July 16th, 2024

Short story contest hopes to inspire young writers


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on October 10, 2023.

Herald photo by Ian Martens Scott Warris, co-owner of Analog Books, says the store's inaugural short story competition for high school students is meant to encourage young people to look at writing as a serious path.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

Locally owned and operated bookstore Analog Books has launched its inaugural writing competition for high school students in southern Alberta to encourage them to write short stories.

Co-owner Scott Warris spoke says the Analog Prize was inspired by another writing competition held locally at a post-secondary level.

“Analog Prize is actually based on Bridge Prize, a writing competition that the University of Lethbridge puts on, so we’ve created the Analog Prize to be similar but for Grade 9 to Grade 12 students throughout southern Alberta,” said Warris.

He said any student within those grades can participate, they do not have to be taking English classes when entering the competition and they are accepted from all types of educational institutions.

“Any students between grades 9 and 12 including charter schools, private schools and homeschools,” said Warris.

He said like other contests there are some parameters students interested in taking part would have to adhere to, including a maximum word count.

“Short story entries are limited to a maximum of 4,000 words, in English only. Unfortunately we don’t have any judges that are not English speakers that I am aware of, and only one entry per author.”

Stories can be fiction or non-fiction and they must be original works.

“An original story that a student in those grades has created. They could have created it before this time. As long as it’s never been published, they can submit it for the competition.”

Warris said the competition will provide cash prizes that total $750 and will be distributed among the winner and three runners up.

“The first prize is $500, and that is sponsored by Terry Whitehead who’s chancellor of the University of Lethbridge, and there are three $100 gift cards that we’re presenting from Analog Books for the other three finalists.”

Applications are now open, with a deadline of Feb. 26, 2024, when a jury made up from local authors, professors, teachers and some of the Analog Books staff will read every entry and choose a winner by the following May.

“We haven’t actually announced the final date that we’re going announce the winner, but I would say near the end of May. The winner will be announced before the end of the school year.”

Warris said he is unaware of any other writing competition being offered to high school students in southern Alberta, and depending on the number of entries they receive they will look into running the competition on a yearly basis.

“We’re honoured to do it. The whole idea is to try to encourage young people to look at writing as a serious path, as journalist, authors or writers.”

He said short stories entered have no minimum word count, only a maximum because the shortest story in the world only has six words after all.

“The shortest story known was written by Hemingway. It reads, ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’ That’s a six word short story, so there is no minimum.”

Students interested in taking part in the competition can submit their stories to the store’s website at https://analogbooks.net/.

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