The winners have been announced for the first annual Fiction Writing Contest from Montana Memory Project and Distinctly Montana!
The contest was a partnership between the Montana Memory Project, and Distinctly Montana Magazine. There were hundreds of entrants in three age groups: grades 3 - 6, grades 7 - 12, and adults. Each writer selected a picture from a library of possible images and then wrote a short story of no more than 650 words related to the image. The stories were judged by the staff of Montana Memory Project, the editor of Distinctly Montana, and freelance writer/educator Lindsay Dick.
For the 3 - 6th grade category, the first-place winner was Eric Juhl with his short story "Search and Find Contest," about how a search for a needle in a haystack leads a little boy to a lost wedding ring, for a while the second-place winner was Ray Biggerstaff with his story "The Beast of Echo Lake," a terrifying story of a lake monster.
In the 7th - 12th grade contest, first-place went to "The Sapphire Pendant" by Isabelle Gehrke, in which a little girl inherits her late mother's jewelry from her father, while Clara Marie Kyrouac took second-place with an untitled story about the construction of the Lewistown library.
And in the adult category, the sci-fi story "Letter Home" won writer Jane Limprecht first place, while second place went to Charlie Denison with a moving tale of a boy dressing up in his father's WWI-era uniform.
The stories are availably now at www.distinctlymontana.com/winners-montana-memory-project-short-story-contest, and the first-place winners will also be reprinted in the Fall issue of Distinctly Montana.
Montana Memory Project and Distinctly Montana are both very pleased with the quality of the submissions, and with the creativity and sensitivity demonstrated by the winners. Montana Memory Project Director Jennifer Birnel says, "it was a lot of fun to have this contest, and to see people of all ages engaging with the history of Montana in such inventive ways!"
Given the project's success, both Montana Memory Project and Distinctly Montana are committed to hosting the contest again next year. They look forward to even more ingenious stories from Montana writers from 9 - 99 years old.