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Vol.3. No. 3. April - June 2010





Barrie Darke
Bruce J. Berger
Chad Norman
Christian Ward
Chuma Nwokolo Jr
Claire Askew
Colin Gallant
Davide Trame
Gary Beck
Ivor W. Hartmann
Katie Metcalfe
M C Hardwick
Michael Conley
Minna Salami
Pete Court
Roger Elkin
Warren Paul Glover
George Freek

Champion Poems #1

Selected Poems from the

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition July 2009, featuring poems by twenty fine minds of our time, including Miles Cain, Mandy Pannett, Charles Evans, L.S Mensah, Thomas Gayton, June Drake, Noel Williams and Ellaraine Lockie.

45 Pages.

£3.95 (UK), £4.95 (Overseas)

Price includes P&P

In stock


Sentinel Literary Quarterly Short Story Competition

(April 2010)


Judge's Report

by Chuma Nwokolo jr


Sandalwood tops Field.


This is only the second edition of the fledgling Sentinel Literary Quarterly Short Story Competition, a sister-contest to the more established SLQ Poetry Competition. This edition of the contest, while improving on the first, attracted 22 entries from writers who drew inspiration from fields as disparate as Mars and wars. The stories were generally competent, and no doubt, writers will raise the stakes with future editions of the competition.


I did not approach this judging with any particular mindset… beyond, perhaps, a desire to be thrilled. The winners suggested themselves promptly enough, and I did not have to agonise over my choices. The story, Day of Rebellion, pulls us down, violently, into the blood and carnage of a village massacre, seen though the eyes of two young children.

    In a brutal gush the air crushes me and sound vanishes, the pak pak, the howling crying, the exploding distance. All is silent and I’m flat on my face.

This is a ghost story that works as a ‘fairy tale’. These are two risky options for any short story writer, but we have explored the outer limits of shock, perhaps it is time to return to old world charm. Day of Rebellion duly explores the ‘child in war’ scenario with snapshots of realism, but leaves us with a lozenge of make-believe.  I put this story in third place.


In Jelly Bean, the voice and personality of a grizzled raconteur turns an incident on a lazy fishing afternoon into a delectable story that would have made a showing in a larger field. For all the rambling tone, the writer’s skill comes across in the economy of words with which this tale is related. Despite the device of a colloquial narrator, there is a surprising tightness in the story.

    A few of the older boys was playin’ ball in the common. Most had gloves. Those that didn’t – well, they had calluses.

This story employs the circularity of a fixed idea – in this case, the ‘jelly bean’ – which features in the title, the first paragraph, and the last. I put this story in second place.


Sandalwood pulses with the prepubescent intensity of the feelings and memories of a 7-year-old, crystallised in the mature language and recollections of an adult. The beauty of this story lies also in the clever ending which should blindside most readers – but which in hindsight, appears totally logical, after all.

    The shape of her lips and the slit of her dress had all made him tremble, the tiniest toll of an adolescent bell murmuring deeply from the pit of his tummy. But this was nothing to the musky fragrance that had settled around him…

The story is tenderly, beautifully, written, and calls back the casual reader – or scrupulous judge – to the first paragraph for a reread, to test first impressions. That is always a good sign; in this case those first impressions held up and I put this story in first place.


I congratulate the winners of this edition, and commend this competition to writers everywhere. I hope this competition grows from strength to strength and wish my successors as judges many evenings of literary anguish as they agonise over and even larger field of quality submissions.


Chuma Nwokolo


Page up


April-June Index

Chuma Nwokolo, Jr.

is an author and attorney. Called to the Bar in 1984, his calling to writing was somewhat earlier, having published his first novel with Macmillan in 1983. He has a passion for the short story and his African Tales at Jailpoint (Villagerhouse) appeared in 1999. He has published four novels, a short story anthology, a collection of essays, and a poetry collection. Nwokolo is also the publisher of African Writing - a bi-monthly powerhouse of modern African literature online and in print.


April 2010 (Poetry)

Judge's Report

April 2010 (Short Stories)

Judge's Report

July 2010 (Poetry)

Enter now.

July 2010 (Short Stories)

Enter now.



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