Writers feted in new contest

Poets and short story authors gather at the Sidney North Saanich Library

People who filled a room at the Sidney North Saanich hung on the words of authors as the first Saanich Peninsula Community Writing Contest came to a conclusion.

More than 120 entries were received by members of the Sidney North Saanich Library Writers’ Group, which sponsored the contest. On May 29, winners in the three categories — poetry, fiction and non-fiction — read excerpts from their entries.

Don Chambers, winner of the poetry category, described in his work, The Canadian, a train trip across the country. A strong speaker, Chambers brought listeners on board and with him, they rode the rails.

Author George Mercer won the fiction category for his tale, Kid Gloves. It’s the story of a ginger-beer-loving, grammatically-correct cowboy who doesn’t take any guff.

Sara Hansen wowed the judges and audience with her story Book Covers, winner in the non-fiction category. Hansen wrote of her new life, trapped in her own body and how many people — herself included — make snap judgements before looking beyond the surface.

“It has been very successful as far as we’re concerned,” says Janice O’Keefe, a member of the Writers’ Group.

Barbara Smith, a local author who has had many books published and was one of the judges, says it took a lot of courage for people to submit their work and then agree to read excerpts during the finalé.

“Traditional Canadian publishing is not dead,” Smith advises. “Don’t be discouraged. You have to approach (publishers) in a businesslike manner. Canadian publishing moves at the speed of glaciation, slow, slow, slow, but it does work.”

Sharon Walker, manager of the library says there was a terrific response to the contest and thanked prize sponsors Tanner’s Books, Island Blue and Monk Office for their support. Winners in each of the categories received a $100 gift certificate at Tanner’s Books. Honourable mentions received a gift package from Island Blue and Monk Office.

Walker says the Writers’ Group hopes to generate more local interest and plans to host the second writers’ contest in 2015.


The Winners


Winner: Don Chambers, The Canadian

Honourable Mention: Wally du Temple, Inuksuk

Special Mentions: Keeley Milne, Recovering, and Linda Benet, Maggot Art


Winner: Sara Hansen, Book Covers

Honourable Mention: Wendy Swinton, Reflections of an Adventurous Life

Special Mention: Ruth Wellburn, A Pilgrim’s Quest


Winner: George Mercer, Kid Gloves

Honourable Mention: Darren Millar, Tsunami



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