A very, very, very long time ago in 2019, before the big ‘P’, I launched a novella competition. It has long been a dream of mine to branch out into books and I’ve been keen to revive the popular Victorian pastime of a Ghost Story for Christmas. I wanted to create the Ghastling’s own contemporary version and I’m really thrilled to say the very first edition will be published in the autumn! We had some really great submissions and it took a long time to decide but now we are happy to reveal our three winners to you :
First Prize: Eluned Gramich – Sleep Training (to be published Autumn 2021)
Elin, Mark, and their 8-month-old son Padarn move into a new house on the eve of the pandemic. Life seems to be on track: Mark has his new job, and Elin is in love with their new home. That is until Padarn begins crying uncontrollably at night when a shadowy presence makes itself felt in the corners of the nursery…
A baby that won’t sleep. A fracturing marriage. A ghost story about buried pasts and unravelling minds…
This book was a clear winner from the outset. It is a story that addresses and explores motherhood and female experience; childbirth and postnatal depression with authenticity. This story breaks the mould of a typical ‘haunted house’ ghost story. The characters harbour real demons and fears that exist in the world as we see it today – making the book ultimately relatable and an even more unsettling read.
Eluned Gramich is a writer and translator from west Wales. Her memoir of her time in Hokkaido, Japan, Woman Who Brings the Rain, won the inaugural New Welsh Writing Awards in 2015 and went on to be shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year in 2016. Her work has appeared in anthologies and magazines, including Stand, Planet, New Welsh Review, The Lonely Crowd, Wales Arts Review, and on BBC Radio 4. Her most recent essay is included in the anthology Women on Nature (Unbound Books). She lives in Cardiff with her husband and toddler. Twitter: @egramich
Second Prize: Stuart Croskell – Boo Theory
Award-winning American journalist Cali Deschamps travels to England to participate in a science-based experiment using true-hologram tech to imitate and bait real ghosts. The investigation takes place at Gwel an Mor in Cornwall, the house where her twin sister, movie starlet Piper, appears to have killed herself. But none of those who enter the house are prepared for the tsunami of terrifying paranormal phenomena unleashed when the fake tech-version of the White Lady is let loose.
Stuart Croskell is the UK-based author of a fast-growing portfolio of short stories published on both sides of the Atlantic. These have appeared in anthologies (ebook and trad print), including: Storgy Books (UK) ,Shallow Creek, April 2019,Tell-Tale Press (USA), Tales of Mystery and Crime, Nov 2019; Owl Canyon Press (USA), When the Ride Ends, March 2020; Tell-Tale Press (USA), Nabu Carnevale, Crime, June 2020; Eerie River Press (Can), When the Forest Calls Vol 2, Aug 2020; Dark Owl Press (USA), A Celebration of Storytelling, Dec 2020; Dark Owl Press (USA), Something Wicked Rides This Way, July 2021.
Third Prize: Victoria Day – Greven Hall
Greven Hall is a late-Victorian set novella of questioned paternity, adultery, ghostly revenge and passionate love from beyond the grave.
Victoria Day lives in North Yorkshire with her family, two border terriers and a ridiculous amount of books. Her work has appeared in Ghosts and Scholars, Nebula Tales, The Ghastling, Vault of Evil, Sarob Press, Supernatural Tales and The Silent Companions.
Congratulations Eluned, Stuart and Victoria! And thank you to all our patrons for helping me to make this happen! If you would like to help The Ghastling to create more opportunities like this and support an indie publisher please check out our Patreon page to see what goodies you can receive in return!