Writing Contest Awards 2004 Winners

Anthologies are still available for sale for $8 plus shipping. Please email contest@siwc.ca stating how many anthologies you want and where to ship them to. kc dyer will get back to you with the total cost.

From the Contest Coordinator

As new contest coordinator this year, I had some mighty big shoes to fill. Lois Petersen has done an incredible job over the past few years, coordinating the contest and amassing the winning entries in this marvelous anthology. This year’s contest generated a tidal wave of submissions – almost 300 in total. 112 poems, 119 short stories and 68 non-fiction entries ensured that the judges had a fine array from which to select their favourites.

The field of entrants was not only broad but very deep. Several of the judges noted that they had never before seen such a strong selection of contenders. Congratulations go out to all the writers who took the courageous step of submitting their work to this contest. We are the richer for it! Every story and poem submitted was read a minimum of three to four times – and most were read many times more than that. This contest continues to grow in scope and the depth of the field was remarkable. The winning entries in these pages made their way through a strong selection of excellent writing from across the globe. Stories, articles and poetry arrived for consideration from: Switzerland, England, Australia, New Zealand; from Washington, Utah, Vermont, New York and California; and from coast to coast across Canada.
Please read and enjoy these winning entries, and then sharpen your pencil and throw your own work into the ring when we bring you the 2005 Surrey International Writers’ Conference Writing Contest. Next October will be here sooner than you think!

kc dyer, Contest Coordinator

2004 Winners

Storyteller’s Award First Place

My Lame Summer Journal By Brandon Harris, Grade 7 by Michael Hiebert (below right)

Michael Hiebert

Storyteller’s Hon Mention

Against that Time by Corry Venema-Weiss (below left)

Storytellers Hon Mention

A Manhole Under the Hollyhocks by Alexandra Fox

Nonfiction First

The Petrified Dancers by Lori McNulty (below left)

Lori McNulty

Nonfiction Hon Mention

Drifting Out Of My Mind by Jason Bellipani

Nonfiction Hon Mention

Colon Bliss: Purging, Scourging, Slooshing and Whooshing on the Internet by Margaret Gunning (below right)

Margaret Gunning

Poetry First Place

Touching by Dan Neil (below left)

Poetry Hon. Mention

Snail Symmetry by Renee Norman (below left)

Renee Norman

Poetry Hon. Mention

In Praise of Folly by Lea Harper

About the Authors

Michael Hiebert, Surrey, BC
Michael is a prolific writer of novels, short stories and poetry. He currently has three books making the rounds at major publishing houses. He helped found the Ram's Head Writer's Group, lives in Langley, British Columbia and spends ten hours each day writing. He has two children, ten computers and a robot dog named Darwin.

Corry Venema-Weiss, Everett, Washington, USA
Corry Venema-Weiss is a recovering creative. Like so many young people, encouraged by her community to suppress her natural inclination to write, both actively (“there’ll never be any money in it.”) and by neglect (where was the creative writing team at her school, damn it?), she poured her passion into other things: nursing, midwifery, marriage and a family, gardening and especially, reading. She rediscovered the fun, the craft, the joy of writing through the loving support of a large community of women, both locally and internationally, via the internet (God bless Tim Berners-Lee), and like anything a girl pours her whole self into it has become a spiritual practice, the way she discovers what it means to be human. This is her first short story. Write on!

Alexandra Fox, Hackleton, Northants, United Kingdom
Alexandra Fox lives in a village in England, and is a mother and grandmother. She unexpectedly began writing short stories in January, 2004 and has received the first prize in the London Momaya, Peninsular and BBC competitions, BBC and Peninsular runner-up places, finalled in the Northern Echo/Orange and BBC/LBF comps, is currently on several shortlists and was commended at Cadenza. She has publications accepted or published in InkPot, Quiet Feather, Aesthetica and many ezines. This is her 38th prize or publication this year. Lexie writes with Alex Keegan's Boot Camp.

