Traditional Publishing

International Short Story Contest

Fifth short story contest winners

The Fifth International Short Story Contest closed on May 1, 2009. Deliberation over the final line-up of winners was long and hard, but by July 2009 the following successful entrants were announced:


Congratulations to Ali Cronin of Berkhamsted, United Kingdom, who wins £200 for her winning story, "The Jumper". The story is published below.

Ali writes when she is not looking after her children, unless a deadline looms, when she does both. She is very happy that she won this competition because it means she can finally get over not winning the 1992 Cantell School English Language GCSE Prize despite the fact she totally got the highest mark.

Ten special commendations go out to the following entrants (in no particular order):

The Jumper

By Ali Cronin

We were in Paris to stop my mummy being sad. It was at the weekend ‘cause I go to school in the week. Paris is in France, where people speak French. Bonjour means hello and mairsee means thank you. Paris is old. The buildings were so old they’d gone black at the bottom. There was blue sky and a really cool building called Sackra Ker. And there was the Eyefull Tower. It is called this because it’s very very big. Me and mum stood right underneath it and looked all the way up. It’s made of metal. It was really cool.

But then the man jumped off.

There was a bang. I saw him bounce off the tower and land on the ground CRASH. He was too loose. There was blood coming out of him and his arms and legs were twisty like my Action Man. He was too still.

My mum screamed and said oh my fucking Christ. She hugged me so my face was in her coat, but it was too hot and I couldn’t breathe. And anyway I’d already seen what happened.

The man looked like my daddy. I knew it wasn’t daddy ‘cause he was at his new house with Rachel who is his girlfriend, but my mind wouldn’t stop thinking it. The man had curly hair like my daddy, and he was wearing a cord jacket like my daddy has. Although his was dark blue and my daddy’s is green.

I am five and a big boy but I cried because I was scared. Lots of other people cried too.

“Don’t look, it’s OK, don’t look,” mummy kept saying. I sat on her knee and smelled her neck. The man’s blood was dark red, not like when I fell off the slide.

When we got back to the hotel mummy got us hot chocolate and we drank it in bed as a special treat.

“Was the man dead?”

“Yes darling.”

“Why did he fall off the tower?”

“I think he jumped.”

“But why?”

“Because I think he was very very sad indeed, and felt he’d rather be dead than be sad any more. But it was a very selfish thing to do. He didn’t think about all the people and the little boys who were standing below him.”

I looked at my hot chocolate. It had cream on top. But I didn’t want it. My tummy had gone tight.

“You’re sad, mummy.”

My mum looked at me. She was crying, a bit. She held my chin, but not tight.

“Listen to me. I am sad because of what happened between me and daddy, but I am very happy to have such a wonderful little boy. I will never leave you. Do you understand?”

“Yes mummy.”

I had a bit of my hot chocolate. It was nice.

“I hate that man for jumping off.”

“Me too, darling.”

“Shall we phone daddy and tell him about it?”

“I think that’s a very good idea.”