“Seen anything interesting?”

She nods at the round display of leaflets.

“Oh I’m just looking,” I say. “I was waiting till it gets a bit quieter.”

“That’s the desk over there for new accounts,” she says. “You don’t have to queue up and there’s no one waiting at the moment.”

“Oh, right, yes,” I say, screwing a smile to my face. Idiot prisoner released from prison. Don’t you know anything about the real world? I swallow my beating heart, the anger that she has walked in. How can I do it now with my probation officer in here?

I walk to the desk where a woman sits smiling.  Will she ask  me hundreds of questions like the coffee people?

“Can I help you sir?”

And then suddenly there is a bang. A huge flash and a bang and screaming and glass and I don’t know what it is; all I know is that I have to fall to the ground. There is fog everywhere. Katie is also on the floor. I crawl towards her on my belly like a sniper in Vietnam. She has bits of glass in her hair.

“Security fog,” I whisper. “Are you ok?”

I try to look through it. It is green and swirling and thick. People are screaming and shouting.

There is a big difference between being on the edge and being on the verge. A few moments ago I was on the edge, now I am on the verge and I leap from that verge and tackle the man in black in the green fog who has a gun in his hand. Katie shouts at me not to do it. A woman screams. But I have a gun and he has a gun and this is our stage and we are equal, we speak the same language. We are equal in this fog but they are all lying on the floor, terrified and eyes down and they do not see how I do it.

“You saved my life,” Katie says later as we sit outside on the pavement and she tries to work out what happened. Police cars are parked at right angles to the road with their blue lights flashing. This time they’re not for me. The man who tried to rob the bank has been removed by the firearms squad, handcuffed and roughly pushed into the back of a van. It was all quite spectacular. Now there are people sitting on the edge of the pavement shaking their heads and being handed cups of water by shop keepers. A man holds out a polystyrene cup to me and smiles. I take it, I smile back. It’s not that difficult. It might take me some practise but it’s not that difficult.

“Shall I go and get us a coffee?” I say, keen to show off  my new coffee acquiring skills.

Katie nods.

“That’s a good idea Mark,” she says, holding out a crinkled five pound note.  “Latte please. Two sugars.”

I head around the corner to the blue and white shutters of Café Nero.

Outside, I slide the gun out from my elastic waistband and drop it into a waste bin. I’ll pick it up later. Now I am on the verge of being a hero, I don’t want any evidence of being on the edge. Someone may have stolen my thunder today, but it’s there, rolling around in the distance, waiting for my tomorrow.


eyelands logo

9th annual London Greek Film Festival 2016 (15-21 May)
International Poetry Competition 2016
Odysseus Awards – Video Poetica
by London Greek Film Festival & Cosmocinema
Call for submissions
London Greek Film Festival invites Greek and International poets from around the world, to submit their poems.

Poems accepted in Greek and/or English language, from:
Greek Origin Poets from all over the world,
with no specific subject in their poems (Greek Diaspora & Greek-Cypriots included), or
Non Greek Origin Poets from all over the world,
with poems related to Greece (i.e. subject, myths, history, locations, philosophy, modern life, literature, theatre, science).
For more information and submissions, please visit our website.
Deadlines (on-line submission & email):
Regular deadline: 26 February 2016
Late deadline: 18 March 2016
Very late deadline and final: 8 April 2016
Website: http://www.londongreekfilmfestival.com
London Greek Film Festival
http://www.londongreekfilmfestival.com
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E-mail for press inquiries: press@londongreekfilmfestival.com

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LIZ GWINNEL: Maybe I’ll start a new story on that idyllic week in Crete. I still can’t believe I have won. Are you sure?!

Liz 1As it happens every year we interviewd our first prize winner. This year our judge Maria Psoma Petridou chose Liz Gwinell’s story «Waiting for my tomorrow» for the first prize of the eyelands’ 5th international story contest. So, it’s time to know about Liz, her stories, her plans and future hopes… while waiting for her next summer to enjoy her prize, a holiday vacations in Crete
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GREGORY: When we send you the first e-mail about the first prize you won, you didn’t believe it. It was funny you asked me again if it was true. But what did you feel when I reassured you that you were our first prize winner?

