• Writers' Study Yearly Awards 2020-2021: The Great Online Awards Ceremony

    Writers' Study Yearly Awards 2020-2021
    The Great Online Awards Ceremony

    In the Great Hall of the Writers' Study, everything is quiet...

    ...which is odd. You'd expect the hall to be full of bustle and activity, as the imps prepare for the biggest event of the year in the Writers' Study. But the lights are out, and nobody's here. There's dust gathering in the corners, and there are cobwebs hanging from the proscenium arch. The only sound is muffled, as if coming from a different room.

    The WS Director's office, by comparison, seems to be filled with chaos. Imps are scrambling over each other and the furniture, clearly incredibly busy. There are cables of many kinds, lengths and colours trailing over the floor and across the imposing desk, hanging from the many bookshelves, and - of course - draped stylishly around most of the chittering imps. Every now and then, an imp plugs a cable into a socket, or removes a plug from a socket, and a senior-looking imp with a jacket marked "WS Tech Imp" flips a large inky-blue switch on the desk. If the lights don't go out, the imps cheer, giggle, and throw some of the shorter cables into the air like confetti, but the senior Tech Imp never seems satisfied with the result.

    The door-handle rattles, and the door opens gradually, slowed by the piles of cables on the floor. The WS staff peer into the office through the narrow gap they've created. Several of the imps wave cheerfully and beckon the staff into the room. As Alwyn, Turk and Caillagh pick their way carefully through the jungle of wiring, two of the imps bound out of the office. By the time the staff have reached the desk, the two scampering imps are back, carrying coffee and biscuits for everyone.

    "Good idea!" exclaims Alwyn, taking a couple of biscuits and a large mug of coffee. The imps form an enthusiastic queue behind Turk and Caillagh and start an impromptu conga dance on the way to collect their coffee. Hearing the caffeine-fuelled excitement wakes up an imp who had dozed off; the neatly-folded ceremonial robes on a chair in the corner had been too comfortable for him to resist. As he passes the desk on the way to collect his coffee, he absent-mindedly connects the cable he's holding to the WS's office computer. The screen on the desk flicks immediately into life, and the senior Tech Imp looks around, startled. When she sees the imp receiving his coffee, she seems unsure whether she should be pleased that the system is now working, or annoyed that an imp fell asleep. He shakes his head with a grin, and joins in with the delighted singing from the rest of the imps. At last, the Online Awards Ceremony can begin!

    Once the staff are all correctly dressed in their - rather wrinkled - ceremonial robes, they gather behind the desk, jostling each other just a little in their determination that all three of them should be visible to the webcam.

    Alwyn draws himself to his full, imposing height and clears his throat majestically, before beginning his opening speech:

    "Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?"

    On receiving a nod from the senior WS Tech Imp, and seeing several messages in the chat confirming that everyone can see and hear him, he clears his throat again, and continues:

    "Welcome to the Presentation Ceremony for the Writers' Study Yearly Awards 2020-2021!

    The Writers' Study imps have taken a liking to virtual meetings, so although many of you are now permitted by the rules in your area to join us in person, we've decided to hold this year's ceremony online. A team of imps in hazmat suits is waiting to deliver the awards to our winners, and in order to provide the greatest level of safety possible, the Chief Medical Imp has personally supervised every element of the ceremony and its arrangements."

    An imp in a hazmat suit pushes between Caillagh and Alwyn, and waves at the webcam, smiling broadly, then vanishes back into the crowd of imps behind the staff.

    "Our first award is for Creative Writing of the Year. The winners will be announced by my colleague and deputy, Turk."

    Turk, hemmed in by imps, stretches out an arm to reach the envelope being brought to him by a small imp trying to climb across the heads of the crowd towards him.

    "It is a privilege to be able to announce that the first-place winner of this year's Creative Writing of the Year Award is..."

    He tears the envelope open and pulls out the card.

    "...I'm sorry, no, the first-place winners if this year's Creative Writing of the Year Award are..."

    There is a long, dramatic pause, as used on TV game shows. The tension mounts.

