Fleeing Complexity

Jon McGregor

One Sentence Story Competition

Photo by Mykl Roventine.

Fleeing Complexity

Irby in the Marsh

The fire spread quicker than the little bastard was expecting. ?

By Jon McGregor and taken from This Isn’t The Sort Of Thing That Happens To Someone Like You published by Bloomsbury on 2nd February 2012 at £14.99. © Jon McGregor 2012.

Inspired by this story Granta launched a tweetable (140 characters) short story competition which closed on 2 May. We received scores of entries and today we announce the winner and runners-up, as judged by Jon McGregor. The winner will receive a signed and stamped copy of his latest novel, This Isn’t The Sort Of Thing That Happens To Someone Like You and Granta 119:

Note from the judge:

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading through the cracking selection of stories that Granta readers have sent in for the ‘Fleeing Complexity’ story competition. My choice of the winner and runners up is a very personal one: what I’m looking for in a piece of fiction as short as this is something that gestures very simply towards a much larger story. Many of the entries which fell short of what I was looking for were trying to cram more detail and closure into the sentence than was needed, which tended to make them somewhat unwieldy. Also, some of the entries were more than one sentence long. But the winning story, by Cassie Gonzales, is right up my street: sinister, funny, suggestive, and very, very simple. Excellent.


It was my turn to wear the dead boy’s glasses. ?

 Cassie Gonzales




The locked bathroom door would not hold and the window would not open. ?

solchica ? @solchica



Cyanide may smell like almonds but it doesn’t taste like marzipan. ?

 Sam Thewlis



Bombs fell but my grandmother kept combing her hair. ?

By Slavka Jovanovic



Frying Complexity

The fryer readied faster than a little batter suggested. ?

Cynan Jones @cynan1975



All night the fish dreams of leaping clear of the water. ?

Aseem Kaul

The latest issue of Granta Britain, which features Jon McGregor and Cynan Jones, is out

Come and join us at one of our launch events in London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Birmingham