LIZ: When I first received the email saying that I needed to change my bio I didn’t have my glasses on! But when I put them on and read your suggestion that I should add “She won the first prize of the Eyelands 5th international short story contest…” I couldn’t quite believe it. There were 19 others on that short list let alone all the entrants from around the world. I didn’t really think you’d joke about a thing like that but I had to make sure I wasn’t dreaming!
liz2How did you learn about our contest?
I learned about the Eyelands competition from the Writers News magazine’s online site. It has a lot of useful information and I love a competition that gives you a theme. I was also tempted by the first prize…a holiday in Crete, now that would be the prize of all prizes.Have you ever visit Greece in the past? What do you remember from this travel?
I spent a lovely holiday in Crete many years ago with my mum. We stayed above a taverna in Milatos and embraced the Ouzo and the Greek dancing and my love of feta cheese and olives. We used to catch a bus to buy fruit and fish at the local market. Milatos was next to a village called Malia. The locals were very worried about the threat of development but hoped that the winding, twisting cliff road might save them. Sadly, years later, it didn’t and Malia is now what it is.
Some years later, I worked on a cruise liner for six months and was lucky enough to call in at several Greek islands. I visited the Oracle at Delphi, I saw the Acropolis in Athens and I remember the beautiful blue and white domes of Santorini and eating dinner by the sea as the sun set over the ocean. I also visited Rhodes and Mykonos where I bought a miniature windmill that I still have somewhere.

alt
Now, according to the rules you will travel to Greece, and Crete for vacations next summer. How do you feel about this?
I love Greece. I am so excited at going to Crete – my dad had a walking holiday in Kissamos last year and brought me back some salad servers made out of olive wood and soap made on the beach.You sent us one of the briefest bios ever, so I have a lot to ask you about… you. I only know that you live in Wiltshire, a county in South West England. So, tell me more about it.
I live in Trowbridge, Wiltshire once famous for its cloth making industry. It is about ten miles from the city of Bath and is a beautiful part of England. I feel very privileged to live here. I have three permanent cats and one sometime cat and live with my very best man who, I do believe could slay dragons bare handed if I asked him to.

Is it your birthplace?
I grew up in Reading but have always had links to Wiltshire. If Wiltshire is sanctuary, Reading was my cutting teeth teenage town. It has always had an edge to it and that is where I set Waiting For My Tomorrow.

What do you do for living?
I am a criminal defence solicitor and specialise in prison law. I represent prisoners at parole hearings and advise them on a wide range of issues. I work from home as a consultant for a London firm called Duncan Lewis. I travel quite a lot with my job and the journeys give me time to think. Sometimes I have to pull in to lay-bys or write on my knee at traffic lights if an idea for a story comes into my head.Are you plan to be a professional writer?
I suppose the definition of a professional writer is one who does it all the time and makes a living from it so that is not me. But I take my writing very seriously and get up early every morning to write before I start work. So in that sense, yes, I am a professional.When did you start writing stories?
I have written since I was a young child. I used to write to my oldest friend Morag in the days when people wrote letters. She went to boarding school and I used to send her stories about a family of cats having adventures.Tell me about your story. It’s a story of a man’s first days shortly after his releasing from prison. How did you come up with the idea?
I had the idea for Waiting For My Tomorrow when I went back to Reading in the early part of this year for a reunion with some old friends. I hadn’t been back for a while and I wondered what my old town thought of me now and what had happened to some of the people I used to know. . Then I got to thinking, what would it be like to go back to your home town after spending years in prison? I imagined it would be the day to day things that you noticed the most like the choice of coffee my character Mark is faced with or the development of mobile phones. I have heard many stories from the guys I represent and I love to listen to what they say. Mark isn’t based on any one of them but bits of all of them. I am a bit of a magpie. I pick up shiny words as I go through life and store them away for later.altHow would you describe your writing style?
It is hard to describe my writing style. I’ll let someone else do that! But I do try to write precisely and try to find just the right word instead of rambling on with overblown descriptions.I read also that you have won some prizes before. Have you always wrote short stories? Do you plan to write a novel?
I will continue to write short stories because I love writing. I saw an interview with Lionel Richie recently and he described getting an idea in the middle of a party or somewhere when he felt the lyrics to a new song coming on. He called that feeling “the mistress is coming”. I could identify strongly with that and so I don’t think I could stop writing even if I wanted to.Tell me a few words about your plans about your future writings.
Over the last year or so I have started to write longer fiction for children. There is something about writing for children that is completely magical. Maybe I’ll start a new story on that idyllic week in Crete. I still can’t believe I have won. Are you sure?!Thank you, Liz, yes I am sure, and look forward seeing you next summer in Crete!
Gregory Papadoyiannis