    Or, at least, the tension would mount, if the room were not filled with imps. Concerned that Turk might suddenly have lost the power of speech, one of the imps nearest to him worriedly pulls at the sleeve of his robe and offers him a glass of water. When Turk shakes his head, the imp becomes even more concerned, and tries to throw the water in Turk's face, presumably hoping that a shock will return him to normal. Unfortunately, the closeness of the crowd disturbs the imp's aim, and the water ends up in Caillagh's face.

    "As I was saying," Turk says, through the laughter of the imps, "the first-place winners are A Painted Shield of Honour by Basileos Leandros I and Honor and Bravery by Flinn! This win earns Basileos Leandros I 4 Writers' Study Competition points, bringing his total to 17. Flinn also earns 4 competition points, so although these are his first Writers' Study competition points, he is already more than half-way to a bronze medal!"

    The laughter of the imps turns to applause. Turk nods in approval.

    "This year we also have a tie for third place. Our third place winners are Scorched Earth by Kyriakos, and The Spear of Achilles by Shoebopp. Each of our third-place winners receives 2 competition points. These are Kyriakos's first two points, while Shoebopp now has a total of 6 points, and receives a bronze medal! Congratulations to all our Creative Writing winners!"

    The imps cheer happily. Forgetting that the AAR of the Year has yet to be announced, one of them climbs onto a chair and begins to dance, but is quickly pulled back to the floor by nearby imps who have been paying more attention.

    Turk passes a towel (brought in readiness for any beverage-related emergencies) to Caillagh. As Caillagh makes good use of the towel, an imp's arm emerges from the thronging imps and waves an envelope. Hurriedly putting the towel down, Caillagh accepts the envelope.

    "I have the pleasure of announcing the winners of AAR of the Year 2020-2021."

    As before, the envelope is torn open, and the card inside is retrieved. Caillagh, however, has learnt from Turk's experience. There will be no attempt at a dramatic pause this time.

    "The first-place winner of AAR of the Year is... Dame Judi Dench! No, wait, that can't be right."

    The imp who provided the envelope squeaks embarrassedly, and their ears, pinker than usual, flatten to their dark-blue head. To the sound of giggling imps, Caillagh turns over the card and reads "WS Imps' 2022 Oscars predictions" on the back. After some rummaging, the imp discovers a second envelope and hands it over. Caillagh tears this one open and examines the card inside carefully before reading it aloud.

    "The first-place winners of AAR of the Year are Written in Sand by Kilo11 and Toutatis Favours the Brave by Welsh Dragon. As a result, they each receive 4 Writers' Study competition points. Kilo11 now has a total of 39 points, and Welsh Dragon has reached a total of 26 points and earned a gold medal!

    Remarkably, we have another tie for third place. Every third place winner receives 2 Writers' Study competition points. Our third-place winners are Osaka by Hitai de Bodemloze, giving Hitai a new total of 40 competition points; Derc Plays Through World History by Derc, who now has 22 competition points; and New Town by Alwyn, which means Alwyn now has 32 competition points. Congratulations to all of them!"

    The imps begin cheering again, but Alwyn waves his arms for quiet.

    "Thank you all for joining us for this online ceremony. The imps will deliver all the awards as quickly as possible. In the meantime, I'd like to congratulate the winners and thank everyone who made nominations or voted. We hope you will all celebrate the results - in accordance with any restrictions in place where you are, of course - with as much enjoyment as I'm sure we will."

    Alwyn looks around the room. Imps are dancing (one of them back on the chair), singing wordlessly, cheering, drinking beer that someone has produced from somewhere, eating cake that was definitely not in the room before this point, knotting cables together to make garlands, and making paper aeroplanes out of the office stocks of paper.

    The last words anyone at home hears before the live feed is switched off are "Maybe we should avoid doing this in my office next year..."
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Flinn's Avatar
      Flinn -
      Once more, I really do not deserve this honor, but thanks to everybody who liked my work.

      And I really want to thank all those who are regularly active in the WS and in particular the Content Staff that keeps that place alive and make it possible to have these awards.
    1. Gigantus's Avatar
      Gigantus -
      The article is as entertaining as the work it gives awards to - well done to all.