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February 15, 2013- UBC student wins 15th annual Okanagan Short Story Contest

Feather in his cap for Creative Writing major

Stringing words together to create a powerful story is what Joe Dermo likes to do. He also hopes to make a career of it one day. So the third-year UBC Okanagan student, who majors in Creative Writing, was thrilled to win the 15th annual Okanagan Short Story Contest. More than 163 stories were submitted for the annual competition, organized by the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at UBC's Okanagan campus. Erín Mouré, Award-winning Canadian poet and essayist, announced Dermo’s win at a public reading at the Okanagan Regional Library. Mouré is the sixth annual Writer in Residence at UBC Okanagan. All writers in the Southern Interior of British Columbia —east of Hope, west of the Alberta border, north of the U.S. border, and south of William’s Lake — were invited to enter their original, unpublished works of fiction. Dermo wrote his 1500-word winning story, Salmon at Night, last semester for a creative writing course at UBC Okanagan.

“It’s about a man's jaded outlook on the trivialities of sex and romance,” explains Dermo. “He's aware of the unattainable expectations formed around love that we as a society have created, and is thus a passive and disinterested figure in his own sex life.”

Dermo, a Kelowna resident is awarded $500 for first place. Second-place winner Andrew McMonagle, from Winlaw, won $200, while third-place winner Vernon’s Jade Hignett was awarded $100. Shortlisted authors were Shauna Mosbeck, Marissa White, Carlo Da Ros, Cassandre Campeau-Bouthillier, Bhupinder Jaswal, Brandon Shalansky, Katherin Edwards, and Shelley Wood. Dermo, who was at the Feb 12 reading, calls the win a major step for his career goals.

“It was overwhelming to hear my name in first place,” he says. “I came to Kelowna three years ago with the goal of learning from the vibrant writing community in the Okanagan. Winning this contest doesn't just reflect on me, but also on the professors and classmates who have trained me and helped me along the way."

The popular writing contest is sponsored by the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at UBC's Okanagan campus, the Kelowna Capital News, and the Central Okanagan Foundation.

LAST YEAR: February 3, 2012: Okanagan Short Fiction Contest Winners Announced!
Winners of the 14th annual Okanagan Short Story Contest, as selected by contest judge Karen Connelly, have been announced.

First place went to Karen Hofmann, of Kamloops, for her story "Billeh and the Bee Man". The story netted the well-known and former winner $500. Jillian Harvey, from Nelson, claimed the $200 second-place prize for her story "Summer Range." Tied for the Merit Prize and $100 each were Shelley Wood, from Kelowna for "The Drop" and Tara Storness-Bliss, from Kelowna for "Gun."

The contest was open to writers from throughout B.C.’s Southern Interior. The winners read from their stories at the Okanagan Regional Library. University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus writer-in-residence Karen Connelly was the judge for the event. Contest sponsors are UBC, Okanagan College, CBC Radio One, and the Central Okanagan Foundation.

Connelly drew the winning selections from eight short-listed writers: * Karen Hugdahl-Meyer, Vernon; * Joanne Carey, Kelowna; * Katherin Edwards, Kamloops; * Shelley Wood, Kelowna; * Karen Hofmann, Kamloops; * Ben Colver, Kamloops; * Jillian Harvey, Nelson; * Tar Storness-Bliss, Kelowna.

Photography Copyright © 2006 Nancy Holmes