λογότυπο μικρότερο

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EYELANDS CONTEST:INTERNATIONAL SECTION: FIRST PRIZE:2014
The rain beats against his window, conniving entry. Sea birds call warning from their safe coves; thunder shouts them down. The sun sets over the world’s edge, the color of bitter mercury. Into the bowl, the sand falls grain by grain by grain by…A smile – neither grim nor blissful but certainly triumphant. He opens the window without worry now and smells the silent air. He reaches a hand out and touches the suspended drops.


Time-coverSETH LIBBY
Sandglass

His mother was gone by his first memory, disappeared into anecdote. Many offered their guesses at the trick (his aunt in a rare letter blamed illness, a neighbor claimed she walked into the sea). No one really knew. She was simply gone, magic. In her place, she left only a name: Helios, because he had been born with the sunrise.
Devious gods raised him. His father grew old early. By forty, he had the faraway eyes of the ancient generation. By fifty, he had begun mumbling myths in place of conversation.
“Apollo chases Daphne from beach to wood to high up the cliff tops. He will have her. Gods are not accustomed to rejection, son. Prayers, she pleads to the god’s twin, the sympathetic moon Diana, who lances Daphne with a tree root and turns her skin to bark.”
Such were the tales of his youth. They splattered his walls and messed his floors. He spent his days cleaning up their refuse, feeding their feeble teller. In addition, he was charged with divvying up and mixing medicines into the potions his father drank.
With growing expertise, he learned that grinding the tablets and combining their elements created unique results. If the stories became tiresome, a certain mixture stopped up his mouth. If the old man moaned for lack of sleep, another tweak sent him directly to his dreams. Slowly, his play spread from medicine into darker areas. His nights were devoted to creating small wonders in his flasks. He tamed fire, aged and rejuvenated houseplants. With the right recipe, he could summon voices to keep him company then scuttle them back to nothing again.
Sixteen years passed like this. Then Taryn arrived.
She appeared from nothing across his beach, born out of the sea foam. A dark, pretty woman, it was her dress that announced her to him: the way the sun clung to it, eager to radiate its purity, the way it contrasted with her dark limbs. He made no effort to call her over. She came over.
“You shouldn’t write in that,” she said, crouching down to finger the leaves of his tattered library book. The symbols were in pencil, indecipherable runes in a tight hand.
“It doesn’t matter. I’m not returning it.”
“They’ll fine you.”
“They’ll fine my father. He’s unlikely to notice.”
She transformed a small pile of sand into a seat and sat down a little distance from him. She smelled of salt and the sun. Her long hair fell over her face, leaving his book in shadows. “What’s it about?”
“Magic.”
“Are you a magician? Do you do tricks? Go on, do a trick.”
Suspicion kept him silent. Instead, he looked up at her with a goal of judging critically. She was tall, long in her limbs, with a wide mouth and large eyes the color of almonds in honey. To distract his oncoming nervousness, he took a handful of sand into his fist and let it pour out. She caught some of the grains and placed them in her pocket.
“A few magic grains might come in handy one day.”
He read the rest of the afternoon with her beside him, questioning random figures that hid his power. In the evening, they took slow steps back to her home at the top of a cliff. He discovered she was not new, but not long to remain. She had been born in this house and had come back to sell it.
“It’s a beautiful island,” she said standing at her door. “I’ll be sad to say goodbye.”
“When will that be?”
She took a few grains from her pocket and poured them in the space between them. The porch light made them glisten as if touched by the philosopher’s stone. The sea below discussed it in quiet conversation.
A murder of young men settled nearby, pecking away at their intimacy as they cawed and tossed bottles at the rocks below. Their figures, just out of the reach of the house lights, made intimidating shadows. His father’s myths came to mind, shades out of Hades.
“Who are they?”
“Friends, I guess you’d call them.”
Something in her tone told him not to push for a clearer answer. “Can I see you tomorrow?”
She smiled at that, stepped closer so he could smell the sea coming off her skin. “You want to see me?”
“Every day.”
“Every day it is then. It’s best to keep a magician happy.”

