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Meet Veronica Bright, Flash Fiction judge 2016

Which writers or poets inspire you and why?

Where do I start? I’m inspired by people who write compassionately about the characters in their books. Rachel Joyce does this particularly well in The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennesey, and Anne Tyler has a gift for taking very ordinary people, and making the reader understand what makes them tick. Emma Healey inspired me with her book Elizabeth is Missing. Maud, her long-suffering daughter Helen, and her lively grand-daughter Katy were real and the writer made it so easy for me to empathise with them.

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Meet Ingrid Jendrzejewski – flash fiction judge 2016

Which writers or poets inspire you and why?

So many writers and poets have inspired me, it hardly seems fair to select out a few, but I’ll try!

Jorge Luis Borges was an important early influence – when I came across Labyrinths on my parents’ bookshelf, I felt like I’d been socked in the face with its originality. Those stories made me aware that so much more could be done with fiction than I had ever considered.

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Meet Anne Wilson – short story judge 2016

Which writers or poets inspire you and why?

I am inspired by both the stories and writing style of Joyce Carol Oates; the realism and pathos of her characters and their lives is incredible and her sheer output is an inspiration in itself; also, Lisa St Aubin de Teran and JG Ballard. I currently find most Scandi Noir inspiring, I like a dark twist, and have been impressed by a number of new authors who have written amazing stories.

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Meet Stephanie Hutton – flash fiction judge 2016

Which writers or poets inspire you and why?

My love of shorter fiction started from reading one of Adam Marek’s stories in an anthology. I was stunned by his story Tamagotchi and realised that you really can write about anything (possible or not) and achieve so much in just a few paragraphs. Reading Raymond Carver reminds me of the stunning impact that can be made through short stories using simple language. I then moved to ‘short-short’ stories, my now beloved flash fiction. There are many fantastic writers out there who can condense a whole world into one page, often leaving a tantalising ambiguity; Tania Hershman, Kathy Fish, David Gaffney and so many more that I may only read one story by in an anthology, but am motivated and educated by it.

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Meet Tessa Foley – poetry judge for 2016

Which writers or poets inspire you and why?

Pablo Neruda is one of my all-time favourite poets; he was able to take seemingly ordinary words and phrasings and regenerate them in to something amazingly seductive yet fragile. His poetry seems to me to be a contradiction in itself – the Marilyn Monroe of verse!

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Meet Marcia Woolf – short story judge 2016

Which writers or poets inspire you and why?

I find that the best storytellers are the ones who genuinely want to draw you in, engage you, fascinate you, amuse you, make you feel and understand and learn. They’re the ones who bring the reader and the story together in such a way that you almost forget the writer was ever there. I’m much less excited by writers who have a style that shows off their storytelling skills. I hate to be distracted by the mechanism.

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Meet Alex Reece Abbott – flash fiction judge 2016

Which writers or poets inspire you and why?

I read widely and across forms. Without doing a fan-list of short, short fiction, I particularly admire Kathy Fish’s stories – honed and very complete, yet they retain impact and emotional power. Lorrie Moore for memorability; Etgar Keret for his dark humour; Lydia Davis for her concise writing. Gay Degani for the resonance she achieves in her stories. Eavon Boland for capturing a moment. And, Katherine Mansfield for her observation and timelessness.

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