Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest 2008
Congratulations to the winners of the 2008 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest!
First Prize $2,000
Victoria Gouldthorp, All Things Considered
Second Prize $1,000
Arthur Powers, The Bridge
Third Prize $500
Paul Garrety, Romanos
Fourth Prize $250
Maggie O’Toole, The Promised Land
Most Highly Commended $200
- Karima Alavi, In the Realm of Mercy
- Russell Cera, The Great Brown of the Millrace Pool
- Thomas Lee, Reminders of Absalom
- Desmond Meiring, Rosebush and Why He Chuckled
- Judy Willman, Endee
Highly Commended $100
- Betty Jo Goddard, One Small Mistake
- Dixon Hearne, Transfiguration
- Katie Kimbro, Through the Curtain
- Connie Lounsbury, The Wedding Ring
- Paul Ponsiglione, My Experience on Iwo Jima
- Angela Posey-Arnold, Grace and the Angels Sing
Betty Jo Goddard, USA, "Providential Timing"
Fred McGavran, USA, "Insight"
Nick Stokes, USA, "Loiter"
First Prize, $2,000 - Victoria Gouldthorp, USA
"All Things Considered"
The judges said, "In 'All Things Considered', Victoria Gouldthorp has thrown a critical eye over an everyday event (the aftermath of a funeral) and reworked this potentially rather hackneyed theme with insight, understanding, credibility, and even humor. The language strikes us as immediate, the situations are natural yet compelling, the characters sympathetic yet realistic. The plot is a simple one, yet it grabs the reader's attention because the narrator remains not only so thoroughly believable, but is frank and honest enough to admit to anti-social feelings that readers themselves have often entertained. Most of us have experienced similar pangs of guilt, and we have tried to suppress them; whereas the narrator's response provides a perspective not only strikingly different, perhaps even commendable. 'All Things Considered' not only examines a trying situation from a new perspective, but does so in a way that provides a first-class model of succinct yet powerful writing."
Second Prize, $1,000 - Arthur Powers, USA
The judges said, "Ever yearned to pull up stakes, move to an exotic country and experience a different culture at first hand? Well, the author of this story, Arthur Powers, has obviously done just that. His first-hand knowledge of country and people shines through every sentence of this riveting, spell-binding account of a struggle and a goal, memorably symbolized and brought to an overwhelming climax by the bridge of the title. The author's realistic characters and deft plot construction make 'The Bridge' stand as a superbly crafted narrative that has power, insight and authority written large on every plank and stone."
Third Prize, $500 - Paul Garrety, Australia
The judges said, "One of the most popular yet most difficult story genres to conquer, is the ghost story. To make the unbelievable believable obviously takes a great deal of narrative skill. Also mandatory is a special talent for creating a setting that is not only realistic but magical, peopled by entranced or entrancing characters that elicit sympathy and/or menace. Within the broad expanse of a novelette or a novel, the writer has leisure to build up atmosphere; whereas in a short story every word must be carefully chosen not only for the meaning it creates, but for the subtle emotional response it induces in the reader. Paul Garrety is obviously a master of this difficult genre. 'Romanos' most effectively presents a charismatic yet rewardingly sympathetic hero in a setting so impressively described and illuminated that the incredible becomes totally credible."
Fourth Prize, $250 - Maggie O'Toole, USA
"The Promised Land"
The judges said, "'The Promised Land' is a didactic tale. In fact, it may not be a tale at all. It may well be a recapitulation of a real event. Such is the writer's skill that it's impossible to tell—and this of course is the hallmark of one hundred per cent effective, didactic writing. The characters live and breathe in a setting you can tread with your own feet, and view in exactly the same detail with your own eyes. At the same time, the narrative moves inexorably to an almost foregone conclusion. While the reader knows in his heart of hearts that the inevitable will not be denied, he is forced to keep on reading, hoping against hope for a last minute stay of execution. This is potent writing indeed!"
John Howard Reid, founder of the Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest and the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest, won first prizes and other awards in prestigious literary events. A former journalist and magazine editor, he published several historical novels, a collection of poetry, a guide to winning literary contests, and over fifty books of film criticism and movie history. See his work at Lulu. He lived in Wyong, Australia, and passed away in 2018.
Dee C. Konrad
A leading educator and published author, Mrs. Dee Konrad was Associate Professor in the English faculty of Barat College of DePaul University, and served as Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences for the year 2000-2001.