The 2017 Okanagan Short Story Contest winners, from left: Karen Hofmann, Michael Griffin, UBC Writer in Residence Renée Sarojini Saklikar and Cliff Hatcher. - Image Credit: Photo Contributed

Okanagan short story winners announced

The winning author, Karen Hofmann of Kamloops, took first place for her short story The Island.

The winners of the 2017 Okanagan Short Story Contest were announced Tuesday night in the Great Room at the Kelowna branch of the Okanagan Regional Library.

The winning author, Karen Hofmann of Kamloops, took first place for her short story The Island. Cliff Hatcher, also of Kamloops, placed second with A Certain Way With Furniture while Kelowna’s Michael Griffin took third place for his story, Poppy and Boo.

“All three stories stayed with me and resonated their own individual strangeness: that quality that marks writing as something worthy of attention, for having been imbued with intention by its creator, crafted to persuade the reader of some urgency,” said UBC writer in residence Renée Sarojini Saklikar.

“That quality of strangeness is the highest compliment, that one writer can give to another, so I offer this to each story: commendation for a strange voice, for seeing the world a little off-kilter, in ways that disturb and unsettle.”

Along with the $500 prize money and bragging rights, Hofmann’s story will be published in the Summer/Fall edition of Vancouver-based subTerrain magazine. She also wins a one-week residency at the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre. Second and third-place winners receive $200 and $100, respectively.

Also at Tuesday’s event, Saklikar announced new developments for the annual contest. For 2018, all three top cash prizes will double and a new category has been created for high school-aged writers.

“There aren’t a lot of opportunities for student writers in the country, but now we have a great crack at it here in the Okanagan,” said associate professor Michael V. Smith, who teaches creative writing. “We hope we can make this high school category sustainable, so we can offer it every year.”

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 the new award for the top short story by a high-school student ($200 prize).

The April 18 event also launched the 2017 PaperShell anthology of Creative Writing at UBC Okanagan.

The Okanagan Short Story Contest is sponsored by UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (FCCS), Kelowna Capital News, the Central Okanagan Foundation and subTerrain magazine.

More information about the Okanagan Short Story Contest can be found here.