Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest 2013
Congratulations to the winners of the 2013 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest!
First Prize $3,000
Victor Colantonio, Journal Entry September 11, 2001
Second Prize $1,000
Erin Byrne, Storykeepers
Third Prize $400
Doreen E. Massey, She Hath Done What She Could
Fourth Prize $250
Gwen Angstrom, A Mazey Grace
Most Highly Commended $150
- Maria Ashworth, A Rose by Any Other Name
- Jasmine Belen, Naughty Catholic Girl
- Michael Connon, Stranger
- Michael Allonois Peters, King Elementary
- Stacie Tomita, After It Rains
- Dana Yeo, Inside
The Judges Comment on the Winning Entries
1st: Victor Colantonio, "Journal Entry September 11, 2001":
"Much has been written about the September 11, 2001 attack on New York's World Trade Center and the huge complex's ultimate destruction. Indeed an insider's account, 'Chocolate Covered Crickets', won a First Prize in a previous Tom Howard Short Story Contest. Here, however, we have a terrifying account from a stunned observer outside the Center complex at ground level. The mind-numbing events Victor Colantonio describes are made so vividly horrifying by the author's restraint, we share his view of this terrifying scene as if we were standing with him side-by-side. There are no polemics here, just a straightforward account of what Victor saw with his own eyes. There was no need for him to make further comments. What he describes is absolutely mind-shattering. As a piece of straightforward reportage, 'Journal Entry September 11 2001', has no equal."
2nd: Erin Byrne, "Storykeepers":
"This intriguing account of Paris present-day and Paris war-time harks back to the terrifying days when the Nazis controlled that city and many Parisians risked death and torture by covertly joining the Résistance. The author's main concern here is with the Parisians who placed their lives on the line by sheltering and assisting American pilots who'd been forced to crash-land and had so far escaped capture (or re-capture). The story is so detailed and so intriguingly observant, it obviously springs from real life. The characters are cleverly individualized. They are flesh and blood. They come across as vividly real people as a result of the author's inspired way of contrasting her heroes and heroines of the Résistance, both as they were back in the days of the early 1940s and as they are today. Thanks to the author's skills, we readers are never in any doubt that she is dealing honestly, skillfully and intriguingly with events that spring from real life. The author tells us she is working on a novel, The Red Notebook, about these heroic Parisians in the Résistance who hid Americans—one woman in particular who lives with her brother and husband on Blvd. Sebastopol. The author tells she spent years doing the research and we can well believe it. This account is never less than inspiring, intriguing and captivating reading."
3rd: Doreen Massey, "She Hath Done What She Could":
"This is what I would describe as a story classic. The author has set herself a number of difficult tasks, namely to unravel an intriguing if parochial historical mystery, to make her rustic characters believable and real yet skillfully individualized, to bring her first-person narrator to life and unobtrusively mould her into a rounded character, and to use a writing style that seems simple and easy, yet is loaded with hard-won, unobtrusive skills. The dialogue is especially potent. The various regional accents are just right. The patois is not overdone. It places no strain on the reader yet skillfully conveys not only true-to-life regional accents, but the wholly engrossing characters and vivid personalities of the various speakers. If ever a story seemed totally true to life, 'She Hath Done What She Could' is a classic example of the way superlative writing skills and unobtrusive polish—writing and re-writing—can elevate a tale from the merely interesting to the absolutely superb."
4th: Gwen Angstrom, "A Mazey Grace"
"This is a dog story. I'm not a fan of dogs, but this is an unusual and really inspiring account which strikes the reader—as all good stories should—as coming straight from real life. The author invests her writing with warmth and simplicity, with color and understanding, with sadness and joy, with near-despair yet triumph. 'A Mazey Grace' is everything a winning story should be. It stirs the emotions (in fact, it moved this reader to tears), yet warms the heart, engages sympathy and makes one feel a kinship for the characters as if they were blood relatives. A moving and totally engrossing account of seeming defeat yet ultimate victory!"
John Howard Reid has won first prizes and other awards in prestigious literary events. A former journalist and magazine editor, he has 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 lives in Wyong, Australia.
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.