Competition Winner: Peter Hankins - Exisle Publishing
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Exisle Academy is our course program dedicated to training the next generation of authors, enabling them to navigate the confusing and challenging world of writing and publishing, and share their message with the world.

We hold regular writing competitions for authors both inside and outside the academy, and our theme for March was ‘WHEN THE MACHINE ARRIVED’.

Below is a message from CEO Gareth St John Thomas for all our entrants, and a link to the winning story by Peter Hankins.



“Our judges read over 350 entries for the ‘WHEN THE MACHINE ARRIVED’ writing competition. To all those who entered, thank you for being part of it. You and your fellow writers sent in work across all the major writing genres. There were many children’s entries, some quality poetry, some light-hearted and some very serious non-fiction, while fiction entries ranged from horror stories to science fiction and high drama.

We read through lots of fights between dogs, cats, humans, personalised robots, and self-propelled vacuum cleaners. We encountered wide-eyed astonishment as the first TVs, dishwashers, food mixers and more made their appearance. So too did quite a lot of badly piloted alien spaces ships, early railway engines and fearful machines for factory-style agriculture!

The time ‘when the machine arrived’ was, under writerly reflection, almost never considered to be good news. The technology was either inexplicable (well, have you ever tried to program a video player?) or destructive of ways of life or ways of being, and frequently violent. What set apart our first-placed story, The Mechanical Jesus, was how beautifully the ironic and unintended consequences of machinery and technology were rendered.

Though standards varied considerably, common to all entrants — and I find this exciting — was creative thoughtfulness. The world needs that, so congratulation to you all on your work.”

-Gareth St John Thomas, CEO, Exisle Publishing / EK Books

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