Patrick Henry College
Patrick Henry College is pleased to announce the winners of its 2011-2012 short story competition, A Call to Pens. In the 12 to 15-year-old division, young writers created stories about “An Unexpected Adventure.” Writers 16 to 18 years old penned tales on the theme of “Redemption.” Over 200 writers entered the contest, but several stories stood above the rest.
The first-division winner, Sarah McCleskey, wrote “Princesses,” a tale of two sisters finding beauty, spontaneity, and adventure in the everyday. In the second-division winning story, “The Writing Desk,” author Shelby Griffith explores an orphaned teenage girl’s journey to redemption through words, written at a battered but beloved writing desk.
In “The Mailman and the Princess,” the second-place winner of the first division, Hannah Williams, weaves a delightful fairy tale about a humble mailman named Bill, with “eyes like green-beans and hair like a haystack” who wins the hand of a courageous princess. Third-place winner AnneMarie McPherson describes Moses’ decision to return to Egypt through the eyes of his wife, Zipporah, in “As Many as the Stars.”
Spencer Kossak’s fourth-place story, “The World Above,” narrates a farmer named Catrain’s encounter with mysterious explorer Dr. Ulric Millicent.
The 16 to 18-year-old division also saw a wide range of quality entries. Olivia Hiesey’s second-place story, “The Wind Forgets,” narrates an old alcoholic’s journey to find redemption and joy in pain. A young Amish woman must choose whether to return to her home and face the rejection of her community in “The Cost of Leaving,” by Emma Justis. Scott Bradley’s gripping tale, “Become the Mask,” describes a brutal young warlord made immortal by a horrendous mask that controls him—until he must make a terrible choice.
Volunteer judges from PHC’s faculty, staff, alumni, and upperclassmen with creative writing experience viewed entries anonymously and voted on their favorites through several rounds. Winners will receive cash prizes for their stories.
Junior journalism major and creative writer Alicia Constant managed the Call to Pens writing contest this year. The contest was founded in 2008 by Peter Forbes (Literature, ’09).
Congratulations to all the winners, and our sincere thanks to all who participated! Be sure to check back in the fall for our next competition!