How gratifying to find that not only does Richmond Hill have many young readers, but also many aspiring writers. It has been said that what is written without effort is, in general read without pleasure. As the judges spend many pleasurable hours reading the submissions, one can conclude that great effort was expended by the young people who submitted their work. We congratulate all who entered on a job well done. The winning submissions are printed in this booklet and arranged into two groups of prize winners according to age. It is an honour to present these creative works.
Aphodite's Crown by Nicole Fahner, Age 14
Edward the King's Story by Steven Choe, Age 14
A Serpent in the Garden by Aron Zaltz, Age 13
The Summer of Superheroes by Yael Berger, Age 14
The Power of 16 by Stephanie Tom, Age 17
Big Black Box by Melissa Fockler, Age 19
The End of the Rain by Daniel Harley, Age 19
In the Hands of Destiny by Nadita Mallawaratchi, Age 17
On behalf of the members of Richmond Hill Council, I am delighted to bring greetings and best wishes to everyone attending this evening's "First Impressions" celebrating the Library's Second Annual Young Adult Short Story Contest. Having served as a judge, I can tell you that the overall quality of the submissions was excellent.
I would like 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. Let me close by commending our Public Library on its initiative in conceiving this short story contest and carrying it into its second year. It has great appeal to young adults and will hopefully continue for years to come.
William F. Bell has been the mayor of Richmond Hill for 15 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, Honourary 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.
It has been both a pleasure and an education to read such a diverse array of work. Congratulations to you all. Some of you have written with a simple and direct style, some have combined the fantastic with the real, and many have challenged the reader to search beyond the surface for hidden meanings. Every story is unique and thought-provoking. Putting pen to paper (or fingers to a keyboard) can be a daunting task, and then handing that work to someone else for judging can be just as difficult. But being critiqued is part of writer's lot in life, and it can lead to polishing and fine-tuning, which makes the work even better. I hope you find writing fulfilling and enjoyable, and that you continue to write just for the love of it.
Joan Clark is a freelance editor, researcher, copy editor, and writer. During the past twenty years, she has worked for a variety of publications and companies, ranging from Chatelaine magazine and Saturday Night, to Harlequin Books and the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. The project she is most proud of, though, is co-authoring Later Days in Richmond Hill: A History of the Community from 1930 to 1999, which chronicled the growth of the town and the lives of many of its citizens. Joan was born and raised in Toronto and moved to Richmond Hill in 1988. She is married and has two children, and enjoys volunteering at schools, as a member of the Richmond Hill Public Library Board, and at the York Central Hospital with her golden retriever, Chance.
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); Hush up and Listen Stinky Poo Butt (custom made by order from the author); and an untitled work (Pedlar Press, 2003). He also has stories and articles online at,, and others.
Yael Berger   Angelo Bufardeci   Sarah Burke   Nicole Caggiano   Alvin Chav   Andrea Cheung   Steven Choe   Anika Choi   Crystal Choi   Heather Consentino   Jenna Donaldson   Holly Edejer   Nicole Fahner   Melisa Fockler   Denise Gan   Lindsay Gallowitz   Lauren Gordon   Daniel Harley   Tracey Holzhueter   Andrew Iliadis   Farhana Kassam   Jia Lee   Julia Lee   Catherine Lundy   Nadika Mallawaratchi   Shanika Mallawaratchi   Pat McGuire   Kelly Morrison   Benjamin Nurgitz   Diandian Peng   Leons Petrazickis   Bianca Suyan   Stephanie Tom   Agnes Tsang   Mark Walsh   Aron Zaltz 
© 2003 The Richmond Hill Public Library Board