I’m delighted to announce the winners and runners up of the 2016-17 Instant Hook Writing Contest. It was a very strong year indeed with over a hundred entries. A sincere thank you to all entrants for taking part and sharing their works-in-progress.
Winner: Bianca Lakoseljac (Ontario) Where the Sidewalk Ends
This entry grips the reader immediately as a romantically-involved couple encounter a street artist at sunset and the reader senses a gulf opening up between them. The story promises to reveal a great deal about the all the characters, and a touch of mysticism is very persuasively suggested through a heightened sensory awareness. Subtle, compelling, and economical, this is a thoroughly accomplished piece of writing.
Two runners-up (in alphabetical order):
Lea Storry (Alberta) Me, You and Here
This very assured opening places the reader inside a relationship between a woman and man who must wait out a storm while on a canoeing expedition. The strength of the writer’s voice is particularly impressive as the protagonist claims reader intimacy to great effect. We feel a complex, layered past and well-delineated lines of conflict deep in the fabric of the prose.
Shawna Troke-Leukert (Newfoundland and Labrador) Forgive
This opening reveals a highly impressive mastery of plot as a woman entrusted with the care of a minor sees catastrophe unfold. The author effectively brings many crucial story elements — very high stakes, dread of the future, just enough backstory — into play in the opening 300 words. There is a great deal going on but we experience it all properly without feeling that we’ve been told.
NOTE: There were many very worthy pieces of work which did not make the final shortlist. A short adjudication was written for each of the entries. Feel free to ask for this should you wish to receive this feedback.