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Okanagan Short Story Contest

On April 18 at the Okanagan Regional Library in Kelowna, FCCS Writer in Residence Renée Sarojini Saklikar announced the winners of the 2017 Okanagan Short Story Contest.

The event also launched UBC Okanagan’s 2017 PaperShell anthology of creative writing, and introduced a new writing category for high-school students and double the award prizes in the 2018 Okanagan Short Story Contest. 

2017 Winning Stories and Shortlist

First Place: "The Island" by Karen Hofmann of Kamloops. Hofmann won $500 and a one-week residency at the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre. Also, her story will be published in the Summer/Fall edition of subTerrain magazine. 

Second Place: "A Certain Way With Furniture" by Cliff Hatcher of Kamloops ($200)

Third Place: "Poppy and Boo" by Michael Griffin of Kelowna ($100)

Shortlist (in no particular order): "The Elm Tree" by Dick Bird of Princeton; "Getting Straight" by Carol Zuckerman of Kelowna; "Rose" by Monique Thériault of Kelowna; "Blood June" by Summer Kenney of Kelowna

2018 Contest

The Amber Webb-Bowerman Memorial Foundation is co-sponsoring the 2018 contest, allowing FCCS to award larger winning purses—$1,000, $400 and $200—as well as a new award for the top short story by a high-school student ($200 prize). Co-sponsors are FCCS, Kelowna Capital News, the Central Okanagan Foundation, and subTerrain magazine.

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.

Deadline to apply: December 29, 2017 (must be postmarked by the deadline)

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). The contest administrators are not responsible for lost manuscripts or late submissions. We do not accept electronic submissions and we are unable to provide written responses to manuscripts. Please always send a photocopy and not an original of your work. See Contest Rules.

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

The History of the Okanagan Short Story Contest

The Okanagan Short Story Contest was originally jointly sponsored by the Central Okanagan Foundation and 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 from the contest has come from the George Ryga Centre and CBC Radio One in Kelowna. Prizes each year vary, but they have included a cash award, a reading, the publication of the story in a chapbook, excerpts of the stories broadcast on CBC radio, and a weekend retreat at the George Ryga Centre.

For years, English professors John Lent and Nancy Holmes administered the contest for Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan, respectively. The short story contest is made possible by the efforts of support staff at UBC Okanagan, our terrific judges, the Central Okanagan Foundation, and FCCS's annual Writer in Residence.

General Information for Young Writers

We have had a couple of teens make it to the shortlisted stage. We encourage young writers to submit their work. However, this is a contest for adult short fiction, not children's stories. We are unable to provide written responses to manuscripts.

Contact Information

For more information, contact Toby Wesenberg in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies.
Phone: 250.807.9648. | Email: 
CCS 161, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, 1148 Research Road, UBC’s Okanagan Campus, Kelowna BC V1V 1V7 

Winners Announcements

2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014

Past Winners

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 Cliff Hatcher and Michael Griffin (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 (2010), Susan Buis, Dawn Kennedy, Leah Todd, Hugh Anderson, Chris McMahen, Gord Gresenthwaite (2006), 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.

Contest Rules

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, submitted on plain 8 1/2 x 11 white paper, double-spaced and typed.

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 are too long. Stories (not authors) that have placed in the top three spots in previous years are disqualified from entry. We are looking for adult short fiction. Please do no submit chapters from novels, work for children, non-fiction articles or memoirs, screenplays, etc.

4. Entries must be accompanied by a $15 entry fee, a money order or cheque payable to the University of British Columbia.

5. No name, address, phone number or any identifying mark should appear on the pages of the manuscript. Attach a separate page with the author's name, address, email address, phone number and the name of the story. Authors whose stories make it to the shortlist stage should be prepared to submit to the administrators of the contest an electronic version of the story and biographical information.

6. Entries must be postmarked on or before December 29, 2017 or must be received at the Creative Studies Office (CCS 161) of the University of British Columbia by that date.

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

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

9. Because of time restrictions and quantity of entries, no manuscripts will be returned. No phone calls or other communication will be entered into regarding the contest. The administrators of the contest do not take responsibility for lost manuscripts. Please keep a copy. We do not accept electronic submissions.

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

11. 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.

12. Mail entries to:
Okanagan Short Fiction Contest
c/o Toby Wesenberg, Department of Creative Studies
CCS 161 - 1148 Research Road
UBC’s Okanagan Campus
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7

Note: Publication in subTerrain magazine will be arranged but publication dates are to be determined. The residency is for one week, or seven nights. The winner will be assigned one of the three suites at the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre, a fully furnished residence equipped with kitchen, bed, linens, towels and Internet. The resident can access eight acres of wild forest property; stores, buses and other amenities are nearby. Other artists or students may be in residence but each unit is completely separate, including parking and entrances. The resident is responsible for his or her own meals and daily housekeeping. 

Last reviewed shim4/19/2017 2:57:24 PM