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Adult Winners

The story of the Palo Alto Weekly's 26th Annual Short Story Contest is one driven by characters -- the robot who struggles to define humanity, the horse that longs for freedom, the mother who retreats from her worrisome reality, and the girl who develops in front of the reader's eyes during a turning point in her life. The characters in each story are as distinct as their authors, and each lends emotion and depth to their stories.

The Palo Alto Weekly thanks each of the 142 writers who entered this year's contest as well as writers Ann Hillesland and Shelly King, who chose the top entries in each category to send to judges.

Also, thanks to our judges and the contest co-sponsors Bell's Books of Palo Alto, Kepler's of Menlo Park and Linden Tree of Los Altos.

For the first time ever, download the audio version of the first place winners stories.


First Place
Diane Holcomb

When the Knock Comes

Download Audio Version


Second Place
Apala G. Egan
Bastille Day


Third Place
Michele Raffin
Do the Math

Youth Winners

Children 9-11

First Place
Nicole Knauer
Download Audio Version

Second Place
Emma Miller

A Tale of a Tail

Third Place
Nisha McNealis
Lightning Strikes


Teen 12-14

First Place
Maya McNealis
The Perfect Souvenir
Download Audio Version

Second Place
Emily Katz
Merry Go Round

Third Place
Alexandre Poux

Four Knocks


Young Adult 15-17

First Place
Curtis Wu
Robot Rob
Download Audio Version

Second Place
Gavin Rea
New Shoes Always Hurt

Third Place
Alessandra Occhiolini
Caltrain. Afternoon Service. Makes All Stops.

Short Story Reception

The Story Contest reception wa held
Tuesday, February 28th at 5:30 p.m. at Kepler's Books & Magazines.

Short Story Contest JUDGES

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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