Okanagan 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.  The top short story by a high-school student in the region receives $200 prize.  Co-sponsors are FCCS and the Central Okanagan Foundation.

The Okanagan Short Story Contest is part of the FCCS Spring Festival.

Submission guidelines and rules for the 2024 contest are listed  below.

Questions? Email: ok.storycontest@ubc.ca

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 $20 entry fee for each story. All proceeds go towards Creative Writing scholarships at UBC, and to support scholarships for Indigenous students through Indspire as a way to support our Faculty’s goals for Truth and Reconciliation.

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. (residents of Hope and Williams Lake are eligible).

2. Entries must be original, unpublished works of fiction. No generative AI tools have created parts of or the whole story.

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 $20 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. Please submit a cover page that includes the author’s name, mailing address, email address, phone number and story title, and please ensure that the title is on the first page of the story.

  • No name, address, phone number or any identifying mark should appear on any pages of the short story.  

Authors whose stories make it to the shortlist stage should be prepared to submit biographical information upon request.

6. Entries must be received by 11:59pm on February 5, 2024.

7. There are no limits on the number of entries a writer can submit but each entry requires the entry fee.

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.

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

Questions? email: ok.storycontest@ubc.ca 

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

2024: Debbra Mikaelsen for “Saving Bees from Drowning”; High School Winner: Maylyn Tarves for “Philosopher King of Clusterf**k Mountain”. Judge: Shelley Wood. Reading: Alternator Gallery for Contemporary Art, Kelowna.

2023: Alison Braid for “Two-Day Summer”; High School Winner: Darian Detta.  Judge: Corinna Chong. Reading: Alternator Gallery for Contemporary Art, Kelowna.

2022: Manjinder Sidhu-Kong for “Wax Off”; High School Winner: Frances Myers Lynch.  Judge: Naben Ruthnum. Reading: Downtown Kelowna Branch, Okanagan Regional Library.

2021: Jorie Soames for “Storm Warning; High School Winner: Courtney Westfall. Judge: Frances Greenslade. Reading: Virtual.

2020: Carol Zuckerman for “Trout”; High School Winner: Chanel Sergeant. Judge: John Lent. Reading: John Lent and Carol Zuckerman at Read Head Studio/Read Local Okanagan Virtual Reading Series.

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 Tyler Finley and Elenna Hope  (2024), Madeleine van Goudoever, Kristin Burns (2021 and 2023), Laura Foisy, Stephanie Plumb, Jorie Soames, Heidi Garnett, Alexandra Davison, 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.


Submissions for the 26th Annual Short Story Contest were judged by local author, Shelley Wood.

Winners were announced at a public event on March 27, 7pm at the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art. See  winners below.