Several months and untold rounds of reading later, we narrowed the hundreds of entries down to fivejust five, but five that grappled with pain life experience to powerful effect.
The Canary, the winning essay by Charlotte Barrow, appears in the January issue. Our four runners-upTamsin Crimmens, Jemima James, Sophie Ruffes and Nell Stevensalso merit a reading, so were proud to bring you their work on ELLEuk.com.
Well publish one essay per day for the next four days, giving you a chance to get to know the work of these talented writers. Today, we start with Jamess restrained and chilling story about rejecting her father.
Finalists, congratulations... we can't wait to read more.
It happened in two parts. A journey home at night and a telephone call.
Part one. Its late and hes taking us home, so it must be a Saturday, because Saturday nights are his nights. Were driving slowly down lanes so narrow the car fills them. Its coldmy hands are clamped beneath the warm weight of my thighs. I look at the condensation creeping at the edge of the windscreen, the headlights splashing up the hedgerows, the road ahead and the neon of the dashboard display. Theres a dull flash in the corner of my eye, the face of my fathers watch catching some light as he adjusts the wheel. The car is full of silence. Even my brother is quiet and still in the back, as if hes pretending hes invisible, or just imagining himself somewhere else. Hes sitting directly behind me. I wish I were next to him, out of sight. Id feel better if I could turn and make a face at him, or whisper something rude and squeeze his fat little fingers hard in my hand. I put my eyes out the window, stare at all the hard little points of stars. Im tired, defeated and so completely bored by all of More