Lela Tredwell

Contest participants can be selected for publication even if they don’t win the contest. Check out this interview with Lela Tredwell to learn how this contest participant caught the attention of editors and got her piece published! “My Eye Eye” was published in issue 38.2 of The Pinch, which is available for order.

Did your publication in The Pinch affect your perspective on literary competitions?

I was thrilled by the enthusiasm The Pinch showed towards publishing “My Eye Eye” regardless of it not grabbing the top slot in the competition. It gave me a renewed vigor for the process.

Who are you reading right now?

Currently I am rehearsing for an improvised performance inspired by the work of Charles Dickens so I’m reading the writing of the man himself. My fiction writing is often set in the present or future but I still find it informative to take a leap backwards with my reading. I’m always fascinated by how often the past informs fresh ways of seeing our current world. I’ve even found myself getting quite envious of some of the courtship rituals of the 19th Century!

Tell us about something pinchy (weird / cool) that's happened recently in your life!

As a writer of the literary fantastic/surreal and an improvised performer, my life is often rather pinchy but one incident that happened recently was being held up on a train by a swan. It was sitting on the line and though the driver tried to nudge it by edging the train forward and honking the horn, the swan would not be moved. In England all swans belong to the Queen so killing a swan is outlawed! Desperately the driver’s voice sounded over the speakers to ask if there was anyone on the train who had experience with wild animals. Eventually the driver picked up the swan off the line and gave the beast a lift to the next station. I saw the creature being carried down the platform looking quite confused… probably that he hadn’t had to buy a ticket.

What advice would you give a first time contest submitter?

Get on and do it! My motive on entering had been that Carmen Maria Machado might, just possibly, even for a brief second, cast her eye over my writing… so I was ecstatic with the story’s success. “My Eye Eye” was a tale that I worried might not find a home because of its surreal and visceral content but even if you have a story like that it’s worth continuing your efforts to get it out into the world. Don’t give up!

What are you writing about these days?

I’m working on a heritage project at the moment so I’ve been researching and writing non-fiction about the poverty in North East London during the 1800’s. I’ve also been editing my collection of short stories. Most are in the genre of the literary fantastic but not many are as pinchy as “My Eye Eye.”

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