Flash Fiction Contest | European Winner 2021

After a challenging journey, with 2000 texts running from the beginning of the competition, our EACWP Jury has finally come to a consensus for the final results of the third edition of our Flash Fiction Contest. Six authors representing Portuguese, Danish, Swedish, Dutch (Belgium), Dutch (The Netherlands) and Hebrew were our 2021 European finalists

For this third edition, 2000 texts were received from February, 26th. to April, 30th. After a tight and competitive race, the EACWP 2021 Jury is delighted to officially announce the final results of the third edition of our  Flash Fiction Contest.

Taking Eurovision’s voting system as a model, this year, five European authors have reached the final stretch to the honour roll: one final winner, one runner-up and three finalists.

With 81 points, the 2021 winning text is the one entitled The Caretaker, by Sandra Henriques from Barreiro (Portugal).  And with 67 points the 2021 runner-up text is Army of trees, by Signe Kierkegaard Cain from Kastrup (Denmark). You can review the full contest results here.

This year, the popular vote has been awarded to Grandpa, by Jilly Naaijen, representing the Dutch language from The Netherlands. Congratulations!

Additionally, this year the second finalist in the competition, with 50 points, goes to two different participants tied at the same score: the text entitled Bicycle, by Geert Simonis from Belgium and the text entitled Grandpa, by Jilly Naaijen from The Netherlands  (favoured by 3 extra-points from the popular votes).

On behalf of the EACWP family, we would like to thoroughly congratulate Sandra, our European winner 2021 and Signe, our runner-up 2021, as well as the three European finalists along with all the participanting authors. Ultimately, we would also like to deeply thank the valuable and voluntary work of the jury, the translators and the different participating institutions for their engagement over the full process of the contest. Thank you all for heeding the call and for accepting the challenge of continuing to  dream and write Europe!

See you in our next edition!

European Winning Flash Fiction Text 2021

Portuguese

A Encarregada


Todas as manhãs, Albertina abre o portão mesmo que não venham visitas. Varre os trilhos entre os lotes, junta as folhas caídas numa pilha ao lado do barracão e abre latas de atum para os gatos do bairro.


Depois senta-se no banquinho de plástico ao guichê. com a sua revista das cusquices das celebridades. Para pretexto de conversa, não para ler.


Todas as manhãs, eles vêm, curiosos, espreitam por cima do ombro dela pelo postigo e sussurram-lhe, “o que há lá fora?”


“Nada”, responde Albertina enfastiada, sem levantar os olhos da revista. E, um a um, resignados, regressam às sepulturas.

The Caretaker

Every morning, Albertina opens the gate, even if no visitors come. She sweeps the trails between the lots, gathers fallen leaves in a pile next to the shed and opens cans of tuna for the neighborhood cats.

Then, she sits on the little plastic stool in the admission booth, with her celebrity gossip magazine. Just for the sake of conversation, not to read.

Every morning, they come, curious, lurking over her shoulder by the window and whispering to her: “What’s out there?”

“Nothing,” Albertina replies, annoyed, without lifting her eyes from the magazine. And one by one, resigned, they return to their graves.

  • Author: Sandra Henriques

European Runner-up Flash Fiction Text 2021

Danish

Træernes hær

Det første træ, der udvandrer, er det mindste; blommetræet, som vi lige har plantet. Planteskolearmbåndet sidder stadig på, da det trækker sine spinkle rødder op og spæner over plænen. Det er så spædt, at jeg tænker, vinden vil tage det. Vinden vil løfte det op og bære det over villatagene, plante det i en anden have, måske så langt væk som på den anden side af legepladsen. Men træet holder sig ved jorden, tager fortovet, løber med de letteste fjed uden at ramme stregerne.

Army of trees

The first tree to leave is the smallest; the plum tree we just planted. Its nursery bracelet still attached, it upheaves its spindly roots and dashes across the lawn. It’s so slight I think the wind will take it; that the wind will pick it up and carry it over the suburban rooftops, plant it in some other garden, perhaps as far away as the other side of the playing field. But the tree stays grounded, uses the pavement, runs with the lightest of steps without touching the cracks.

  • Author: Signe Kierkegaard Cain
  • Translator: Martin Aitken

Finalists’ Texts 2021

Finalist # 1

Swedish

Akureyri

Den dagen hade det stått GO HOME på hans och polackernas skåp, skrivet med spritpenna. Han bytte om och började måla som ingenting, trots det vassa som rev inuti. Om någon hade frågat något skulle han ha gått sönder, där på en smutsig byggarbetsplats i Akureyri, men ingen gjorde det. Efteråt tog han vägen förbi en av de heta källorna. Det var då som himlen började vibrera och något grönskimrande, vilt, bröt sig ut. Tårarna rann, hela han ett med naturen. Det var inte vad någon annan velat, men det var så det kom sig att han stannade kvar.

