May 19th, 2024

Catholic Central High School student wins inaugural Analog writing prize


By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on May 2, 2024.

Analog Books has announced a local student as the winner of its inaugural Analog Prize.

In celebration of excellent short stories fiction writing at secondary school level in southern Alberta, Analog Books presented the top prize of $500 sponsored by the University of Lethbridge chancellor Terry Whitehead to Stevie Sander a student at Catholic Central High for her short story “Of Hardened Flesh.”

“(Stevie’s) stood out so much. Right from the beginning, I actually wrote on it. I wish this was a book, it just stood out so much. And I had just read all these university ones, and some were really good, and some aren’t,” said Penny Warris, co-owner of Analog Books.

“But the really cool thing about (Stevie’s) was it had a beginning, a middle and an end. And I, as much as I would love it to be a book, I felt like it was a story. I felt like (she) had told the story, just like (she) said a ‘fable.’ It was it was done. And those two people went on to a better life. And I loved that,” said Warris.

There were 42 submissions from students in grades nine to 12 throughout Southern Alberta.

In addition to the grand prize winner, there were three runners-up awards of $100.

Stevie Sander wrote her prize winner within three hours for a school test.

“Life has been very hard lately. And I need a little bit of hope in my life. And that might have come up, I think, in what I was writing. And just, I would say life and what I’ve been reading as a kid,” said Sander of her inspiration.

One of Sander’s instructors at Catholic Central High School, Teri Hartman, expressed the feelings she felt when she first read Sander’s short story.

“I loved it. It’s this fable-esque story of what happens when we overprotect our hearts, and let’s just say it hit a little close to home for me. What impresses me the most about this piece is that Stevie wrote it in less than three hours. And had the confidence and creative skill to write something with such wisdom and heart for a school assignment. I know that writing well for art’s sake is more important to Stevie than the grade, and for that reason, she’s a role model for all writing students. I am so proud of her,” said Hartman.

The three other finalists included Maxwell Edwards from Chinook High School for his short story “The Gallows,” Eleah Klassen from Winston Churchill High School for “Unfinished Business,” and Sawyer Jones, a homeschooled student from Pincher Creek, for “The Best of Intentions.”

Warris said there will be a recognition ceremony on June 17 at Analog Books store.

Sander said she hops the story will have an impact on readers. “I’m hoping that it breaks down some walls because it’s a story that is meant to be vulnerable. And I find people are having a very hard time now, being vulnerable, especially kids my age…

I want people to be able to speak their mind and be truthful to themselves. I think it’s meant to be used as an open door for certain people to be like, if one person can do it, then another person can do it,” she said.

Sander’s short story will be available for community members to read at https://www.analogbooks.net/analog-prize.

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