Okanagan Short Story Contest

OK Short Story Contest

The Okanagan Short Story Contest awards the best new short stories by writers in the Southern Interior of British Columbia: east of Hope, west of the Alberta border, north of the US border and south of Williams Lake. Past winners have gone on to publish with Penguin Random House, Arsenal Pulp Press, and NeWest Press, as well as numerous magazines and journals nationally and internationally.

FCCS is offering cash prizes to the top three stories—$1,000, $400 and $200; the first prize winner also wins a one-week retreat at The Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre in Kelowna.  For the third year in a row, the top short story by a high-school student in the region receives $200 prize.  Co-sponsors are FCCS, Amber Webb-Bowerman Memorial Foundation, and the Central Okanagan Foundation.

SHORT STORIES: We are looking for works of adult fiction that fall between 1,000 and 4,000 words in length (about 4-20 pages, typed, double-spaced). We are unable to provide written responses to manuscripts.

There is a $15 entry fee for each story. All proceeds go towards Creative Writing scholarships at UBC.

1. This contest is open to all residents of the southern interior of British Columbia: east of Hope, west of the Alberta border, north of the US border and south of Williams Lake.

2. Entries must be original, unpublished works of fiction.

3. Short stories should range from 1,000 to 4,000 words. We encourage writers to abide by these limits. The judges reserve the right to disqualify stories that do not meet these guidelines. Stories (not authors) that have placed in the top three spots in previous years are disqualified from entry. We are looking for literary short fiction. Please do not submit chapters from novels, work for children, non-fiction articles or memoirs, screenplays, etc.

4. Entry Fees:

  • Adults: Entries must be accompanied by a $15 entry fee, payable online.
  • High School Students: Entries are free, BUT…students MUST include the name of their current high school on their cover page

5. No name, address, phone number or any identifying mark should appear on the pages of the SHORT STORY.  A single separate page should appear as the last page of the submission that has the author’s name, address, email address, phone number and name of the short story. The short  story and this separate sheet must be uploaded as a single document. Authors whose stories make it to the shortlist stage should be prepared to submit biographical information upon request.

6. Entries must be received by 11:15pm January 31st, 2020.

7. There are no limits on the number of entries.

8. Entries will be judged solely on artistic merit. Decisions of the judges are final.

9. The winners will be announced in the spring at a public event where the winning writers are invited to read from their work.

10. Any funds not used for administration of the contest go towards funding a Creative Writing scholarship for students transferring to UBC Okanagan from Okanagan College.

11. Entries must be submitted online along with payment.

*One you submit your payment, you will receive a confirmation number. This is needed as part of your submission form. 

The Okanagan Short Story Contest was founded in 1997 with a grant from the Central Okanagan Foundation. It was originally administered by Okanagan University College. In 2006, the contest became a joint project of the two new post-secondary institutions in the valley: Okanagan College and The University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Campus. The contest has been held annually since 1997 (with two years missing). Support for the contest has come from the Central Okanagan Foundation, The Capital News, the Amber Webb-Bowerman Foundation, George Ryga Centre, subTerrain magazine, and CBC Radio One in Kelowna. Prizes each year vary, but they have included cash awards, readings, publication and broadcast of stories, and writing retreat opportunities.  The Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at UBC Okanagan currently administers the contest.

The short story contest is made possible by the efforts of support staff at UBC Okanagan and our terrific judges.

Contact Information – email: ok.storycontest@ubc.ca

2019: Erin Scott for “Turn First to the Body in Real Space”; High School Winner: Alyssa Kong. Judge: Dania Tomlinson. Reading: Milkcrate Records, Kelowna.

