Annie On Writing

June 8, 2015

Twisted Tales 2015 Judge Spotlight – Bernadette Russell

Filed under: Writing Tools — Annie Evett @ 2:30 pm

Following our spotlight on judges for the Twisted Tales competition celebrating Flash Fiction; is our interview with one of the founders of White Rabbit, Bernadette Russell. I am so excited to have the wisdom and experience of having Bernadette on the judging panel this year!

BERNADETTErussellheadshot-9Bernadette is a writer and performer based in London, UK.  She’s been co-running the short story variety night “Are You Sitting Comfortably?” with Gareth Brierley and their company White Rabbit since 2008. She has created storytelling shows for National Theatre, Southbank Centre, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee amongst many others, including the work of 100s of short story writers as well as three magicians, two dogs and a snake charmer.

Her children’s book “Do Nice Be Kind Spread Happy” is out now, the next “Be The Change Make it Happen” is due out Feb 2016. Her adult short stories are published by Pulp Press and Ether. At the moment she is writing about superheroes and touring a show to people’s bedrooms, although these two things are not connected.

What space do you create when you judge? (a set time at night, on the

couch, in a cafe?Quiet or loud? music on or off?)

In the quiet, in the evening, laying on my bed looking out at the embarrassing wilderness that is my garden

Coffee, tea, wine or a beer while you judge?

All of them, but not in the same cup. Wait, not beer.

What is one of the worst blunders or crimes a submitter can commit in a writing competition?

It’s hard to read if there is no or little punctuation, although I sympathise with that error. There is no crime apart from copying word for word someone else. That’d be bad.

How important is a title to a piece?

I am a fan of a good title. I think they’re important as there is so much on offer to choose from, a good title might attract someone to your work.

Doesn’t have to be fancy though.

Can a writer be too clever with words or titles?

No.You can’t be too clever.

Last tips or advice for new submitters?

Look at the brief carefully as a well written brief is there to help you succeed. Don’t just bang one out.

More from Bernadette here –

twitter @betterussell


Twisted Tales is an anthology of the best Flash Fiction for the year and celebrates one of the shorter forms of short stories; with entries under 750 words. Published by Raging Aardvark Publishing, it also works with the mobile phone app ether books in order to expose the entries to new readership and further promote flash fiction as a form of choice for readers.

The competition forms part of the celebrations for (inter) National Flash Fiction Day held across the globe in writers circles and groups on the last weekend of June. The Anthology is in its 4th year and has attracted hundreds of entries along with a panel of esteemed judges each year, who volunteer their time and expertise to mark the entries and choose the top 13. Its an extremely difficult job as stories are of high quality with many respected and published authors entering alongs side emerging writers. 

Over the next two weeks, I will be interviewing the judging panel for this years competition and hope that it sheds some light on the mechanism of judging as well as giving you some insight on how to best present your next entry.


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