One Read flash fiction contest enters judging stage

Friday, September 24, 2010 | 8:53 a.m. CDT; updated 9:04 a.m. CDT, Friday, September 24, 2010

COLUMBIA — A divorcee on the cusp of a new life. The voice of a foster child and her past. A traveler leaving a tour group for a new beginning.

These are some of the stories public services librarian Lauren Williams received for the One Read series' first flash fiction contest.

“I’m pretty impressed with how people took up this challenge,” Williams said.

Flash fiction is fiction characterized by its briefness. Entries were required to be 250 words or fewer and tell a story about changing identity.

“Storytelling is so central to ‘Await Your Reply,’ so we felt having a writing contest was fitting,” Williams said, referring to the One Read selection by Dan Chaon.

Williams received only 10 entries but considered the event a success based on the quality of the responses.

“It encourages great creativity to create a story in a short space,” Williams said.

Entries will be judged by two library staff members. Two winners will be selected, one each from Boone and Callaway counties. They will be announced online Oct. 1. Each winner will receive a $20 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble.

Williams hopes to repeat the event with next year’s One Read selection.

“It was a fun way to include people that might not otherwise come to a book discussion,” Williams said. “I hope between now and next year we can publicize it more so we can get more participation.”

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