Free February Modern Art Writing Competition


First Prize

Painting History

by Jacob Kyte

      I almost choked as I walked in. At first you didn’t see me, so I set up my canvas at the spare easel. You removed your robe and took your place on the chaise longue. That’s when I caught your eye.

      You seemed to stare straight through me, just like you always did; never giving anything away. And although you laid there naked before me, I was left once again to interpret your silence.

© Jacob Kyte

Inspired by The Poetry of Rest which has been posted to Jacob Kyte as his prize.

I chose this piece because, although a simple narrative, it contains a history and a future. It  'stayed with me' and I couldn't get it out of my head. It shows - without telling - how the relationship has been difficult in the past and the model's actions during this incident confirmed the main character's situation that was both confusing and helpless. It created insight without being introspective.

~  Bern Ross

Runners up

These three 75 word fictional pieces were also strongly considered for first prize and deserve publication for the way they say so much in so few words :

Eleanor Heneghan

Canine Consolation

A bootlace strangled my left ankle and I collapsed onto ground that was quilted with snow. The others were now microscopic. I don’t think they turned around once to check I was still in pursuit, but regular visits from Hudson about every twenty minutes punctuated the isolation. He would return with a fresh stick, larger and more potentially harmful than the last. I narrowly escaped being bludgeoned and rose to my feet again. 

© Eleanor Heneghan 2017

Inspired by Keeping on Track

A story in 75 words is a challenge in itself. Not many people know that.

Paul Warnes


For years I have watched over you, watched your shadow in the moonlight edge further from home, your branches stretch and brush our cottage roof. When you were small I cut the stake that tethered you, stripped the creeping ivy that strangled you, raked the leaves that you shed like tears as the cold came.

“Is tree dying?” my daughter asked one spring when blossom iced the ground. No, the blossom always returns.

© Paul Warnes 2017

Inspired by Welcome

Oonah Shiel


When he left he took the framed poster of Vancouver but he left the poster from the Red film. I liked Red. It was the final film from that trilogy by Kieslowski. We had two red-haired children and a brunette. I was smaller when he left. Belittled. Afraid. Cut down. The children cried when we split up. I drew strength from the word “red”. I used it to focus on. Burning. Bright. Alive. Here. OK.

© Oonagh Shiel 2017

Inspired by Sea Breeze


Thank you to EVERYONE who took part. Check back often to see when the next competition will be launched.