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2019 Short Story Contest Winners

Contest Winners

Jeff Edwards, short story contest winner
Jeff Edwards  | 1st Place
 
Jeff Edwards is a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer, Anti-Submarine Warfare Specialist, and consultant for the Defense Department. Trained extensively in mainframe computers, weapons systems, and naval combat tactics, he brings an experience-based edge of authenticity to his writing. Collectively, his novels have won the Admiral Nimitz Award for Outstanding Naval Fiction, the Reader's Choice Award, the Clive Cussler Grandmaster Award for Adventure Writing, the Military Writer's Society of America Gold Medal for Navy Fiction, and the American Author Medal. His novel, The Seventh Angel, was selected for the 2012 Chief of Naval Operations Professional Reading Program.

 
Sarina Dahlan, short story contest winner
Sarina Dahlan  | 2nd Place
 
Sarina Dahlan was born into an Indonesian family in Thailand. While children in the West grew up on fairytales, she learned parables through ghost stories, mythologies, and Japanese manga. A graduate of UCSD, she’s worked in careers as an advertising producer, corporate marketing strategist, small business owner, and a writer. She is the creator and manager of Wandering Wonder Woman, a blog by a global village of women who share travel stories, food recipes, and advice that promote a better world. She finds inspiration for her stories in travelling, the people she knows, and the places she has lived. Her debut short story collection, Shadow Play: Ten Tales from the In-between was published in 2018.

 
Kim Keeline, short story contest winner
Kim Keeline  | 3rd Place
Short Story: PDF icon The Crossing
 
Kim Keeline is the president of Partners in Crime: the San Diego Chapter of Sisters in Crime and the co-chair of the organizing committee bringing the conference Left Coast Crime to San Diego in March 2020. This is her first short story ever although she is working on several books. She is a freelance book publicist, web designer, graphic artist, and social media expert. She also is a volunteer steam train engineer on a 1907 Baldwin Locomotive at the Poway-Midland Railroad, which would explain why she is writing a mystery set in a train museum. She gives monthly talks to Oasis Learning Center or local libraries on literary or historical topics because what else does one do with a Ph.D. in English Literature if one leaves academia after 15 years of teaching?

 
Makena Morgan, short story contest honorable mention
Makena Morgan  | Honorable Mention
Short Story: PDF icon White Balance
 
Makena Sunao Morgan is a graduate from Chapman University, having studied with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing as a fourth generation Japanese American. He was inspired to become a writer after picking up a book on mythology during a trip to Japan. Since then he has begun exploring his heritage in more depth and one day dreams of teaching English in Japan for an extended period of time. His writing mainly focuses on science fiction and urban fantasy, with a focus on cultural mythology.


Rules & Guidelines

  • All entries are submitted online during a prescribed schedule set by the San Diego Public Library.
  • The contest is open to original, published or unpublished stories.
  • Stories that have won and/or placed in other writing contests are ineligible.
  • Stories previously accepted in this contest in previous years are not eligible.
  • Simultaneous submissions are allowed.
  • Stories should be suitable for a general audience.
  • Only (1) story per author.

Prizes

  • 1st Place – Publication on the website of the San Diego Public Library – and $300.00 first place award.
  • 2nd Place – Publication on the website of the San Diego Public Library – and $125.00 second place award.
  • 3rd Place - Publication on the website of the San Diego Public Library – and $75.00 third place award.
  • Honorable Mention - Announcement on the library website – and a gift certificate from the Library Shop independent bookstore located in the Central Library.
  • Public reading of the top 3 winning stories at a special program honoring the winners.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the SDPL Short Story Contest?

The Short Story Contest is a short fiction competition open to all writers residing in San Diego County. All genres of fiction are acceptable: literary, mystery and crime, science fiction, fantasy, horror, mixed-genre, and experimental.

What is the goal of the Short Story Contest?

The goal of the Short Story Contest is to nurture and foster local writing talent, and to provide a platform for the promotion and publication of short form fiction in the area.

