Chris Fleck of Kelowna, first-year UBC Okanagan Creative Writing student, claimed the $500 first prize at Monday night’s 2006 Okanagan Short Fiction Contest awards ceremony at Doc Willoughby’s in Kelowna.
The evening included a brief reading by this year’s contest judge, fiction writer Adam Lewis Schroeder, who also announced the top three prize winners. Schroeder said Fleck’s story, “Revolution Blues” was notable for its “playful, dive-bombing language” and that it was “no less shattering for being pure entertainment.”
Second prize of $200 went to Chris McMahen of Armstrong, and the $100 third prize was presented to Gord Gresenthwaite of Kelowna. Winners and runners-up will also receive chapbooks of the winning stories, and excerpts from the winning stories will be read on CBC Radio One this summer. Limited edition copies of the chapbooks are available for $6.
The other seven short-listed writers — whose work was selected from the 95 entries this year — were Brian Fisher of Coldstream, Shandell Houlden of Kelowna, Jane-Marie James of Kelowna, Murray Mason of Penticton, Shane McDougall of Kelowna, Matthew Parisien of Kelowna, and Calvin White of Salmon Arm.
Schroeder said that “due to the astonishingly high calibre of entries in the 2006 contest, the chapbook could have been 200 pages long.” Some of the short-listed writers are currently studying creative writing — Fleck, Houlden and Parisien are all UBC Okanagan students; McDougall, McMahen and Fisher have studied creative writing with Okanagan College writer John Lent.
Schroeder, who holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from UBC, has traveled widely and published short stories in several literary magazines. In 2001, Raincoast Books published his short fiction collection Kingdom of Monkeys. He now lives in Penticton, B.C. His first novel, Empress of Asia, is due out this fall. Schroeder reviews fiction for This Magazine and sits on the editorial board of Geist.
The Okanagan Short Story contest is sponsored by the Central Okanagan Foundation, UBC Okanagan, and Okanagan College.
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