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Paperback & Kindle eBook editions of the Prizewinning and selected

Highly Commended Stories

Want to publish your own book?Request more information here

First Prize: £1000
Plus publication in the MTP 2024 Anthology (print book and eBook).

Anthology title based on this winning entry.

Les Zig - My Life as a Kumquat


Second Prize: £500
Plus publication in the MTP 2024 Anthology (print book and eBook).

Jay McKenzie - This Skin

Third Prize: £250
Plus publication in the MTP 2024 Anthology (print book and eBook).

Joanna Auerbach - Life is for Living

Runners-up Prizes: £50
Plus publication in the MTP 2024 Anthology (print book and eBook).

In no particular order...

Eamonn Mckeon - Hand it Over
Julian Fuller - Greetings from Praiano
Meg Borzycki - I Am Impossible Bottle
Neal Mason - Calling Back
Phil McCumskey - A Cold Wind Blowing

Highly Commended Stories

in no particular order

Chris Acaster - A Song for Connor Harris
Christine Kingshott - Flight of Fancy
David Clay - Mala
Jan Howcroft - A Night with Elves
Klaus Gehling - Ninety-nine Balconies
Lee irving - The Artist
Lyn Mason - It's Mainly Beetroot Juice
Magnus Mulyadi - A Premonition
Martin Phillips - Looking Into a Long Shadow
Michael Pettit - Play Dead
Peter Latham - The Drop
Phillipa Howell - Budapest
Rob Delplanque - The Test
Roger Hurn - The Reluctant Gladiator
Samarth Bhasin - Not Tom
Valerie Bowes - Getting a Life



Les Zig - My Life as a Kumquat



The Eternal Slumber is pine with trendy gold handles, while the Forever Rest has a divine white finish. The whimsical but macabre names of the coffins on the Markham Family Funerals website charm me. The Lassitude. You’d hope so. In Perpetuity. Should come with the by-line, Or until the maggots eat you.

Lori would go high end. She tries to be a spendthrift, but she can’t resist a brand name. I wonder if there are brand names for coffins. Like Nike, or Nokia, or Apple.

The iCoffin, for all your after-death needs.

In my makeshift office – a converted bedroom in my two-bedroom flat, filled with books, movie memorabilia, and my procession of little ceramic elephants – death seems almost cliché. Then again, life’s a collection of clichés. Like how my psychologist tells me I’m the author of my own life. What would she think of this?

At $906.00 (the cheapest coffin there is) the Serenity chooses me. It’s dark and plain with bronze handles – serviceable, but that’s all you really need, isn’t it? It’s not like I’ll have the freedom to tell people it’s not something I’d be caught dead in.

I whiz through the rest of the Markham Family Funerals online application, startled at the quantity of choices:

•    the type of service: I choose the default – in one of the Markham Family chapels.

•    clergy or civil celebrant: I go for the clergy, who’s half the price.

•    a lawn or monumental grave: while a monument would be cool,

it’s outside the budget.

•    the type of flowers: none – I have allergies.

•    the memorial book: I go for the standard, which is cheapest at $70.00,

but seriously consider substituting it with it with one of my tattered notebooks. 

•    tributes: where the death will be marked, and whether there’ll

be any commemorative paraphernalia, like this is a night at the opera. None.

•    a list of open questions – venue, colour of flowers (none, damnit!),

poetry to be read out, who’ll be pallbearers, and other stuff like that

– which I leave unanswered.

The price the online application spits out is $8322. To be buried, minus the trimmings. 

Lori would be appalled.

Just as well she’s out of the loop.

Option #01: Gunshot to the head.

•    instantaneous if executed correctly.


•    messy
•    probably really, really painful, however fleeting
•    done incorrectly, could leave brain damage
•    don’t have gun, and
•    don’t know where to get gun.


Dr Calver stares at me from across her desk the way she always does: like I’ve tangled myself in a knot since my last appointment and she’s waiting to see whether I can untangle myself...

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