Hofmann takes first prize in Okanagan short fiction contest

Karen Hofmann, an English instructor at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, has won first prize in the 2007 Okanagan Short Fiction Contest for her short story "The Canoe."

Hofmann’s story won in a field of 151 entries from throughout the Southern Interior. Second prize goes to Leah Todd of Kelowna for her story “Cedarwood Apartments,” and third prize goes to UBC Okanagan student Hugh Anderson of Kelowna, for his story "Trick or Treat."

The annual contest, sponsored by UBC Okanagan, Okanagan College and the Central Okanagan Foundation, expanded beyond the Okanagan this year to include all areas west of the Alberta border, south of William's Lake, east of Hope and north of the U.S. border.

This year's judge was Caroline Adderson, the Vancouver fiction writer who just weeks ago won the prestigious Rogers Trust Fiction Prize for her newest short story collection, Pleased to Meet You.

According to Adderson, Hofmann’s story "is a subtle and surprising portrait of a marriage, tinged with dread, yet compassionately rendered in flawless prose."

"Opening up the contest to the entire Southern Interior was a great idea," says Nancy Holmes, Creative Writing professor at UBC Okanagan and one of the organizers. "The competition was fierce and the quality was extremely high."

Stories from the following writers were also shortlisted and sent on for final judging: Jane-Marie James of Kelowna (a finalist last year as well), Chris McMahen of Armstrong (who was a winner last year), Alfrieda Elden of Greenwood, Susan Fenner of Vernon, Denise King of Revelstoke, Bill Macpherson of Nelson, Jon Pelletier of Summerland, and Colleen Tracy of Kelowna.

An awards night and public reading will be held during Kelowna’s Life and Arts Festival. Caroline Adderson will read and present the winners with their prizes.  The winners will also read excerpts from their winning stories. The event will take place on Saturday, May 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Laurel Building, 1304 Ellis Street in Kelowna.

First-prize winner will receive $500, second $200, and third $100. Winners and finalists will also receive chapbooks of the winning stories. As usual, excerpts from the winning stories will be read on CBC Radio One this summer.

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