Lori McNulty, Vancouver, BC
Lori is completing a manuscript entitled The Petrified Dancers, exploring her trek to the sacred Garhwal Himalayas in India and the parallel journey of her mother’s illness and dying. This book addresses the strange intimacy of cross-cultural encounter and the profound loss of contact that marks contemporary life in the West. She received her MA in English Literature from McGill University and is a graduate of The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University. Her writing has appeared in the Globe & Mail, Trade, and the Portfolio milieu 2004 anthology. Currently living and working in Vancouver, she has been a professional writer for 20 years. A few years ago she took a night course with Shani Mootoo at the University of Alberta. Shani later mentioned she had led a workshop at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference and found it a wonderful experience. When she moved to Vancouver, she kept the event in mind. More recently, a member of her writing group alerted me to the contest so she thought the time was right to enter. And then she held her breath…

Jason Bellipani, Amherst, New Hampshire, USA
Jason’s writing has appeared in Feathers and Cigarettes, a Fish Publication anthology (Ireland), The Cream City Review, The Berkeley Fiction Review, Sniper Logic, and Seven Days. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in writing from Stone coast in Maine.

Margaret Gunning, Port Coquitlam, BC
Margaret Gunning has been writing for newspapers and magazines for some years now, with her book reviews, columns, commentary and freelance articles appearing in the Globe and Mail, Victoria Times-Colonist, Vancouver Sun, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, various community papers, and several magazines that are, alas, no longer with us. Her poetry has appeared in multiple issues of Prism International, Capilano Review, blue buffalo and Room of One's Own. After many years of futile attempts to publish fiction, her first novel, BETTER THAN LIFE, came out in 2003 with Newest Press, and her second, NOLA MARDLING, will be published with Turnstone Press in the fall of 2005. She is currently working on another novel and a book-length poem, but she keeps on doing book reviews (more than 250 at last count) as "something to fall back on" when it all caves in. The eccentricities and extremes of internet culture have always intrigued her, which is what led her to write about such a strange topic (colony cleansing, one of the internet's chief obsessions - just google "mucoid plaque" and you'll see).

Dan Neil, Langley, BC
The SIWC has allowed Dan the opportunity to enter the world of writers. He always enjoys meeting writers; peers who share the same passion. He won first prize in poetry in 2001, second prize in fiction 2001 and first prize in poetry in 2002. This has profoundly helped him become a confident writer. His short fiction was published in the Fed Anthology in 2003 by Anvil Press. Dan has nine unpublished novels, the last of which, THE KILLING JARS, he finished this past summer. A publisher from the Maritimes requested the manuscript and Dan’s fingers are crossed. He also completed a Creative Writing Course at UBC this past spring. Attention all Publishers! Dan says he is ready for the next step!

Renee Norman, Coquitlam, BC
Renee Norman, PhD, is a teacher, writer, and poet whose work has been published in literary and academic journals as well as newspapers. Her dissertation, "House of Mirrors, which contains her autobiographical poetry and narrative, was published in 2001 by Peter Lang, NY. Renee is the mother of three daughters and she writes about mothers, daughters, family relationships, and snails.

Lea Harper, Haliburton, Ontario
Lea is the author of two collections of poetry, All That Saves Us and Shadow Crossing (Black Moss Press), and three recordings. She was recipient of The LaPointe Prize for poetry, and double-winner of The People's Political Poem contest. Her music received a nomination for a Juno award.

Lee believes life is enriched by the endless interconnections poetry insists we partake in. For her, writing is a form of meditation, beginning with a blank slate and a search for the source at the heart of our intentions – the inevitable plumbing for deeper implications. The process of a poem is the gradual revelation of potency and reason. In entering this contest, Lee wanted to test the merits of a new poem she felt strongly about. The annual Surrey International Writers' Conference contest seemed a worthy challenge. She is impressed with the work that goes into the Conference and its ongoing support of the writing community.