Third place

Eight Algorithms For The Self-Driving Self

  1. You are driving along a residential street when you are forced to swerve to avoid a van. To your left is a murderer. To your right is a baby.
  2. You are in a 30 mph zone when you are forced to swerve to avoid a truck. To your left is a baby who will grow up to become an estate agent. To your right are two babies eating a murderer.
  3. You are a zipping down a country lane when you are forced to swerve to avoid a small mountain’s solitude. To your left is a text you sent in your twenties. To your right is the one you didn’t.
  4. You are a cruising on a motorway when you are forced to swerve to avoid a reclassified planet’s sense of inadequacy. To your left is a culturally appropriated votive using its enhanced public profile to now misapply Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage. To your right is golf, wearing a monocle.
  5. You are blaring down the Autobahn when you are forced to swerve to avoid all the hours invested in the 2nd season of a box-set where the monks break back in to the monastery. To your left are the gargoyled eyes of a final year Phd student who’s been asked, but in passing, about her thesis. To your right is a national treasure avoiding tax by fly-tipping poppies.
  6. You are careening up and down (simultaneously) a Penrose staircase when you are forced to swerve to avoid a night you turned down sex to play the computer. To your left is a marmot still maintaining it voted Brexit to make immigration fairer for Africans. To your right is a racoon espousing literal, but à la carte, adherence to scripture.
  7. You are hurtling along a Mobius strip when you are forced to swerve to avoid a collapsing neutron star. To your left is a Ché Guevara t-shirt justifying austerity by conflating national expenditure with a household budget (overlooking, of course, that national expenditure raises revenue in a way domestic spending never can). To your right is a woman who CC’d in your line manager.
  8. You are flashing along an inter-dimensional wormhole when you are forced to swerve to avoid the difference between popularity and populism. To your left is the entirety of your future contained in the eyeballs of a god. To your right is the entirety of your god contained in your future eyeballs.​

Niall Bourke, London

Niall BourkeNiall is originally from Kilkenny, in Ireland, but now lives in London. In 2015 he completed an MA in creative writing at Goldsmiths University of London. He writes both poetry and prose and has been published in a number of journals and magazines in the UK and Ireland, including Ink, Sweat and Tears; Magma Poetry and Eyewear Publishing’s The Best New British And Irish Poetry Anthology.

Niall has been and shortlisted for The Costa Short Story Award, The Over The Edge New Writer Of The Year Award, The Cambridge International Short Story Award, The Mairtín Crawford Short Story Prize, The Bare Fiction Poetry Prize and The Melita Hume Poetry Prize for best first collection for a poet under 35.

In 2017 he was one of twelve poets selected for Poetry Ireland's Introductions Series and his debut poetry collection 'Did You Put The Weasels Out?' was published by Eyewear press in April 2018.

Find out more about Niall Bourke