Short Fiction Contest brings together region's writing community

Annual competition going strong despite challenging economic times

In a time when the world's attention is pulled to the West Coast and the Winter Olympics, the Okanagan Short Fiction contest -- which is now officially open -- is an opportunity to showcase the talents of Southern Interior writers, says Summerland writer Kyle Cornett-Ching.

"The short fiction contest is an excellent means to draw the community together in the Southern Interior," says Cornett-Ching. "Looking at the writing community in Vancouver, I feel like I want that camaraderie here, which is harder to accomplish over such a large geography. This contest helps to make that happen."

In its 12th year, the annual Okanagan Short Fiction contest is now accepting short stories from writers in B.C.'s Southern Interior. Author Laisha Rosnau will select the best three stories for cash prizes in spring 2010.

The contest invites all Southern Interior writers east of Hope, west of the Alberta border, north of the U.S. border, and south of William's Lake to submit their original unpublished works of fiction. This year, the deadline for submissions will arrive earlier: Friday, January 22, 2010.

Contest organizers say they are relieved that the Central Okanagan Foundation is supporting the contest again this year, despite its funds being greatly jeopardized by the current recession.

"Local writers are grateful for a contest like this," says Lorna Tureski, a UBC Okanagan creative writing student from Armstrong, and a short-listed author last year. The winners for the past two years have been from Kamloops and Nelson.

The contest is sponsored by the Central Okanagan Foundation, UBC Okanagan, Okanagan College, and CBC Radio One Kelowna.

Stories ranging from 1,000 to 4,000 words are eligible. All entries must be original, unpublished works of fiction, submitted on 8 ½" by 11" plain white paper, double-spaced and typed. There is no limit on the number of entries, but a $15 entry fee is required with each.  No name or identifying marks should appear on the manuscript.

Winners will receive cash prizes of $500 for first, $200 for second, and $100 for third, and they participate in a public reading with contest judge Laisha Rosnau. Complete contest rules are online at http://www.okstorycontest.org/.

Mail entries and a $15 cheque to:

Okanagan Short Fiction Contest
c/o Irma Ronkkonen, CRWR Support
Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies
UBC Okanagan
Arts 173 - 3333 University Way
Kelowna, B.C. V1V 1V7

For more info, contact Michael V. Smith at 250-807-9706.

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