First prize winner in University of Liverpool’s 2022 short story competition which had the theme of ‘Looking forward, looking back’.
My story, ‘Don’t Point at the Sun’, is to be published in The Great Read anthology which will launch at the Liverpool Literary Festival in October 2022.
The judging panel included:
Dinah Birch, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Cultural Engagement and Professor of English Literature.
Frank Shovlin, Professor of Irish Literature in English, Institute of Irish Studies.
Saul Leslie, University of Liverpool PhD candidate and 2021 ‘Postgraduate’ category winner.
Dr Danny O’Connor, Colm Tóibín Lecturer in Creative Writing, Department of English.
First prize winner of the Northern Short Story Festival 2017 Flash Fiction Slam.
Phil performed his short story ‘The Haunted Pan’ at Leeds Big Bookend’s second annual #NoShoSto Festival.
First prize winner of Writing on the Wall’s WoWFest2016 Flash Fiction competition.
WoWFest2016 was sci-fi themed and Phil’s ‘Orrery’ was announced as the winning 500 word short story which answered the brief of ‘The Ninth Planet’.
First prize winner of Book Week Scotland 2014 Flash Fiction competition.
“I chose ‘Red Eye Reduction’ to be the overall winner because the story managed to combine so many elements with apparently so little effort. Structuring the narrative around the entirely visualisable but oddly abstract activity which is computer picture editing, the writer was able to handle characterisation while pulling in the other thematic strands with humour and panache.”
—Helen Lynch, Book Week Scotland 2014 competition judge, author and lecturer at University of Aberdeen
Shortlisted for the STORGY Flash Fiction Competition 2019.
Phil’s 500 word story, ‘Undocumented Movements of a Lost Canary’ was selected as one of the thirty finalists.
Finalist in NYC Midnight’s Short Story Challenge 2019.
Written to strict genre, subject and character constraints, Phil’s horror story placed 2nd in its heat. Progressing to round two, his political satire also placed in the top 3 of its heat, securing him a place in the final.
“This story is wonderfully strange, imaginative, and engaging. I loved how there is this sense that everything is both familiar and unfamiliar at once—how you were able to make the familiar strange. It is a good feeling to have as a reader!
The opening paragraph is marvelously hallucinatory, and you do excellent work creating a believable alternate world. I loved Emily as a character; her dialogue is funny and also gives a lot of information about the world.
The details are likewise excellent, and I loved the lines, “It was as though he was trapped inside the monitor. A burial box with a grey glass lid.” Great title and fun ending.”
—NYC Midnight judge (Final Round), Short Story Challenge 2019
Finalist in NYC Midnight’s Short Story Challenge 2018.
Written to strict genre, subject and character constraints, Phil’s comedy ‘Pull Together to Pull it Off’ was placed in the top 3 of its heat. Progressing to round two, Phil’s drama ‘Frontier Control’ also placed in the top 3 of its heat, securing him a place in the final.
“This story was extremely enjoyable to read. It was witty and genuinely funny; the office environment and conflict didn’t need much explanation, leaving the author room to dedicate most of the story to the hilarious micro-aggressions of the Plan B team. The author has a good handle on comedic pacing and shifting time; transitions occured naturally throughout.”
—NYC Midnight judge (Round 1), Short Story Challenge 2018
“I loved the voices of the characters. The dialogue was so fresh, clever, witty, and kept me engaged all the way through. The humor gave the story such a nice twist and unique tone. The characters felt layered and realistic. The weaving in of the radio was interesting and creative.”
—NYC Midnight judge (Round 2), Short Story Challenge 2018
Shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award in October 2017.
Competition judge David Swann selected Phil’s flash fiction story ‘Single Use’ for the shortlist of twenty.
Longlists and Honourable Mentions
Honourable Mention in Round 1 of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge 2022
“The dialogue really crackles and shines in “Walk and Talk.” The regionalisms are authentic and entertaining. The title couldn’t be more appropriate since it’s the “talk” between the characters that really holds the readers’ attention.”
—NYC Midnight judge (Round 1), Short Story Challenge 2022
Honourable Mention in Round 1 of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge 2021
“What different sort of ghost story you have written with ‘The Tower Grounds Waltz’. I was engaged, entertained, and I got a history lesson too. Your style is easy to follow and prompts the reader to visualize the scene. I watched Les move the blue screen in my head… as I watched much of this story. It’s like watching a film. Sure, a story should do this, but some stories are better at this than others. I found that this story really, really put the scene into my head, and easily. Thanks for the fine writing.”
—NYC Midnight judge (Round 1), Short Story Challenge 2021
Honourable Mention in Round 1 of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge 2020
“Great reveal. The transition from the everyday, mundane to more fantastical elements works perfectly. You turn what seems like a simple mixup into something far more intriguing.
You mix darker elements into the narrative well, building a real sense of unease and motivation for Herbert.”
—NYC Midnight judge (Round 1), Short Story Challenge 2020
Fourth place in Challenge #1 of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2019
“This story features excellent small details that add up to a sense of reality as we do live it; for example, how “Phyllis frantically moved Sunday supplements, coasters and envelopes around on the coffee table looking for a pen.” You’ve cleverly tied the detail of the commercial calls into the ending, which is great and also sad—that final line is wonderful.
Excellent metaphor for the banner: “a line-up of fragments of football players from a decade-long match with a constantly fluctuating score-line. No real winners.” But the dialogue is where this story truly shines! I loved when his mother says, “Are you on drugs? Belle Vale’s been demolished.” The whole scene where Millie rips into Marcus is fabulous: “‘No. No, Millie, I was trying to show that I did believe he would wake up. “Get well eventually”. “Get well whenever you’re ready”.’ Excellent title.”
—NYC Midnight judge (Round 1), Flash Fiction Challenge 2019