Bucks County Short Fiction Contest For High School Students
Call for Entries - 2021
The fourth annual Bucks County Short Fiction Contest for High School Students invites entries from 9th to 12th graders who are residents of Bucks County or enrolled in a high school within the county. Home-schooled students are also eligible.
Submit your story
All students in 9th to 12th grades who live in Bucks County, or are enrolled in a high school in Bucks County, or are home-schooled in Bucks County, are eligible.
- Each entrant may submit one original short story. Stories must be previously unpublished, including in online blogs or publications. No fan fiction (based on existing books, movies or other media) is acceptable.
- Stories should be double-spaced, in Times New Roman 12, with standard margins. Stories may be five to ten pages, double spaced (about 1,450-2,400 words). DOC or DOCX.
- Please place the title of the story in the upper right-hand corner. Your name should not appear anywhere on the document.
- Please fill out the Entry Form completely and submit your story by 12 p.m. (noon) by Thursday, March 25, 2021. Entries must be submitted electronically. No paper submissions will be accepted. There is no cost to enter the contest.
- Entries that do not follow these rules may be disqualified.
Note: It’s a good idea to check your phone and email in the week following the contest. If your submission cannot be accessed, this is how the contest director will attempt to reach you.
Notification of Winners
Winner will be notified by the Director of the BCCC Short Fiction Contest. All contestants will be notified using the phone number or email address you provided.
- First place: $200 Honorarium
- Second place: $100 Honorarium
- Third place: $50 Honorarium
- Public reading at Bucks County Community College (TBA)
- Announcement on the College website
The celebratory reading will be held online, at 7 p.m. on Weds., April 21.
The Bucks County Community College is the sponsor of the Bucks Short Fiction Contests. The contest receives support from the Department of Language and Literature. The contest director is Bucks County Community College Professor Elizabeth Luciano. Faculty of the department will serve as judges.
Professor Elizabeth Luciano at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2021 Winners of the Short Fiction Contest for High School Students
Blake Fiadino, a resident of Churchville and a senior at Council Rock South High School, was awarded first place for his story, “Train Station.” Julia Witte, a Quakertown resident and first-year student at Quakertown Community High School, won second place for “The Things I have to Say.” Shane Bell, a senior at Council Rock High School South and a resident of Churchville, placed third for “A Juvenile Economy.” Prof. Jim Freeman of the Department of Language and Literature at the college made the final selection. The winners will receive certificates and awards of $200, $100, and $50, respectively.
In addition, three students earned honorable mentions: Pennsbury High School senior Julianna Taggart, for her story “The Perception of Reality”; Neshaminy High School first-year student Mia Manton, for “Grave of the Cello”; and Sarah Khatri, a senior at Council Rock High School South, for “False Hope.”
A celebration of the contest and a reading of the winning stories will be held online at 7 p.m., on Weds. April 21. The winners will be joined by Prof. Freeman, who was the final judge, and CRHSS English teacher Jessica Basta, who had two students among the winners. The public may attend the event by tuning in to the College’s youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/BucksCCC.
After the celebration, the winning stories will be published online at http://www.bucks.edu/academics/department/lang-lit/shortfictioncontest/.
Prof. James Freeman served as the final judge. His comments on the winning stories follow.
“Train Station”: This first choice is for various valid reasons: the Dante inscription that launches the story and is its "conceit" is masterfully woven into the fabric of the story. The narrator as protagonist and the character of "Pop" are fully drawn/limned in few words and are memorable creations that seem more real than one's next-door neighbor! This fine story uses nature interior monologue technique extremely well to reveal character and to move plot. "The Train Station," not derivative at all but harkening up to the reader's consciousness the best of travel place scenarios steeped in tradition like Arthur Miller's "Incident at Vichy" play, is a rollicking good and quite mature story for so young an author! The interior monologue technique here is organic to this very story ,and it goes far beyond the bold and italic typography for the main character's inner reveries as events unfold in believable succession. I was reminded of the professional effects of such writers as Jayne Ann Phillips, Mark Costello, Juan Rulfo and Jim Galvin. What a story!
“The Things I Have to Say” has a "killer" first line, grabby and alluring like Stephen Crane's opening line to his "The Open Boat:" "None of them knew the color of the sky" for the at- high-seas-at-night lifeboat scenario. This wonderful Sister to Brother letter as fiction, revealing itself as a letter fiction at just the right moment of surprise, has this technique as it main but not only "conceit," it's strong reason for ontological being. Besides the narrator as protagonist making us want to read more rapidly to find out what happens next, the character of "Dr. Zucher" is likewise well-drawn, and the story's wry tone has the irony and satire of an ethical Woody Allen, if such a thing were possible. Strong work!
"A Juvenile Economy" is typical of the strong stories here, distinguishing itself with a mature and very confident third person point-of-view narrator and an author who knows how to satirically limn such characters as "Mrs. Crabapple" and a host of schoolyard, credible folks we come to believe in and follow both for their interesting psychology and for their actions. I am pleasantly reminded of the unique eyes of Thomas Pynchon and of Kurt Vonnegut by buying into this engaging story.