25th November 2008
Hosted by London Review Bookshop
London, United Kingdom
Monisha Saldanha, Director of Momaya Press, introduces the 5th Annual Momaya Press Awards Ceremony. Maya Cointreau, Director of Momaya Press, could not attend on the evening.
Five years is a nice round figure, a significant anniversary that we are proud to mark, and an opportunity for us to reflect.
We published the first Momaya Annual Review in 2004. We started in the hope that we could make a contribution to the world – that we could encourage people read and write short stories, and help people take time to appreciate substance over the culture of consumerism that permeates every aspect of our life – and especially our leisure time. It’s far too easy to spend our leisure time passively – watch other people playing sports rather than playing a sport ourselves, or watching dramas on television rather than writing our own stories. We started Momaya Press to provide a platform to celebrate those brave and energetic individuals who see the value of creation over consumption. When you look back on your life, it’s the moments of creation – when you have contributed something unique to the world – which define the high points.
In the past five years we’ve received 924 entries from 39 countries: Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Malawi, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America
2008 Momaya Annual Review
The theme for this year was passion. We were worried we might receive trashy romance novel type plots, but we only received one story that disappointed in this way. Overall, the entries were fantastic and varied, with people tackling themes from new passion to dead passion (sometimes literally), murder to obsession (one story involving Scrabble, our own personal obsession as well), food to shoes (another favourite of ours). The range of responses to the theme was fascinating and kept us going through the record number of entries (215 in total for 2008).
Many thanks to the judges who reserve time in their busy schedules to support Momaya Press:
Andy Callus is a newswire journalist who works as a copy editor for Reuters in London's Canary Wharf. He began his working life in 1980s Fleet Street, and has reported for Reuters and other newswires in Paris, Hong Kong, Singapore and Hanoi.
Alison Hennessey has worked in publishing for five years, and is now an Editor at Random House. She also works as a freelance reader for a literary consultancy.
Claire Nozières works at Andrew Nurnberg Associates as a literary agent. Previously she was Foreign Rights Manager at Frances Lincoln, an independent publishing house specialized in high quality illustrated books and children’s books. Claire sells translations rights to France for a wide-ranging list of contemporary US and UK fiction.
Nina Steiger is the Writers’ Centre Director at Soho Theatre. She has worked as a director, dramaturg and script reader in the US and UK, developing new work by established and emerging writers with such companies as Ensemble Studio Theatre, New York Stage & Film, Hartford Stage, Manhattan Theatre Club, and others. She has been Producing associate for Youngblood, The Playwrights’ Unit and proto-type theater. As a playwright, she is the recipient of the Clark Lewis Prize and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation commission for The True Facts as well as a developmental bursary for Slangrivier which was premiered at the NY International Fringe Festival.
We would also like to thank Andrew Stilwell of the London Review Bookshop. The London Review Bookshop supports Momaya Press by hosting the awards ceremonies and promoting the Momaya Annual Review. We’re pleased to join forces with an independent bookstore.
Encouraging your contributions
If you can read, you can write. You can think of one small moment or feeling, and use this as a basis for a short story you can submit to Momaya Press. You don’t have to have a grand theme – it’s not a novel – or a huge cast of characters or an elaborate plot. In fact, it’s probably best if you don’t have any of these things. A short story is a diamond, a single moment, a small shard of time, which amplifies and ordinary moment to reveal something gorgeous. A short story should be polished, it should be pure, it should change the way we think in the few minutes it takes us to read.
In a world that moves ever faster with a population ever more addicted to junk (fast food, television, things which fill us up without satisfying, entertainment which we absorb passively rather than participating in our community) we took a stand and started Momaya Press to bring together readers and writers in an experiment. Take time out of your day to write a short story.
Our 2,500 word limit is about five pages typed – it’s something you can write during your lunch break, instead of watching TV after dinner, or by getting up a bit earlier on the weekend. Submit your story to Momaya Press and someone who doesn’t know you (that is – not your mom!) will read your story, will reflect upon it, and make a considered judgement on whether your story should be published in next year’s annual review. It’s an incredible validation of your ability. It’s a thing of beauty to share your vision with the world.
We thank the many readers and writers who have supported Momaya Press over the past five years, and we encourage everyone who reads these words to submit their short story to our competition. The theme for 2009 is “alienation” and we look forward to reading your response to this brief.
Photos from the awards ceremony
2005 1st Place Momaya Short Story Competition winner, Tracy Moyle-Maton, talks about how writing has become an integral part of her life. She has completed her first novel
American Repertory Theatre Actor Kal Aise reads Honourable Mention story “Sex with My Dead Wife”
American Repertory Theatre Actress Ariana Grace reads 3rd Place story “Drinking Vodka in the Afternoon”
American Repertory Theatre Actress Fran Wilde reads 2nd Place story “Feeding Time”
American Repertory Theatre Actor Jeffry Kaplow reads the humorous 1st Place story “Jenny from the Library”
Alan McCormick describes the inspiration for his story “Granny Loves Terry Wogan”
Linda Courtland talks about how her life experience influenced her Honourable Mention story “Wrongful Life”
Momaya Judge Andy Callus
Tania Hershman tells the audience how she found writing the 3rd place story “Drinking Vodka in the Afternoon”
Momaya Judge Claire Nozières
2nd Place winner Sophie Duffy discusses her story “Feeding Time”
David McVey ends the evening with his acceptance of 1st Place for his story “Jenny from the Library”