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Thursday, January 14, 2021


With the current curfew — and more specifically the ban on alcohol — the planned January St Clements’ soiree has been postponed for The Mic to Ike’s (Joanne Rushby and Ashwin Desai in conversation) as well as “Mondays at Six” going forward.

Meanwhile, thanks are offered to those who entered Pieter Scholtz’s Bells/Belles of St Clements short story contest. The plan was to announce the winner — and read the winning story — at the November soiree (postponed). Then in December (postponed).

Then January, when there was a chance the winning author (whose entries took first and second place) would coincide a trip from Cape Town with the soiree and read his winning story himself. Hopefully this will still happen sometime this year.

So here are the names of the winner, runner-up and third place as judged by Graham Linscott, as well as some comments from Linscott on his selection.

St Clements Short Story Contest:

First Place: Chris Voysey

Second Place: Chris Voysey

Third Place: Sanabelle Ebrahim


Graham Linscott comments:

“The short story is to my mind a most worthy oeuvre of English literature.

“A lot of entries picked up on the Oranges and Lemons theme of the Bells of St Clement’s nursery rhyme. Some saw the “belles” as being the lasses who work in the kitchen and wait at the tables here at St Clements, which was a pleasing touch. Others used the lines of the nursery rhyme which actually end up pretty cruel and frightening - to illustrate their point.

“And I must say some entries had a mordant quality that was a little alarming: a character who comes to St Clements for a last meal before he commits suicide; a church organist whose speciality is murdering young men from the congregation and burying them in the churchyard without being detected; and a church personality – he could have been the minister, we’re not told – who has a heart attack and dies while driving to sample the scrumptious scones baked by a lady congregant.

“Well-enough written, but not exactly a laugh a minute.

“For me, the classic short story has a sting in the tail, a twist to make you think, usually of humour or tragedy. This is as true of Bosman, as it is of classic American short story writers such as Damon Runyan and O Henry. So that was how I chose the top three.

“The winner: a twist of humour as two church ladies decide to put their own organs to use in raising money to repair the church organ;

“Second: a mordant twist of revenge;

“Third: a somewhat bizarre twist into a fairytale ending.

“But to all of you who entered, well done and keep at it! You make St Clements what it is.” — Graham Linscott.