Akureyri

That day someone had written GO HOME with a felt-tip pen on his and the other Poles’ cabinets. He changed into his overalls and started painting like nothing had happened, despite the sharpness that tore him apart from inside. If anyone had asked him anything, it would have broken him, there on a dirty construction site in Akureyri, but no one did.

Afterwards he took the road past one of the hot springs. It was then that the sky began to vibrate and something shimmering green, wild broke forward. His tears flowed, he was one with nature. It was not what anyone else would have wanted, but that was why he stayed.

  • Author: Sofie Gisslén

Finalist # 2

Dutch (Belgium)

Dutch (Belgium)

Tweewieler

Toen ik na een lange dagtocht volkomen afgepeigerd het Rode Plein opfietste, wist ik het ontvangstcomité moeiteloos te vinden. Het verwachte gejuich bleef echter uit. Nikita maakte zelfs geen aanstalten de fles zelfgestookte wodka die hij had meegebracht te ontkurken. Konstantin liep met open armen en tranen in de ogen op me af. “Wat is er gebeurd?” wilde hij weten. “Overvallers of terroristen?” viel Leonid hem meteen in de rede. Ik zette verward mijn helm af, inspecteerde vluchtig mijn fluovestje en bagage, toen pas begreep ik hun onrust. Ergens tussen Michnevo en Moskou was Gunther van de tandem gedonderd.

Bicycle

When, at the end of a long daytrip I cycled onto the Red Square utterly spent, it took little effort on my part to localise the welcoming committee. However, the expected cheer failed to arise. Nikita even abstained from uncorking the bottle of home-made vodka he had brought for the occasion. Konstantin, all teary-eyed, walked up to me with open arms. “What happened?” he enquired. “Muggers or terrorists?” Leonid suddenly interrupted. Somewhat confused, I took off my helmet, quickly inspected my fluorescent vest and backpack and only then did I realise the reason for their anxiety. Somewhere between Michnevo and Moscow, Gunther had fallen off the tandem.

  • Author: Geert Simonis
  • Translator: Willem Groenewegen

Dutch (The Netherlands)

Opa

We moesten opschieten nu. Over drie weken moest het klaar zijn voor de eerste zomergasten. Ik had oma geholpen met de online advertentie. Het zag er gelikt uit, maar we wisten allebei dat we er nog niet waren. Eerst moesten we opa kwijt. Opa die al jaren niet meer de deur uit wilde en het tuinhuisje bezette met enkel zijn ouderdom. Oma zou dat deel op zich nemen. Terwijl ze op het erf naast het huisje de laatste hand legde aan de diepe kuil schreef ik de oneliner die onze gasten zou moeten aantrekken: “Great location for a short stay“.

Grandpa

We had to hurry now. In three weeks everything needed to be ready for the first summer guests. I had helped grandma with the online advertisement. It looked slick, but we both knew we were not quite there yet. First we had to lose grandpa. Grandpa, who had not wanted to leave the house in years and occupied the garden shed with just his old age. Grandma would take care of that part. While she put the last touches to the deep ditch on the lawn next to the shed, I wrote the one liner that would have to draw in our guests: “Great location for a short stay.”

  • Author: Jilly Naaijen

Finalist # 3

מדוזה

היא סובבה את המפתח לכיוונה ושלפה אותו, חותכת את הפזמון השני של השיר. אפר נשבר
והתפזר על שוק רגלה ועל שטיח המכונית. היא קיללה והעיפה את הבדל מהחלון. בחצר הבית ניצבו אישה ואיש, שקועים בשיחה. היה משהו מטעה בזקנה שלהם. הם נראו שלווים, רכים, כמעט טובים.

בחוץ בער אוגוסט. היא העיפה מבט אל החלון שהיה חדרה ותהתה אם המיטה בה שכבה
יומיים, גוססת – עדיין שם. עשרים ושתים שנים עברו מאז שברחה. מוחקת כל סימן לעבר, זיכרון, רגש. תלתלי הזהב שלה התפתלו כמו שערות ראשה של מדוזה בזמן שהיא נעצה בהם מבט. היא פתחה את

הדלת, אחזה בתיק והתחילה לפסוע לכיוונם.

Medusa

She pulled the key out of the ignition, cutting the song short. Ash broke and scattered in the car. She threw the stub out the window, swearing. A couple stood outside, deep in conversation. There was something misleading about their old age. They seemed soft, almost good.

Outside, August was burning. She looked up at the window and wondered if the bed she lay in for days, dying, was still there. Its been twenty years since she left.
Her golden locks swirled like Medusa
s while she stared at the couple. She opened the door and started walking in their direction.

  • Author: Asaf Dvori