More than 100 writers from 13 states, the District of Columbia, and Germany entered the first Rehoboth Beach Reads Short Story Competition, but it was local writers who took most of the top honors.
First prize went to Sarah Barnett, who lives in Rehoboth Beach and is vice president of the Rehoboth Beach Writers’ Guild. She won $500 in cash, donated by Browseabout Books. Second prize went to another local writer and guild member, Nancy Powichroski Sherman, who lives in Harbeson. Third prize went to yet another guild member, Renay Regardie, who splits her time between Washington, D.C. and Rehoboth Beach.
Second and third prize winners received Cat & Mouse Press tote bags containing gifts. The stories had to have a connection to Rehoboth and fit the theme The Beach House. They were judged on creativity, quality of writing, suitability as a beach reads, and fit with the theme. The judges did not know the identities of the authors until after the winners had been chosen.
In addition to the main prizes, judges' awards were given by each of the five judges: Rich Barnett, author of "The Discreet Charms of a Bourgeois Beach Town: Rehoboth Beach Stories"; Gail Braune Comorat, award-winning poet, short story writer and founding member of the Rehoboth Beach Writers’ Guild; Kristen Gramer, assistant director, Lewes Public Library; Fay Jacobs, journalist and author of "As I Lay Frying" and other memoir books; and Ethan Joella, college writing professor and author of fiction, essays and poetry. Winners of the judges’ awards were Ellen Collins of Bethany Beach, Nancy Powichroski Sherman of Harbeson, Deb Griffin of Lewes, Mark Mobley of Wilmington and Nancy Linton of Garnet Valley, Pa.
The top entries will be included in a book to be published by Cat & Mouse Press later this year. "Rehoboth Beach Reads: The Beach House" will contain the best stories submitted as chosen by the judges. The book will be available in time for holiday buying and will be promoted to summer visitors next season.
“The competition was tough,” says contest organizer Nancy Sakaduski, “but this was a great opportunity for new and emerging writers to see their names in print, and for that reason we had quite a few winners.” Many of the writers whose works were chosen for the beach reads book have never been published before.
The contest was so successful, Sakaduski is already making plans for next year’s contest. “We will choose a new theme and give writers another chance to gain a publication credit,” she says. The theme and contest guidelines will be posted on the Rehoboth Beach Reads website when they become available.
“We were thrilled to provide the incentive for area writers to create top-quality stories with a local setting,” says Steve Crane, owner of Browseabout Books, the contest’s sponsor. “We support our local writers and look forward to showcasing the Rehoboth Beach Reads book in our store.” Browseabout Books is an independent bookstore located at 133 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach.
In addition to operating the short story competition, Rehoboth Beach Reads produces a free e-newsletter to provide area writers with news, advice, information and support. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.