Short Story Contest

Writing between the lines

From different angles, winning stories reveal what's beneath the surface

Fiction writers often have an uncanny capacity for going beyond the superficial, offering readers insight into the origins, backstory and inner workings of their subject matter. That's often what makes literature so engrossing; it offers a perspective that is unexpected, surprising and novel.

The first-place stories of the 30th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest all succeed on that score. Handprints in paint transform from borderline vandalism to traces of past existences. The sordid details of a celebrity's downward spiral become critical news updates for heartbroken parents. A grief-stricken young woman's thoughts come to life in the form of a smitten couple.

The Palo Alto Weekly would like to thank the more than 100 writers who submitted work to this year's contest; the readers, Danielle Truppi and Sharon Levin, who selected the top entries in each category for the judges to consider; the judges for the adult categories, Mike Nagler, Nancy Packer and Tom Parker; and the Teen category judges, Nancy Etchemendy, Caryn Huberman Yacowitz and Marjorie Sayer. The Weekly would also like to thank the contest co-sponsors, Bell's Books of Palo Alto, Kepler's Books of Menlo Park and Linden Tree Books of Los Altos.



Adult Winners

First Place

Tara Cottrell Wright
Next Verse

Second Place
Cynthia Gordon Kaye
The Praying Mantis

Third Place
Patricia Fewer
You've Gone and Done It, Ivy

Youth Winners

Teen 12-14

First Place

Nisha McNealis
Closing Night

Second Place
Amrita Bhasin
The Indigo Sisters

Third Place
Benjamin Stein
The End of the Beginning

Young Adult 15-17

First Place

Caroline Bailey
The Third Wheel

Second Place
Alix Westgaard
On the Other Hand

Third Place
Deiana Hristov
Eight Key Pages

Short Story Contest judges



Kepler's Books and Magazines, Palo Alto Linden Tree, Palo AltoBell's Books, Palo Alto


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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