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Adult Winners

If you're tired of reading about news--which, of course, is the Weekly's bread and butter--the stories played out on the following pages offer a good diversion. They are the winning entries in our 1999 Short Story Contest.

Now in its 14th year, the contest attracted 195 entries divided into four categories: adults, young adults (age 15-17), teens (12-14) and children (9-11). .

These works of fiction will take you into three entirely different worlds. Our first-place winner, Emily D. Risberg of Palo Alto, writes about how a personal tragedy drives a wedge into a fragile marriage. Second-place winner Kirby Wright of Palo Alto takes on a complicated case of family dynamics gone awry. And Louis Fried of Palo Alto, our third-place winner, penetrates the world of ambivalent feelings toward past actions.

These stories were selected from 102 entries in the adult category. The adult winners will receive cash prizes of $500 for first place, $300 for second and $200 for third. They were also honored at a reception held this week at Kepler's Books and Magazines in Menlo Park.

Selecting the best stories was not an easy task. Editorial department staff members spent hours reading the stories before nominating 10 finalists, from which the panel of judges selected the top three.

The judges in the adult competition are local writers and teachers of writing: Tom Parker, Ellen Sussman and Kim Silveira Wolterbeek.

During the entire judging process, the names were removed from all stories so that neither the editorial staff nor the judges knew the identities of the authors until after the judging was complete.

Judges looked for characteristics such as an original voice, emotional impact, perception of the situation and precision in the language used.

Thank you to those who entered--we enjoyed reading your stories. The competition was tough, so don't feel discouraged if you didn't win. Keep writing, and try again next year in the Weekly's 15th annual Short Story Contest.

First Place
Emily D. Risberg, The Tumbler

Second Place
Kirby Wright, Houdini

Third Place
Louis Fried, The Slick

Young Writers Winners

It is our pleasure to bring you the winning stories in this year's fiction-writing contest for young people. The stories on the next several pages follow last week's publication of the winning stories in the adult division of the Weekly's 14th Annual Short Story Contest.

The contest for young writers was divided into three age groups: 9 to 11 years old, 12 to 14 years old, and 15 to 17 years old. We are very proud of the winning stories.

In the group for 15- to 17-year-olds, Rita Lomio of Menlo Park writes about a fascinating relationship between two young boys. Teen winner Jessica Gasiorek pens a disturbing story about life in the ghetto. And the winner in the category for 9- to 11-year-olds, Alvin Yap of Menlo Park, takes us on a time-travel adventure.

In selecting the winners, the Weekly's editorial staff screened the 93 entries in the three categories, then passed along the finalists to our panel of judges.

In the 14- to 17-year-olds category, the judges were Tom Parker, Ellen Sussman and Kim Silveira Wolterbeek. In the other two categories, the judges were Katy Obringer, who supervises the Palo Alto Children's Library, and children's authors Cynthia Chin-Lee and Caryn Huberman Yacowitz.

During the judging process, the names were removed from all stories so that neither the editorial staff nor the judges knew the identities of the authors until after the judging was complete.

The winners in the youth categories received a $100 gift certificate to either Printers Inc. in Palo Alto, Kepler's Books and Magazines in Menlo Park or Linden Tree in Los Altos. The second- and third-place winners received $75 and $50 gift certificates, respectively.

Ages 9-11

First Place
Alvin Yap, The Real Columbus

Second Place
Max Fox, Peter and Ju

Third Place
Karishma Oza, Faith

Ages 12-14

First Place
Jessica Gasiorek, Silence

Teen Second Place
Molly Mermelstein, The Pendant

Teen Third Place
Scott Henning, Anarchist

Ages 15-17

First Place
Rita Lomio, Master

Young Adults Second Place
Elisa Filman, My Elevator

Young Adults Third Place
David Maurier, Ham and Cheese


TOM PARKER, Novelist and writing instructor, Foothill College, UC Extension Program
ELLEN SUSSMAN, Writer, writing teacher at UC Berkelet Extension & private classes
KIM SILVEIRA WOLTERBEEK, Short story writer, Co-director of the Foothill Writers' Conference
KATY OBRINGER, Supervising Librarian, Palo Alto Children's Library
CYNTHIA CHIN-LEE, Children's Book Author

Past winners:

2022 winners | 2021 winners | 2020 winners | 2019 winners | 2018 winners | 2017 winners | 2016 winners | 2015 winners
2014 winners | 2012-2013 winners | 2011 winners | 2010 winners
2009 winners | 2008 winners | 2007 winners | 2006 winners | 2005 winners
2004 winners | 2003 winners | 2002 winners | 2001 winners | 2000 winners
1999 winners | 1998 winners | 1997 winners | 1996 winners

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