Short story contest calls to budding authors

Entries for the 16th annual Okanagan Short Story Contest are being accepted. Deadline is Feb. 21.

Fire up the coffee pot, change the ribbon on the old Underwood and unleash your imagination: The eagerly awaited 16th annual Okanagan Short Story Contest is here.

Sponsored by UBC’s faculty of creative and critical studies, the Kelowna Capital News and the Central Okanagan Foundation, the contest offers cash prizes: $500 for the winning entry, $200 for second prize, and $100 for third prize.

Plus, the top prize includes a one-week residency at the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre for the winning writer.

Woodhaven’s rustic setting of whispering pines, trails and meandering wildlife offers an inspiring atmosphere for artists and writers to relax, work without distraction, and discuss their projects.

“The Okanagan Short Story Contest is a wonderful way for writers in the valley to find each other,” says Michael V. Smith, assistant professor of creative writing. “As much as this is a contest, it’s also a community-building event. The reading each year where we announce the contest winners brings writers together from all over the valley. That winners also benefit from having their stories professionally critiqued by our contest judge –writer Gerry Shikatani– is icing on the cake.”

Entries for the Okanagan Short Story Contest must be original, unpublished works of 1,000 to 4,000 words, submitted on plain letter-size white paper, double spaced and typed. Submissions must include a $15 entry fee, in a money order or cheque payable the University of British Columbia. All residents of the B.C. Southern Interior from east of Hope, west of the Alberta border, north of the U.S. border and south of Williams Lake are eligible to enter.

A complete set of entry rules can be found at www.okstorycontest.org.

Submission deadline is Feb. 21. Winners will be announced in March at a public event where the winning writers are invited to read from their work.

Submissions should be mailed to: Okanagan Short Story Contest, c/o Toby Wesenberg, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, CCS Building, The University of British Columbia Okanagan, 3333 University Way, Kelowna, B..C., V1V 1V7.