Who’s eligible to enter the Short Story Contest?

All writers in San Diego County 16 and over are eligible to enter the Short Story Contest.  San Diego Public Library staff and members of affiliated organizations such as the San Diego Public Library Foundation, Friends of San Diego Public Library, and the Board of Library Commissioners are not allowed to participate in the contest.

How many short stories will be allowed to participate in the contest?

A maximum of 150 short stories will be accepted, based on a first come first served basis. Registration will automatically stop after the 150th author registers their manuscript.

Who will judge the Short Story Contest?

A Committee of Librarians with subject expertise in fiction, writing, publishing and literary studies will judge the contest. Judging will be anonymous. When you enter the contest your story will be assigned a number. Judges will identify your story by title and number only.

Does it cost to enter in the Short Story Contest?

There’s no fee to participate in the Short Story Contest. However the public library is always in need of support from the community that it serves. To support the library please visit the website of the Friends of San Diego Public Library and the San Diego Public Library Foundation.

What is the deadline to enter the Short Story Contest?

The Short Story Contest submission form will be available online on Monday, March 4 and must be completed and uploaded by Friday, April 5, 2019.

How long can a short story be and what other important rules are there?

The manuscript must be double spaced and not exceed 3000 words. Stories over 3000 words will be rejected without review. The manuscript must not have the author’s name anywhere in it. Pages must be numbered. The manuscript title must appear on every page. The manuscript must be saved as "Story Title-Author Name" (Ex: “Librarians in Love - Elsee Dewey”).  Standard fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, or Georgia in 12 point font size must be used.


Previous Winners

2018 Contest Winners

Photo of Aaron Garretson, short story contest winner
Aaron Garretson | 1st Place
Short Story: PDF icon Abbott's Pursuit
 
Aaron Garretson grew up in San Diego. He attended University City High School, received a bachelor’s in biochemistry from UCSD and an MFA in fiction from Columbia University in New York. His writing has appeared or is upcoming in Carrier Pigeon, SLAB, Opium, Night Train, The Village Voice, and Mexico City's Hermano Cerdo (in translation), among others. He has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize and was shortlisted for the Best American Nonrequired Reading. He currently works in an infectious diseases lab at UCSD.

 
Photo of Jean Seager, short story contest winner
Jean Seager | 2nd Place
Short Story: PDF icon The Award
 
Jean Seager, a native Californian, is writing a short story collection about Jewish immigrants to America in the early twentieth century. Her stories have been published in the online magazine Mikrokosmos, the print magazine The Long Story, and the San Diego Writers Ink anthology A Year in Ink. She is an active member of San Diego Writers Ink, taking classes and participating in read and critique workshops for the past five years.

 
Photo of Bruce Golden, short story contest winner
Bruce Golden | 3rd Place
 
Novelist, journalist, satirist, and native San Diegan Bruce Golden’s short stories have been published more than a hundred times across a score of countries and 30 anthologies. Asimov’s Science Fiction described his second novel, “If Mickey Spillane had collaborated with both Frederik Pohl and Philip K. Dick, he might have produced Bruce Golden’s Better Than Chocolate”--and about his novel Evergreen, "If you can imagine Ursula Le Guin channeling H. Rider Haggard, you'll have the barest conception of this stirring book, which centers around a mysterious artifact and the people in its thrall." His latest book, Monster Town, is a satirical send-up of old hard-boiled detective stories featuring movie monsters of the black & white era. It's currently in development for a possible TV series.

 
Photo of Eleanor Bluestein, short story contest honorable mention
Eleanor Bluestein | Honorable Mention
 
Eleanor Bluestein has worked as a public school science teacher, editor of science textbooks, and designer of multimedia educational materials. Tea and Other Ayama Na Tales, her book of short stories, won the Chandra Prize for Short Fiction. Eleanor is thrilled to be honored by the San Diego Public Library. She and her husband are frequent and very appreciative users of the Pacific Beach Taylor Branch.

For questions or further clarification regarding the rules and guidelines, please contact us at [email protected].

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