After taking a one-year hiatus, the Nanaimo Arts Council’s Islands Short Fiction Contest is back and more than $2,000 in cash and prizes are up for grabs.
Residents of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands of all ages have until March 31 to submit unpublished fiction stories of up to 2,000 words to the NAC.
“When you’re locked down in COVID it’s a good way to occupy your time through writing and in the past the stories have been absolutely wonderful,” NAC president Sean Gallagher said. “We don’t give them any guidance on what kind of theme we want. [We] just leave it open to them.”
The top three winners in the adult category take home $700, $400 and $300, respectively. In the youth (age 13 to 18) category, first prize is $150 and a $75 gift certificate, second place is $100 and a $50 gift certificate and third place is $75 and a $25 gift certificate. In the junior (age 12 and under) category, first prize is $100 and a $75 gift certificate, second place is $50 and a $50 gift certificate and third place is $25 and a $25 gift certificate.
Vancouver-based writer Doretta Lau is the judge of the adult category. She’s judged books and short fiction in the past and said everyone has the ability to tell an interesting story.
“I really enjoy getting stories where someone has really thought about their point of view and they’re not thinking too much about what other people are writing but they’re trying to tell the story that only they can tell,” she said.
Lau said she’ll be looking for “that view on the world that’s unexpected” and she suggests writers explore some uncomfortable territory to get there.
“They should trust that they’re putting the work in and to go to the places where they start feeling uncomfortable and possibly a little afraid,” she said. “Because it means that they’re entering into story territory where they might not have seen it somewhere else in the world and they’re not trying to replicate someone else’s voice.”
The judges for the junior and youth categories come from the Vancouver Island Regional Library. Sooke and Port Renfrew branch manager Peter Maguire and Campbell River branch librarian Arija Fisher will pick the winners of the junior and youth categories, respectively.
Winners will be announced during an online ceremony on May 1. The top 3 finishers in each category may also have their stories published on the contest website.
To submit a story and for more information, click here.