If Walls Could Talk Challenge Winners

An inside look into the Vocal Curation Team's favorite stories from the If Walls Could Talk Challenge

By Vocal Curation TeamPublished about a year ago 4 min read

If walls could talk, what would they say?

Of course, there's so much more to walls, these ubiquitous, often overlooked necessities. Walls give us comfort but they also pen us in. They stave off the elements but also block us from the world. At once necessary and obtrusive, walls are often the only witnesses to our most intimate moments, and at the same time, the very things that allow us to be intimate.

We love paradoxes like this, which is why we were so excited to offer this Challenge. Though this was no easy Challenge. How to make a wall speak? Do you just go for it and give it a voice? Or do you only allude to a wall's consciousness? If the wall speaks, then surely it must have a mind, eyes to see, ears to listen. So many decisions as a writer. So many hallways down which to write.

Here are the winners of the If Walls Could Talk Challenge and spotlight on two of the Runners-Up. You can check out the full list of winners HERE.

$1,000 Grand Prize Winner

Caroline Jane for The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

One has not risen from the centre of the earth in a tectonic and seismic exaltation, stood stoic for three hundred million years through ice ages, through meteoric obliteration, and born witness to unprecedented evolution to be in any doubt of a few pounds of flesh such as you.

From top story to grand prize winner, and for good reason...

This story has pretty much everything we love. Confident language, a distinctive voice, beautiful imagery and even a twist! Though what really set this story apart was its ability to personify nature as a whole, to draw time into the story, which is what nature has on its side and humanity does not. It is through time that nature becomes so majestic, so awesome. And this wall, this sheer, haughty expanse of rock, knows this, and squashes humanity with this knowledge, lords over our mere flesh with its accretive wisdom.

This story defies the prompt by going much deeper into what we saw as nature's ultimate victory over humanity. Humans believe they can master nature, conquer it, love it and it will love them back. But nature is the physical manifestation of time and no one can conquer time... Congratulations, Caroline Jane!

$250 Second Place Winner

Annie B. for At Last

Not everyone was happy to see me after I was first built. Some of them didn't approve of my design. Thought I was too abstract. Some of them thought I was bullshit.

It takes a bit of gumption to personify one of the most famous walls in the world and we're so glad Annie B did!

We thoroughly enjoyed this story about a woman's decades of mourning, growth and surrender in the literal face of a wall. Returning to her husband's name over and over, this touchpoint of grief and solace, we learned so much about Janice and Harold. And wow, did the wall have opinions about Janice, about her life and decisions! These thoughts gave the relationship a depth, as though they really were friends, allies in this fight against life. The wall was imbued with a voice by the author and it wasn't afraid to use it. Who knew walls could be such tenderhearted, protective beings? Congratulations, Annie B!

Honorable Mention

Kali Mailhot for Mind Waves of Power

I am your wall, and I've been holding your secrets. Closets don't hold skeletons like I do.

We're so happy to give this story an honorable mention. What really set it apart for us was how much it accomplished in so short a time. It's not easy to be creepy, scary, spooky, realistic, nightmarish, all in a five minute read, to introduce a whole dark, demonic system, to move through centuries in mere paragraphs. This story left us dizzy from how fast it moved, and a bit reluctant to fall asleep. Well done, Kali Mailhot!

Honorable Mention

Joe O'Connor for Being is Enough

And yet, there is something to be said for continuity. For the unchanging and ever-present.

If there was one thread that weaved its way through most of the submissions in this Challenge, it was the passage of time in a home. A couple gets married, finds their dream home, moves in, life gets rocky, the next couple moves in, has children, life gets rocky, and the cycle continues.

We appreciated all of these narratives for their unflinching sense of realism. This really is what happens inside a home's walls. It's often nothing too fancy. It's the day in, day out of a typical life. The good times and the bad, the quiet, quotidien stuff of great literature and art.

We loved this story for its humility. The wall was there to serve, to bear witness but never to pass judgment. It found peace and fulfillment in its station and that's something, we think, that we can all use a little more of. Well done, Joe O'Connor.


Learn more about our current Challenges below:


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Comments (23)

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  • Caroline Janeabout a year ago

    I don't quite know what to say Vocal! Thank you. 🙏 Thank you. These write ups are worth as much, if not more, than the win itself! I am completely humbled and only just coming out of shock! ❤❤❤

  • Lawrence Leaseabout a year ago

    So what do the judges look for specifically in the winning pieces.

  • Gobi Munusamyabout a year ago


  • Vikas Mishraabout a year ago

    Well Written

  • Nikki Clamabout a year ago

    Wow, these stories really brought those old walls to life! It's amazing what secrets they hold.

  • Roy Stevensabout a year ago

    This was a fun challenge for the reader and I enjoyed every story I managed to read. Thanks for the insight into your process as well (I'm a newbie)

  • Thasleem Ahmedabout a year ago

    Nice article

  • Alexander Scottabout a year ago

    love it

  • Sophia Smithabout a year ago


  • Holly Pheniabout a year ago

    Congratulations to all the winners! What beautiful work!

  • Testabout a year ago

    Congratulations to everyone! 💕🙂

  • Lauraabout a year ago

    Congratulations to all the winners of the "If Walls Could Talk Challenge"! It's amazing to see so many creative and imaginative stories inspired by the idea of walls that could speak. Each story had its own unique voice and perspective, and I was impressed by the range of emotions and themes explored.

  • Testabout a year ago

    Congrats to all the winners! Interesting challenge, Vocal!

  • Mariann Carrollabout a year ago

    🥰Congrats to the winners 🥳👏

  • Shane Harrington about a year ago

    Love a good review, congrats to all

  • Heather Hublerabout a year ago

    Congratulations to all the winners!

  • CJ Millerabout a year ago

    Great idea for a challenge. There were lots of interesting takes on this prompt. Still working through them and have enjoyed the variety thus far. Great job, everyone. 💜

  • Caroline Cravenabout a year ago

    Congratulations to everyone. Great stuff.

  • Lawrence Leaseabout a year ago

    I'm no longer doing the challenges. I wrote 4 stories and not one got picked.

  • Kendall Defoe about a year ago

    I am glad Maya Lin's work was mentioned here. Good choices all around. I still want to win one day... 😐

  • This comment has been deleted

  • Naomi Goldabout a year ago

    Congratulations to the winners, and the honorable mentions too! I will be reading each of these tonight.

  • Loryne Andaweyabout a year ago

    Thank you for your insights and congratulations to all the winners!

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