The title “This Time” is an appropriate name for a winning story, considering Okanagan College’s Three-hour Short Story Contest is all about time -– 180 minutes precisely.
Presented by the English department, the seventh annual contest took place Nov. 5 across all four College campuses. Writers were up against the clock with only three hours to create and edit an original short story while incorporating a secret phrase revealed at the competition’s start. This year’s phrase was “under the weather.”
Four regional authors (one per campus) were named the winners of the 2016 contest:
“This Time” by Pip Dryden (OC – Kelowna)
“Splat” by Daniel Greene (OC – Penticton)
“About Otters” by Adam Lauze (OC – Salmon Arm)
“Dinner Dive” by Mirka Yargeau (OC – Vernon)
The regional winners were awarded a $250 tuition credit and one overall winner received an additional $250 tuition credit and will have their story published in limited fine-press edition by Kalamalka Press.
For Pip Dryden, a second-year Associate of Arts student at the Kelowna Campus, entering the contest was a way to overcome her creative block and be motivated in a fun environment.
“The only thing I had in my brain when I started writing was the first line of the story,” says Dryden. “I tried to not be too formulaic and the story just sort of built itself around that.”
Not only did Dryden find her inspiration to start writing again, her story “This Time” was chosen as the overall winner out of 22 stories submitted across the four campuses.
“Pip’s story stood out to the judges because of her character development and consistent use of metaphor,” explains Dr. Shona Harrison, Okanagan College English professor and a contest judge. “We look for a strong story structure and relatable, believable characters that drive the plot and captivate the reader.”
Harrison and fellow Okanagan College English professors Kerry Gilbert, Hannah Ball, Jeremy Lanaway, Frances Greenslade and Jeremy Beaulne organized the event and judged the anonymous entries.
“All of the stories were varied in topic and tone, but they all demonstrated playfulness, creativity, deftness of expression and an immediacy inspired by writing a complete, self-sustained narrative in real-time,” adds Lanaway.
For Daniel Greene, an Associate of Arts student and the 2015 overall winner, participating in the contest and having his story published was fulfilling on multiple levels.
“The biggest benefit was the recognition and affirmation of my skills as a writer. That was the first writing contest I had ever won and it has encouraged me to continue writing.”
Greene entered again this year and won the regional award for Penticton.
The free contest takes place every fall and is open to Okanagan College students and high school students in Grades 11 and 12.
Winning stories can be read online at www.okanagan.bc.ca/3hourwriting