Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The 2015 I Must Be Off! Travel Writing Competition -- The Winners!

I hope you've been keeping up with this year's competition. We had an incredible variety of entries from almost all corners of the planet. Over 300 people from 43 countries sent in stories. Many of them, even though they did not make it into the semifinalist and finalist rounds, were memorable and very well written. Narrowing such a wide pack down to 30 semifinalists was very difficult, and shaving that number down to 10 finalists was Herculean.

Much thanks goes to Catherine Sweeney, this year's judge*. She loved all of the top ten entries, so it was very difficult for her to choose "winners". Winners, though, must be chosen in a competition. So here they are:

First Place 
A Leaf on the Wind by Joel Hindson (UK)

Second Place
Burning My Boots in Cabo Fisterra by Gabriella Brand (USA)

Highly Commended
Discovering Hen Rice in Viet Nam by Chris Galvin (Canada)
Sweet Homes by David Joseph (USA)
Crossing the Gibb by Gillian Brown (Scotland/Australia)

Readers' Choice Award
Discovering Hen Rice by Chris Galvin (Canada) 

The entries with the highest number of comments and hits divided by the number of days online: Barbara Amalberti's "Vientiane: Then and Now" (453÷54, 13 comments), Stacey Venzel's "On a Terrace in Peru" (458÷37; 18 comments) Maricarmen Ferrant's "A Vision Called Tutotepec" (688÷49; 9 comments), David Joseph's "Sweet Homes" (650÷43; 10 comments), and Chris Galvin's "Discovering Hen Rice in Viet Nam" (1432÷46; 18 comments). Barbara Vientiane is from Italy, Stacey Venzel from the USA, Maricarmen Ferrant from Mexico, David Joseph from the USA, and Chris Galvin from Canada. 

Again, thank you to everyone who entered the 2015 I Must Be Off! Travel Essay competition. Congratulations to the finalists and the semifinalists. As this is a free competition, you haven't lost. You've written, and I hope you'll continue to write. I'll be here next year, and I hope you'll participate again. As always it will be free.

Until next year . . .

I must be off,

*All entries were read blind by the judge, which means all authors' names were removed from the entries.


Christopher Allen is the 2015 recipient of the Ginosko Literary Journal's award for flash fiction. His work appears in Indiana Review, Eclectica Magazine, Night Train, Camroc Press Review, Contrary and over 100 other journals. Read his book reviews in [PANK), The Lit Pub, Necessary Fiction and more. A former finalist at Glimmer Train, Allen is also a multiple nominee for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. Originally from Tennessee, Allen now splits his time between Munich and Dublin.