She surprised him the next day at his house. His father was slumped over in soiled underclothes, babbling another myth with porridge dribbling down his chin. “Old Tiresias told them so. ‘Get thee out of Thebes!’ But proud Oedipus stayed too long.”
“Sorry about that,” said Helios as he closed the door on the scene. “My father’s a bit…” He touched his finger to his temple.
“So you’re the magician, and your father’s the prophet, huh?”
“If you call blathering prophesy.”
“That’s his trick. What’s yours?”
He pulled her down the path to the beachfront. As he went, he chose judiciously from the branches and stones along the way. They rounded the island until they reached the foot of the cliff directly below her house. Helios led her along the craggy rocks into a small alcove.
“Watch your step,” he said. “Lots of glass here now.”
Settled deep within the cave, he waited a few minutes in silence. Taryn pulled her arms around herself. Once the sunlight hit the walls just right, he set to work. The branches he placed in careful order; he tore a few scraps from his shirt and pulled dry straw from his pockets. Striking the rocks together with expert motion, they sparked and set a small blaze.
Taryn gratefully warmed her hands in the flame, but he pulled her back. “That’s not the trick.”
From his back pocket came a small phial. With a deft flick of his wrist, the liquid disappeared into the fire. Smoke rose, threatened to overwhelm the cave, then suddenly coalesced into an obedient shape. And within that shape, a scene played.
Colors of magnificent power swirled around a descending ball. It floated from the top of the smoke down into the fire, over and over.
Taryn laughed. “A sunset! How did you do that?”
“Magicians and secrets, you know. I couldn’t tell.”
“Does it do anything else?”
“Only this, as long as I wish it.”
“Amazing.” She gazed at it for a long while. Then softly, she asked, “But surely you’ll get tired of it just doing the same thing with the same colors. Can’t you ever make it different?”
In a single swoop, his hand cut through the image and banished it. By the time the gasp had left her lips, the fire had fizzled down to a single stub of light, no brighter than a birthday candle.
He offered his hand to help her up. “Time to go home.”
For a days or weeks or months – he couldn’t remember exactly later – they walked the island together. When they were tired they sat upon the rough stones, when energetic they ran along the beach, when bored Helios entertained with his tricks. With so many transactions, the days quickly spent themselves.
One morning, she walked down more slowly from her hilly path. Careful steps led her to where he doodled with a sharp stone in the wet sand. The air was hot and unsatisfying. The sun, bashful at partings, hid itself behind layers of cloud.
Taryn made to speak but kept silent. Using a shell, she cut her own runes into the beach. After a short pause, she asked, “How many grains are there?”
“Infinity.”
“It must have taken so long.”
“Another infinity.”
“It’s perfect, though, isn’t it?”
“It was.”
“Come now, it would get as boring as your sunsets. Things need to change. We’d never be if it all had stayed the same.”
“Time turns cities into ruins.”
“But new cities come. Time also turned the rock into this beach.”
He threw his stone into the sea. It made a timid plop as a wave absorbed it. A million years and he would never see that same stone again. Taryn tucked her shell into her pocket.
“Time has killed Greece,” he said.
“Yet you’re still here. The islands are here. Your father would tell you the stories if you’d listen.”
Standing, she motioned for him to rise. They walked the same route they had taken that first day. The wind rose and pulled Taryn’s dark hair over her face. He smelled a promise of rain. The clouds pressed down. Step by step they marched over the territory until her door was in sight at the top of the ridge.
“Are you really going?”
She nodded. “Tonight.”
“Is there anything I can do to keep you here?”
With a smile, she laid a hand on his cheek. “I don’t think your magic is powerful enough for that. Besides—”
A vicious laugh cut her off. Out the door, a powerful man sauntered over. His open shirt exposed strong muscles under tanned skin. His manicured appearance suggested success, but somehow Helios sensed this was one of the wild shadows that haunted them that first night. The man laid a kiss on Taryn’s cheek. “We’ve got to be packing, sweetheart.”
“Jason…”
“Is this the young scamp who’s been keeping you busy all summer?”
“I haven’t kept her anything. She came along because she wanted to.”
“Sure, kid, no offense meant.” Then, turning to Taryn, “Listen, we’ve got to be getting ready. I have to catch that evening flight. I need to get back to civilization.”
“I’ll be along in a minute.”
“Sure. Nice meeting you, magic man.”
It might have proved a sweet parting, but a moment’s outrage inspired foolish mistakes. Helios leapt at this much larger man, tried to pull him down to the ground with an eye to wrestle him off the cliff. It was a pathetic scene. His arms wrapped around Jason’s neck, Jason’s expression between amused and annoyed, Taryn’s definitively the latter. With a light tap, Jason pushed Helios into the dust.
Jason readjusted his shirt and examined it for tears. “I don’t fight kids. Taryn, we don’t have time for this. You coming?”
She gave a last look, the only pathos she was now prepared to offer him. Taking Jason’s hand, she walked into her house without saying goodbye.
Helios haunted the island that night, pacing over every inch until he saw the blinking lights of the late-night flight. The next morning, he went up the cliff to her house, just to be sure of the truth. The lights were out, the door padlocked. A sign out front proclaimed it sold.
When he arrived home, he found his father with another breakfast splattered down his front. The old man banged on the table, the hand hitting with precision the latest letter from his aunt.
His father’s eyes were livid from some mysterious insult, but his voice could no longer reach angry volumes. Only a desperate whisper escaped. Instead of slander and outrage, his father spoke in the language he had developed since illness took his natural tongue:
“Baucis and Philemon, peasant farmers, were good and pious. Alone, they tended to their gardens until the gods came down and asked for charity for sport. Baucis and Philemon gave, more than they could afford. Pleased, the gods offered them any wish they wanted. ‘To be like this’ the couple said ‘and never change.’ The good gods smiled and turned them into two trees, immortally twisted together, an unchanging embrace we can still see today.”

