2021 Short Story Contest
readings & interviews along with Q & A were conducted online on Oct. 21st from 6 to 7:30 pm  See a recording of the event by going here.  An introduction begins about 14 minutes into the recording.

Student Short Story Winners:

1st Place: Angelica Frude "Windows"

(Richard Montgomery High School) 

2nd Place: Ada Fiala "One Block"

(Richard Montgomery High School)

3rd Place: Rachel Smith"Unforeseeable Beauty"

(Magruder High School)

Adult Short Story Winners:

1st Place: Theresa Walker "Searching for the


"Searching for the Light" is a beautifully written, sensitive story that offers readers a narrow yet potent view of loss. As if looking through a keyhole, readers get just a glimpse of the protagonist, Byrne, and her parents, Phil and Caroline. As is the case in all excellent stories, history weighs a great deal here. Byrne's past lies atop her present in surprising and moving ways. We get a glimpse of Phil's injury, a glimpse of the corridors of Philadelphia's Einstein Hospital, a glimpse of Byrne's own desires, interests, and romantic life. A naturalistic story in the vein of Edith Pearlman, Alice Munro, and Ruth Ozeki, "Searching for the Light" is elegantly written and subtle, but its images, phrases, and characters are profoundly engaging and vividly drawn. This is memorable, beautiful writing.

2nd Place: Barry Ziman "Will-O-The-Wisp"

"Will-o-Wisp" opens on a clear, bright Sunday morning in a college town. Dierdre and other weekend revelers are headed back to their dorm rooms and student apartments still wearing their clothes from the night before. But what starts as a familiar story of casual sex quickly turns strange. The previous night, Dierdre saw a warm and benevolent light as she made love to a student she'd met at a club. In this very short piece, the author has managed to avoid the tawdry cliches of sex scenes and instead presents a story about longing for the ineffable. Perhaps, in attempting to recapture and understand that mysterious light, Dierdre's looking for intimacy. Perhaps she's trying to understand something about herself. Or perhaps Dierdre's view of reality is askew. In any case, this story refigures the folkloric Will-o-Wisp as an inscrutable beacon, an ideal of intimacy, a benevolent, elevating presence that puts one in mind of St. Theresa in Ecstasy. 


3rd Place: James Gilbert "Sunrise in the Valley"

In "Sunrise in the Valley," a Black doctor comes to work in a rural Pennsylvania nursing facility, much to the surprise of the facility's staff, residents, and administrator. In a lesser writer's hands, this story might be one that overlooks or whitewashes racial complication. Here, though, Dr. Johnson's anxieties are well founded in history, and his unease among rural white people is palpable. When he gets a flat tire on his first commute to work, a truck stops behind him and two white men ultimately help him change the tire. The tension of the moment is alleviated when the doctor comes to no harm, but the echoing sentiment at the end of the story is what makes this one memorable. This story is a powerful reminder that for some of us, danger is to be found everywhere.

Winner & runner up short stories may  be downloaded using the link for each story. 

Winners and Runners-Up in the 2021 F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Story Contest were presented on Thursday, October 21 from 6:00pm -7:30pm.

Student Winner Introduced by  Taryn S. Trazkovich 

         Adult Winner Introduced by Nathanael Brown

Sample readings from last year are here.
short story zoom view.jpg

On the evening of October 21, the winners and runners-up of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Student Short Story Contest (open to students in Montgomery County) and the adult F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Story Contest (open to residents of Maryland, Virginia, and DC) were announced. 

The winners and runners-up in both the adult and student Short Story Contest read from and commented briefly on their stories.