How gratifying to find that not only does Richmond Hill have many young readers, but also many aspiring writers. In this, the 150th year of library service in Richmond Hill, 126 students submitted short stories to the 1st annual Library Short Story Competition. The response far exceeded our expectations and provided many hours of pleasurable reading for the judges. All of the short stories were well written and we congratulate all who entered on a job well done. The winning submissions are printed in this booklet and arranged into two groupings by age: those 11 to 14 and 15 to 19. It is with great pleasure that we present these creative works.
On behalf of the members of Richmond Hill Council, I am delighted to bring greetings to everyone attending this evening's "First Impressions" celebration marking the culmination of the Library's first annual Young Adult Short Story Contest. I am very pleased to tell you that we received 126 entries from the youth of Richmond Hill and I suspect that we have some budding Alice Munros in our midst.
I want to congratulate the award winners and thank all entrants for their interest and their effort. I wish each and every one of you all success in your future endeavors. I want to close by commending our Public Library on what has turned out to be a wonderful initiative and I hope we do it again.
William F. Bell has been the mayor of Richmond Hill for 14 years and served as a councillor for 8 years before that. Prior to his election as Mayor he was a partner in a local independent insurance brokerage business. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto and is an ardent skier and golfer. Serving as Chairman of the York Region Transportation & Works Committee, Honorary Trustee of York Central Hospital and Director of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Mayor Bell lives in Richmond Hill, is married, has two daughters, and a grandson.
"Writing is for reading. Better writing makes better reading and better reading makes better writing."
These are the words of Edgar Dale, a well-known educator who has made the study of writing his profession and his hobby. If you think about it, they make a log of sense: we learned to talk by listening and we learn to write by reading. Reading the short stories in this contest has been both a pleasure and a challenge, the challenge being to place one person's story ahead of another. You may not agree with the judges' choice, but let it be a consolation to you that the choice was not easy and your story has merit too. Continue to write for as Epicitus wrote: "If you wish to become a writer, write."
"The sun shines on the seventh child of the seventh child": certainly I have always felt Lady Luck is on my side. Born in Suez, I had the benefit of a cosmopolitan education in Alexandria, Egypt, Berkeley, California, London, England and finally, the University of Toronto, Ontario. Reading has been a passion and I spent ten years as a school librarian. I have also had the privilege of working with a Cambridge University Professor, Frank Bebenham, who in his youth accompanied Scott, the famous explorer, to the Antarctic. That was in my days as a cartographer in London, England. Today, I am a retired school principal, interested in furthering the cause of education, reading and writing in our community.
To each person who submitted a story to the Richmond Hill Public Library short story competition:
You are all winners. You put yourself out there. You gave yourself, through your story. You asked to be heard. That's what matters. Not whether or not you won. There was room for six winners and two runners-up, but that's just a structural issue. It has nothing to do with the meeting of souls that occurs when a writer seeks a reader. There were stories that I loved that didn't win, didn't even place. But you touched me, and that's what it's all about. So thanks, and stay out there.
Ken Sparling is the author of Dad says he saw you at the mall (Knopf, 1996) and Hush up and listen stinky poo butt (Sparling, 2000). He is an editor at Gutter Press and fiction editor at Broken Pencil magazine. He lives in Richmond Hill with his wife and two sons and works at the Toronto Public Library.
Sophie Buonvino Hart
Lauren Chang MacLean
Lori Lok-Yin Chong
Monica Ho-Yau Chung
Laurie Di Vincenzo
Julianne M. Doner
Michael B. Fleming
Nicole G. Gerrier
Cathy J. Lundy
Wai Yip Tam
© 2002 The Richmond Hill Public Library Board