Tag Archives: Sharon Telfer

Sharon Telfer
February 2019 Commended

Her safe word is ‘circus’

by Sharon Telfer

But that’s before trombone blares clarinet reedy squeaks bass drum thrums and clowns slick her lips oversize scarlet her nose glows holly berry and what’s with her feet seee them streeeetch still everyone knows clowns are scary right so here’s that word slipping through kiss-stopped smack by whiskery sea-lion bark the candystripe ball bouncing to and fro to and fro never dropping dipping into silver-slippery fish pail dipping for silver-glistening prize then whipcrack reels her back a necklace of teeth cradles her throat her head deep in a red raw meat furnace blazing and this must be it now must be no leopard-skin strongman diabolos her up on dappled appaloosa thumpety thump splayed arms she’s tread tread treading thighs to that pounding rump round and round that very second as she’s giddy-sliding her teeth bite, hard, and up she rises in glitterball twirl hanging on nothing but a smile while her toes find a line a fine one and sole by sole she chalks forward her body eeling this way that held up by held breath only and there it is the board she’s going to make it don’t look down the great O below her she looks down her arms wing back legs like clappers ringing a five-bell peal but firm fingers snatch her tipping ankles wrists spin her spirals loops somersaults ‘til hands release a great gasp gusts from under and she’s comet tailing sequins falling no net falling yet here come the clowns again sirenning in hosing glitter while wheels fall off circling like a flower blooming and she lands on her back like a starfish safe at last in the bull’s-eye of the pulled white sheet.

About the Author

After cutting her teeth on Ad Hoc Fiction, Sharon Telfer won the Bath Flash Fiction Award in June 2016. She has also won the Reflex Fiction Prize, and been selected for Best Microfiction 2019. In 2018, she was awarded the New Writing North/Word Factory Apprenticeship for emerging short story writers. She is an editor at FlashBack Fiction, an online litmag showcasing historical flash. She lives near York, UK, and tweets as @sharontelfer.

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Interview with Sharon Telfer
June 2016 Flash Fiction First Prize

sharon-telfer-on-hills

Our first prize winner for June, 2016, Sharon Telfer, nearly didn’t enter her winning piece because she thought it wasn’t ‘the right sort of thing.’ So her advice is to cast aside such judgements, take the leap and enter. Read more in our interview about her writing methods, which include getting away from the desk to solve knotty problems.

Read in Full

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Sharon Telfer
June 2016 First Prize

Terra Incognita

by Sharon Telfer

The galleys wallow home, bellies low with other men’s gold. The sailors stagger to the brothels. The masters go first to banker, barber, court, then to the mapmaker.

On lookout, she spies them, stumbling over cobbles, ducking the jutting houses.

She whispers each name so her father can greet them. They sit heavily, still unsteady on the unmoving land. She brings soft cheese, cherries, peaches – whatever is ripe.

They spill their stories before the solid ground can make them fast. They tell of days when the sun never sets or never rises, birds that swim but cannot fly, great fish that sing, of smoking mountains, shrieking ice, forests where men become trees, one-footed men, dog-headed men, waves as high as cathedral bells, seas as still as death. They have sailed so far they have gazed at unfamiliar stars and wondered how they are to find their way back.

She replenishes the wine, sharpens quills. Their salty eyes, narrowed as horizons, navigate the billows of her dress, each swell and dip, seeking always somewhere to make landfall, claim dominion.

They go, at last, to wives or mistresses. She puts the shutters up and bars the door. Her father rubs his milky eyes, pushes away the notes he can no longer read, unrolls the vellum. The grid is ready, the compass rose points north.

She takes the quill. Her father puts his hand over hers. Together, they fix the stories they have heard. The feather swoops, charts the safe harbour, skirts the reef. This is where she will paint the puffing winds, here devouring monsters, there pattern those strange constellations. Beyond this line, nothing; the map waits.

The mapmakers work late in the closed room, conjuring from ink and skin new worlds neither will ever see.

About the Author

Sharon TelferSharon loves writing anything but author bios. She works as a freelance writer and editor turning complex research into short, clear prose. She discovered flash fiction through Twitter in 2015. She’s won the @FaberAcademy and @AdHocFiction competitions and is published in the 2016 National Flash Fiction Day anthology. Her shortest winning story is a six-word sci-fi for the Arvon Foundation. Her essay on Angela Carter’s inspirational tales won the 2014 Thresholds Feature Writing Competition.
Say hello on Twitter: @sharontelfer.

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