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Voting for Write Michigan short stories contest almost over

Local writers compete to win $250 and see their work published in this year’s Write Michigan anthology. Public votes are open through January 31.
2014 athology availible at Kent District Libraries

2014 athology availible at Kent District Libraries /DeLeon Miner

Important Dates

January 31 - Voting Ends

February 2 - Winners Announced

February 2 – March 13 - Anthology Layout and Production

March 21 - Awards Ceremony, Anthology Sale & Book Signing at Schulers Books on 28th Street


Online voting by the public for Write Michigan short story entries continues through January 31. The contest is in its third year, and includes not only a public vote but a judge's vote as well. The judges will be voting on seven topics, on a scale of 1 to 10. The judges will be looking at characterization, setting, plot, mechanics, writing quality, theme and passion.

The contest is held by Kent District Libraries (KDL), Schuler Books and Music and Herrick District Libraries. The final award ceremony, announcing winners in the adult, teen and youth sections, will be held March 21 at Schuler Books (2660 28th Street Southeast, Grand Rapids, MI 49512).

Both Judges’ Choice and Readers’ Choice winners will be announced at the award ceremony at Schuler Books. The first prize winners in each category will receive $250. The runners up will receive of $100, and all finalist will have the opportunity to be published. 

Shelley Irwin has been a Write Michigan judge for all three contests.

"I have been a supporter of KDL, both personally and professional, and believe in their community involvement, and I believe in the art of writing," Irwin says. She says she takes her responsibility as a judge seriously. "Lives will change with recognition and in this case, publication opportunities. I take my time with each entry and score to my best ability.”

Irwin prepares for the judging in advance and takes her time reading through the entries.

"I assure that I have crossed off the calendar to put in several readings of the entries. This is not limited to a one day process," says Irwin. “It's good to sleep on a story and prepare to do the scoring when I am absolutely ready. We are not privy to the entry names so it's a fair measurement."

Last year, the judges' choice in the adult category was Gregory Bee, writing under the pen name Oscar Bee. Bee says that it not only changed the way he thought of himself, but also affected the way he thinks while reading.

"I think I have an unusual situation because I'm not really a writer. I'm more of a reader. I think winning the contest kind of made me think, 'oh I am a writer, and then if I’m a writer how am I reading this,'" says Bee. This year, Bee will be joining Irwin and nine others as a judge.

Winning the contest last year has affected the way Bee will be judging the stories.

"I began reading in general much differently than I had before I'm now looking at it for stylistic details, and as far as the contest entries go I found myself looking for is something original. I generally don't get excited by formulaic story or novel where you can know what's going to happen before it happens just because they're following formula," says Bee. "I'm really into reading different stories looking for something that I haven't seen before. I'm looking to be surprised. Aside from following the genuine criteria, I try to do that as well is looking for something exciting."

An anthology of the stories will be published by Chapbooks Press, and copies of the anthology will be available for purchase March 21 at Schuler Books. Previous anthologies have retailed for $14.95 and are available online.

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