Once Taryn left the island, she never wrote. She disappeared without a hint of evidence just as all beautiful things do when time attacks them. A long rainy season fell upon the island. Eventually the heat returned and baked the stone and sand again. She did not return. She never returned. As she predicted, his magic failed to bring her back.
His father died. His magic grew. The sun rose and fell a thousand times unobserved. His ambition changed. Never mind Taryn or the many others who had disappeared from him in the maddening ebb of years. His spells prospered and kept him company.
Then at last, he finds it, the right recipe hidden on the last page of an ancient book. The ingredients take months to procure. The rains return and pass away. The rains return again.
He pours out a dozen vials and conjures a fire of just the right heat. The sun is setting in shades of silver, marking in shadow a long abandoned house; the mixture bubbles. The voices of his past speak up: his father’s ramblings, Taryn’s enchanted laughter, and a sweet voice he does not recognize.
The rain pours, the sea waves crash.  The roots of strange trees, the bones of foreign birds: into the potion they go. The mixture swirls itself, calls out for its final ingredient.
The moment is here. He sprinkles in the sand grain by grain by grain. All at once, the colors twist into each other and turn black. The liquid thickens. There is no time, he empties in the last few grains. The substance twirls around the bowl faster and faster until with a crack of light, it turns solid as stone.
The waves out his window are arrested in their crest, raindrops levitate in suspension. The last grin of gray sunlight steadies itself on the house on the top of the hill. The voices quiet, shriveling up in his frozen bowl. Helios looks out at that final glimmer of unchanging sun illuminating the rooftop of an empty house. For minutes or hours he stares, daring the day to finally end. It refuses, stubborn in its constancy. Silence counts the time, uninterrupted silence.
With a sigh, he throws the bowl onto the ground. The contents shatter into pieces, then melt and drain away into the floorboards. The rain begins its pouring again, the sea its rumbling. The sun gives a final wink and snuffs itself out against the hillside. Helios tosses his spell book out into the evening. He puts a cloak around his shoulders and goes to walk into the sea.


*
Seth Libby
is a 28-year-old writer from the United States. Brought up in small towns all across America, he developed an interest in literature at an early age, often reading through his classes and being sent away to the library. His interest in writing dates back to his childhood, but really became a passion in his teenage years. He wrote comics and film scripts with friends in high school before taking up short stories and longer fiction in his university years. Since 2005, he has lived mostly out of the United States, first as a university student, and later as a teacher of English. He now lives in Moscow, Russia with his wife. Along with teaching and writing, he has taken on duties as a writer and editor for Rabona Magazine, a journal about international football. He has recently completed his first novel and is looking for a publisher.