Submissions sought for UBC Okanagan’s annual fiction competition

University’s annual short-story contest enters its 21st year

UBC Okanagan is urging writers to submit their entries for the annual Okanagan Short Story contest.

Running for 21 years, the contest has a long tradition of introducing new and emerging writers to the Okanagan community. The competition is open to fiction writers in the southern Interior of B.C—from Hope east to west of the B.C. Alberta border, and north of the Canada-U.S. border to south of Williams Lake.

The contest is organized by UBCO’s faculty of creative and critical studies and Prize sponsors include the Kelowna Capital News, the Central Okanagan Foundation and the Amber Webb-Bowerman Memorial Foundation.

Dania Tomlinson, lecturer with UBCO’s creative writing program, and a previous contest winner, will select the best new short stories.

“Competitions like the Okanagan Short Story contest are where most writers get their start,” she said. “In fact, this competition in particular holds a special place in my heart and winning the contest in 2016 marked the beginning of my professional writing career. It’s so important for writers, both new and veteran, to send their work out.”

All original entries must be between 1,000 and 4,000 words and writers are welcome to submit as many entries as they choose. There is a $15 entry fee for each story, but no charge for high school students. All proceeds go towards the FCCS creative writing scholarships at UBC Okanagan.

“Besides strong characterization, what I value most in short fiction is cohesion,when a variety of aspects—imagery, voice and structure—parallel or answer to one another without it feeling contrived,” said Tomlinson. “A story that accomplishes cohesion creates its own symbolism, its own logic.”

The deadline to submit stories is Jan. 31.

Winners will be announced in March at a public event where the short-listed authors will be invited to read from their works.

The winning author will receive $1,000, the second-place author $400 and third-place finisher $200. The top high school author will receive a $200 prize.

For a full list of contest details and rules, visit okstorycontest.org.

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