The overall winner of this year’s Okanagan College Three-Hour Short Story contest proved a little bit of string can go a long way.
Samantha Wex, a Grade 12 student from Salmon Arm Secondary School, said she had no idea what to write about when she sat down Nov. 24 for the college-wide contest at the Salmon Arm campus location.
All she had was the single phrase organizers required each writer to insert – red shoelaces.
“I spent 40 minutes wondering what to write about,” said Wex. “Everyone else was already typing, and I started on a few things, but they were no good.
“And then I just started writing, without even knowing what the climax would be.”
What poured out was a quirky short tale of a girl with a passion for the childhood game that requires a bit of string, or in this case, two red shoelaces tied together – Cat’s Cradle.
Her story won the regional prize for Shuswap-Revelstoke and then went on to be the overall prizewinner for the 2012 contest.
Cat’s Cradle will be published in a limited, fine art edition from Kalamalka Press, based out of the Vernon campus.
Each of the regional winners received a $250 tuition fee credit. Wex, as overall winner, received an additional $250 credit for a total of $500.
A total of 54 students took part this year in the college-wide contest, which is open to Grade 11 and 12 high school students and those enrolled at Okanagan College.
This marked the third year the college has held the contest. Previous overall winners were Gwenellen Tarbet from the South Okanagan and Shvaugn Craig, who also came from Salmon Arm.
“It’s been great to see students stretching themselves creatively through this process,” said Jeremy Beaulne, chair of Okanagan College’s English department.
“The pressure of the short time frame helps people realize just how much they can accomplish.”
Okanagan College’s English department puts on the contest along with support from each of the college campuses and the college’s arts and foundational programs.