You’ve heard of flash fiction? Well, with our special interest in life writing, we wanted to give writers a chance to pen bite-sized chunks of memoir, so each month we’re running a mini-memoir competition. There’s a prize of a £10 National Book Token e-Gift for the winning entry. You can check out the winning entries below.

March 2021

Our Mini-Memoir competition on the theme of journey has taken us on a wonderful round the world trip from Cornwall to Cambodia, Malawi to the Maldives, from the city streets of Glasgow and London to riversides in Essex and Antwerp.

The winning entry by Matthew Tett recalls a slow glide along the River Amazon. In a few short sentences Matthew evokes atmosphere, character, pace, setting and drama, by using each of the senses to great effect. The piece captures a big journey in an even bigger landscape, distilling it into a concentrated package of experience.

Special mentions this month go to George McAlear and Sharon Barker for their entries.

Here’s Matthew’s winning entry:

Deep in the Amazon, intense humidity is not unusual. More surprising is the boat captain’s swift grabbing of an unsuspecting caiman: sly grin, fixed stare.

We glide along. Families of capybara graze on the banks. A breeze offers some respite, as does the banana leaf-filled lunch, healthy and satisfying. We’re told that Peru is the birthplace of this mighty river, iconic and revered the world over.

Arriving at the lodge, sides open to the tropical elements, is exciting. That night, we’re visited by a biscuit-stealing bush baby, and the skies light up as the warm rain lashes down.