From January to March 28, Olivet’s English Department will be hosting its first ever short story contest. The contest was the idea of Courtney Brown, a writing and composition professor for the English Department, as well as Elizabeth Schurman, the Department Chair.
“I decided it was time,” Brown said. “Lots of other places have contests that are similar, and there’s no reason why our student body isn’t just as capable as any other place at creating interesting stories.”
The word limit for pieces being submitted is 5,000. There are no limits in terms of content or style, but students are only allowed to submit one story apiece. Anyone enrolled as an undergraduate student as of the spring semester, including part-time students, may apply.
“The possibilities here are limitless,” Brown said. “I know we don’t have very many chances to exercise that creative side. We get so busy with our majors and thinking about data and how to do all right in this complicated class, or that one. I really just want to have a space here where you can be creative and tell a story. So, tell a story that you find interesting. We’ll find it interesting too.”
“The nice thing about this is it’s an opportunity to write something for an audience, for a purpose. Which, unless you’re taking a writing class, you don’t necessarily get all the time. A lot of University students are creative people who want outlets for that,” Elisabeth Garrett, a junior and English Education major, said.
The contest will have one winner, who will receive a monetary prize of $100, as well as recognition on the English Department’s Facebook page and other social media. There will also be two honorable mentions, who will receive $25 and similar recognition.
Prior to entering, an entry form (available for download at the link below) must be filled out and attached with the story. The form asks for some brief personal information, as well as information about the story itself.
“We want to judge these anonymously, so there’s no bias involved or anything,” Brown said.
The stories will be judged by the entire English Department faculty throughout the month of April. The winners will be announced on the Department’s web page.
“I think it could be a whole lot of fun, and hopefully we’ll get plenty of submissions, and have a lot of good stories to go through and some good winners to announce later on,” Brown said.
“I want to encourage everyone who is creative and who’s been wanting an opportunity to do something with their writing for the short story contest,” Garrett adds.
“Never say that you’re not creative enough or it’s not good enough—take a risk!”
Interested students are advised to “sharpen your pencils and charge up your laptops” on the Department page. For more information on submission and guidelines, visit https://www.olivet.edu/onu-english-short-story-contest.