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November 2, 2023
Long-standing tradition for budding local writers continues
The annual Okanagan Short Story Contest, which has been running since 1997, is now open for submissions from writers living in BC’s southern interior.
The contest has a long tradition of introducing budding writers to the Okanagan community. Winners in previous years have gone on to publish with Penguin Random House, Arsenal Pulp Press and NeWest Press, as well as numerous national and international magazines and journals.
This competition, initiated by UBC Okanagan professors Nancy Holmes and John Lent, will this year be run by Creative Writing Lecturer and UBCO alumnus Andrea Routley, who says she is excited to oversee this competition.
“The perspectives and multiple knowledges of the diverse people of BC’s southern interior are important voices in Canada’s literary landscape, and I’m thrilled to be in a position to help draw attention to that,” she adds.
Local emerging writers are invited to submit their original writing for the chance to win several prizes, including a top prize of $1,000 along with a one-week retreat at The Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre in Kelowna. Second and third prizes are $400 and $200 respectively. This is the fifth year in a row the contest has been open to high school students and the top prize for that category is $200.
Submitted entries will be adjudicated by faculty from UBCO’s creative writing program and celebrated Canadian author Shelley Wood.
Originally from Vancouver, Wood earned her undergraduate degree in English literature at McGill and her graduate degree in journalism at UBC. Her short stories and creative nonfiction have been published in Grain, Room, Causeway Lit, Canadian Notes & Queries, Phoebe, the Antigonish Review, The New Quarterly, Bath Flash Fiction, Freefall and the Saturday Evening Post. Her debut novel, The Quintland Sisters was a Canadian bestseller. She divides her time between her home in Kelowna, and her work as a medical journalist and editorial director for the Cardiovascular Research Foundation in New York.
Entries for the Okanagan Short Story Contest are open to fiction writers in the southern interior of British Columbia—east of Hope, west of the Alberta border, north of the border to the United States and south of Williams Lake. All original entries must be between 1,000 and 4,000 words and writers are welcome to submit as many entries as they choose. There is a $20 entry fee for each story, but no charge for students in the high school category. Entries must be received by 11:59 pm on February 2, 2024.
All proceeds from the competition go towards the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies’ creative writing scholarships at UBC Okanagan and towards supporting Indspire, an Indigenous organization that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people.
Winners of the short story contest will be announced next spring at a public event as part of the Creative Studies Spring Festival, and the finalists will be invited to read from their work.
For a full list of contest details and rules, visit: fccs.ok.ubc.ca/short-story
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