Montgomery County & Virginia High School Students Win Gaithersburg Book Festival Short Story Contest
Arlington, Va., High School Student Katie Way Takes Top Honors
“Lots of people have heard of love at first sight, but this was something else entirely. Hate at first sight would be close, but not quite right; ‘Hate” didn’t evoke the deep, burning feeling that Arthur felt in the center of his chest the first time he saw the kitten. Loathing at first sight. That was more like it.”
So begins the winning tale from the 2012 Gaithersburg Book Festival short story writing contest for high school students.
The three winners, who read their stories after being announced at the Gaithersburg Book Festival on May 19, were:
- First Place: Katie Way of Arlington, Va., a junior at Yorktown High School
- Second Place: Halcyon Ruskin of Kensington, Md., a freshman at Albert Einstein High School
- Third Place: R.E. Potter of Delaplane, Va., a homeschooled junior
“Neither of us could believe we selected a winning story that was told from the perspective of a cat,” said award-winning mystery author Brad Parks, who selected the winner along with fellow 2012 featured author Jennifer Miller. “But right away we had to know: Was Arthur the cat going to kill the new kitten? The suspense really pulled us through the narrative and Katie’s voice was absolutely charming. I only hope she has more stories to tell.”
In addition, this year the festival organizers implemented a voting system on the finalist stories so that festival attendees could vote for a “Fan Favorite.” The winner was Andrew Qian of Boyds, Md., a junior at Clarksburg High School.
Contest finalists also included:
- Fairfax County, Va.: Amanda Cerva from Oakton High School and Rachel Wong from Mount Vernon High School
- Howard County, Md.: Jennifer Baik and Jing Wang from Centennial High School
- Montgomery County, Md.; Alice Yanhong Lu from Thomas Wootton High School; Jasmine Smith, Phoebe Temkin and Lily Xu from Richard Montgomery High School and Cary Spector from Bethesda Chevy Chase High School
The contest drew 141 entries from 14 jurisdictions: Anne Arundel County, Arlington County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Fairfax County, Fauquier County, Frederick County, Gloucester County, Howard County, Loudoun County, Montgomery County, Prince George's County, Prince William County and Washington, D.C.
Three local volunteers served as round one judges, narrowing the stories down to 13 finalists in a blind judging process. Two published authors, who were featured authors at the festival this year, served as the round two judges: Parks, author of “The Girl Next Door: A Mystery,” “Eyes of the Innocent” and “Faces of the Gone,” and Miller, author of “The Year of the Gadfly.”
The finalist stories can be read online at: http://gaithersburgbookfestival.org/short-story-entries.
The Gaithersburg Book Festival is an annual all-day celebration of books, writers, and literary excellence. For more information please visit www.gaithersburgbookfestival.org.