Hannah Stanley of Kelowna is the overall winner of Okanagan College’s eighth annual Three-Hour Short Story Contest. (Photo submitted)

Stanley sticks with experience to win contest

Kelowna student captures Okanagan College’s eighth annual Three-Hour Short Story Contest

  • Jan. 3, 2018 9:30 a.m.

More than 30 budding writers from across the valley put their writing skills to the test in Okanagan College’s eighth annual Three-Hour Short Story contest.

Second-year arts student Hannah Stanley of Kelowna is the overall winner for her original story The Best Years of Our Lives.

The 180-minute timed contest was held last month at the college’s Vernon, Salmon Arm and Penticton campuses and at Kelowna Secondary School. The contest was open to Grade 11, 12 and College students who competed for four regional prizes of $250 in tuition credit.

From the regional winners, an overall winner was selected to win an additional $500 credit and have their story published in a limited fine-print edition by Kalamalka Press.

“I woke up in the morning feeling very uninspired and I went into the contest without any prior story ideas or anything worked out in my head in advance,” said Stanley. “It actually wasn’t until the clock started and I heard the mystery phrase that I found inspiration and knew what I was going to write about.”

The contest challenges authors to integrate a mystery phrase, revealed at the start of the competition, into their stories. This year’s phrase, “frozen fish sticks,” immediately gave Stanley an image from her childhood of eating fish sticks and ketchup straight off the table, without a plate.

Her winning story is loosely based on her childhood experiences and is told from a child’s perspective about what life was like one year when, unknown to Stanley, her mother was experiencing depression.

“The goal of the story is to kind of take away the stigma of parents with a mental illness like depression who are worried they’re not a good enough parent or are somehow ruining their children’s lives,” said Stanley. “The child doesn’t notice anything wrong with her mother and actually finds it to be one of the best years of her childhood because she gets to eat unlimited Freezies, has tons of sleepovers and finds eating without plates or cutlery incredibly fun.”

Stanley’s story was one of many captivating narratives from the contest which drew out a diverse group of authors aged 16 to 43.

“We saw a large age span this year from previous years which added a lot of interest and made the competition pretty close – it was tough to choose just one overall winner,” said Dr. Sean Johnson, contest organizer and English professor at the College. “There is almost a 30-year age difference between the regional winners which just goes to show the uniqueness of this competition, that regardless of age anyone can win.”

Dawn Naas’s Un-Fragmenting Thoughts was selected as the Vernon regional winner, Darby McEachern-Corley was declared the Salmon Arm regional winner for The Eyes Never Lie and Parker Arcand took home the Penticton regional award for Hearts of Metal and Ice.

This year’s winning stories can be read online at www.okanagan.bc.ca/3hourwriting.

Just Posted

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Award-winning singer/songwriter Christina Martin coming to the Penticton

Christina Martin is bringing her unique musical talents to the Dream Café this Saturday.

Two vehicle collision on the Channel Parkway

Two vehicles were involved in an accident on Friday afternoon in Penticton

Poll: Who do you think will be the next mayor of Penticton?

We are asking Penticton residents to weigh in on who will win the mayor’s seat

Okanagan competitors to be featured in arm wrestling documentary

Arm Nation, featuring competitions from Kelowna and Penticton, will air on Oct. 20 on APTN

Cough cough: Kelowna MLA gets flu shot to prep for the cold season

Steve Thomson got his flu shot from Lakeside Medicine Centre Friday

VOTE: Nature in Focus reader’s choice photo contest

The Penticton Western News Reader’s Choice photo contest

Who’s running in Penticton’s election?

Candidates for the Penticton municipal and school board election

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Black trucks figure prominently in Shuswap thefts

Chase RCMP investigating stolen vehicles from several communities

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Most Read