Breaking News: Starving Ghost Wins UK Women Writers Competition

caption on the call for entries: 'I wanted to write stories that could be read by guttering candlelight in ruins of our cities and still give pleasures, still have meaning', Angela Carter

The MSLEXIA 2013 WOMEN'S SHORT STORY COMPETITION Winners have been announced

1st Prize: Francesca Armour-Chelu with 'The Starving Ghost' 2nd Prize: Karen Onojaife with 'Starling' 3rd Prize: Josie Turner with 'Jewels'

From 'The Starving Ghost'

"Despite the circumstances, he felt it necessary to knock. There was no answer. He raised the door. The cupboard was empty, but he noticed a gap along the plywood wall and pushed it aside. Behind was a sleeping mat and between the rafters little objects were secreted: teaspoons, a cloisonné compact, a walnut pincushion embedded with pins, a tattered photograph of a young man waving. His eyes were still adjusting to the gloom when he saw her: crosslegged and waiting for him in the darkness just beyond reach. She was squatting in the ventilation system between apartments. He guessed that was how she had got in.

‘What are you doing?’ he demanded.

‘Looking at you,’ she answered.

‘I mean, here. What are you doing in my house?’

‘Living,’ she said.

‘You cannot live in my house!’

‘Whose house should I live in?’ she asked.

‘Your own,’ he said.

‘I can’t afford a house. The banks have made Osaka too expensive,’ she answered. Seeing he was not going to leave her alone soon, the old lady folded her arms and got comfortable. He looked around the space.

‘There’s no room here.’

‘I am small,’ she answered.

‘You’ve been stealing my food,’ he accused.

‘You threw it away.’

‘You took my water!’

‘I earned it. I cleaned.’

‘I didn’t ask you to clean my house.’

‘The house still needed cleaning.’ "