The Per Contra Prize - Click Here


Semi-Permanent Red by Jennifer Byrne - Click Here

Her color wasn't quite right anymore. She had handled swatch after swatch of unnervingly straight hair samples, perfect like the horsehair of paintbrushes, but the color never, ever, looked the same. Not on her own coarse, thick hair, neither straight nor curly, and never, ever sleek and shiny. On her hair, the color was either a sickly burgundy like a glass of merlot regurgitated after a hard night, or a laughable strawberry-blonde, the frothy color of a pre-teen’s lip gloss.


The Annexe Shuffle by Petina Gappah - Click Here

Only outside this window is there change, yet even there, a repetitive pattern asserts itself. On Second Street Extension, the cars, buses, emergency taxis are filled with people going about the business of living, the occupants within unaware of the gazes without. One time, two times, five times a day she sees the vans and cars from her suspended life. Up and down, goes the little green bus, moving between the city centre and the university. ‘University of Zimbabwe’, a white station wagon says in blue lettering, ‘Faculty of Law.’ So close is the car that she can make out the faculty motto below the university crest: fiat justitia ruat coelum. The motto is more than just the words of Caesoninus on a crest, it is a song in her soul, the reason she is a law student, the meaning she wants to give to her life.


Centerpiece by John Martin - Click Here

Henry stepped out onto the patio.  Working his way carefully through the motionless crowd, he could not help but wonder who they all were—and why not a one of them seemed to notice or care who he was.  He felt like a first grader coming late to his first day of school, far too conspicuous to ever feel part of a group that depended so much on conformity.


Cousins TV Repair and Antenna By Lorna Smedman - Click Here

He put his big hand up to hush me. He wanted to tell his story straight through. “I was ready to march right over and ask your dad what the hell he was doing, if he had hit his head or had a stroke or something, but she told me to mind my own business. And just then we heard the story on the radio about the guy getting his head blown off out in Skepton by his fourth wife who he’d married twice. Then they mentioned that this guy was from the Bronx and she says, ‘Oh Jesus, that must be Leo’s cousin.’


Your Hair, Your Weight by Maryanne Stahl - Click Here

"Your mother has problems," he told the kids.


Gani’s Fall by Molara Wood - Click Here

Ah, Clara, it has come to this!" The lament issued from under clothes which Gani picked off himself. He removed them slowly, like a humiliation ritual to which he was resigned. The wildness had left Clara’s eyes and she backed away. I watched as she edged closer to the tree at the far end of the backyard, by the kitchen whose arched entrance was darkened by smoke from the stoves. "Ah, it has come to this!" Gani said once more, his voice rising.

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Per Contra: The International Journal of the Arts, Literature and Ideas