2018: Brittni MacKenzie-Dale for “They Called Him Luke”; High School Winner: Bethany Pardoe; Judge: Karen Hoffman. Reading: The Great Room, Okanagan Regional Library Kelowna

2017: Karen Hofmann for “The Island”; Judge: Renée Sarojini Saklikar. Reading: The Great Room, Okanagan Regional Library Kelowna

2016: Dania Tomlinson for “Badlands”; Judge: Tamas Dobozy. Reading: Royal Anne Hotel, Kelowna

2015: Katherin Edwards for “Pellucidity”; Judge: Marie Clements. Reading: Okanagan Regional Library, Kelowna

2014: Shelley Wood for “Leave-taking”; Judge: Gerry Shikatani. Reading: Alternator Gallery, Kelowna

2013: Joe Dermo for “Salmon at Night”; Judge: Erin Moure. Reading: Downtown Kelowna Branch, Okanagan Regional Library, Kelowna

2012: Karen Hofmann for “Billeh and the Bee Man”; Judge: Karen Connelly. Reading: Downtown Kelowna Branch, Okanagan Regional Library, Kelowna

2011: Lindsay Diehl for “Basel”; Judge Annabel Lyon. Reading: Downtown Kelowna Branch, Okanagan Regional Library, Kelowna

2010: Chris McMahen for “The Post”; Judge Laisha Rosnau. Reading: Downtown Kelowna Branch, Okanagan Regional Library, Kelowna

2009: Brian d’Eon; Judge Gail Anderson-Dargatz. Reading: Kelowna Art Gallery Kelowna

2008: Ashley Little, “Dr. Lung”; Judge John Gould. Reading: Laurel Building, Life & Arts Festival, Kelowna

2007: Karen Hofmann, ” The Canoe”; Judge Caroline Adderson. Reading: Laurel Building, Life & Arts Festival, Kelowna

2006: Christopher Fleck, “Revolution Blues”; Judge Adam Lewis Schroeder. Reading: Doc Willoughby’s Pub, Kelowna

2005: No contest was held this year

2004: M. Anne Cooper, “Pea Soup”; Judge Brian Brett. Reading: The Rotary Centre for the Arts, Kelowna

2003: Starleigh Grass, “Duke”; Judge Aislinn Hunter. Reading: The Art Ark, Kelowna

2002: Dona Sturmanis, “Space”; Judge Dave Williamson. Reading: The Art Ark, Kelowna

2001: Kelly Dvorak, “Annie Tells”; Judge Billie Livingston. Reading: The Alternator Gallery, Kelowna.

2000: Virginia Dansereau, “Undertow”; Judge David Arnason. Reading: The George Ryga Centre, Summerland.

1999: No contest was held this year

1998: Tannis Atkinson, “Comfort”; Judge Cynthia Flood. Reading: The George Ryga Centre, Summerland.

1997: Alison Sivak, “Portrait of a Girl Who…”; Judge Sean Virgo. Reading: The George Ryga Centre, Summerland.

Second and Third prize winners have included Katie Welch, Victoria Alvarez (2019 and 2018), Cliff Hatcher, Michael Griffin (2018 and 2017), Bronwyn Berg, Jocelyn Tennant, Raven Faith Jones, Glenna Turnbull, Brittni Mackenzie-Dale (2014 and 2015), Andrew McMonagle, Jade Hignett, Jillian Harvey, Shelley Wood, Tara Storness-Bliss, Susan Fenner, Ryan Ennis, Toby Burbidge, Gord Grisenthwaite (2006 and 2010), Susan Buis, Dawn Kennedy, Leah Todd, Hugh Anderson, Chris McMahen, Trish Lomin, Shirley Missiaen, Dawn Renaud, Lee Caufield, R.D. Shuttleworth, Virginia Dansereau, Anne Wise, Sarah Hambley, Steven Lattey, Brett Todd, Jill Rochelle Hiebert, Dona Sturmanis, and Darcie Hossack.

2020 Contest

Deadline for entries is January 31, 2020, with the winning entries announced at a public event in the spring.

Entries will be judged by faculty from the Creative Writing Program and Okanagan icon, poet, editor, and fiction writer, John Lent.