Needle in the Hay

Needle in the Hay was the go-to location for weekly writing challenges, from the mind and hard work of Martin DiBiasi. NiTH was fast-paced and FUN.

Every week, the writers from around the world would receive their assignments and word counts. I was privileged to judge many rounds, the weeks I wasn't writing, though I never won.

Instead, I read the winners' stories, studied how they used the language and how they incorporated senses and emotions into the what happened and who said what.

I did win the first Needle Major Comp, with my story "Big C". The next time I won something, my Mum asked me if it was this story (as she had read it and enjoyed it). She seemed especially proud when I told her it wasn't.

Needle in the Hay Short Story Comp, 2015
Winner : Big C (900 word version)
Big C
A young man reminisces about his father.

After we lost mum, I was tidying up her office and found a little folder full of printouts of my stories from Needle. Stories I'd never told her about and ones I wouldn't necessarily have wanted her to read. It's hard to know how seriously I'd have kept writing if not for Needle and the support from this writing community.

After I made my first short film, I recruited actor Gary Clementson to bring this story to life in audio form. He did a lot of research to get the tone and feel right, and understood my protaginist and his mindset. It gave me goosebumps in the control room, watching this story have life breathed into it as Gary had done for another character previously.