Sierra Writers awarded five winners in its 11th Annual short story contest for young writers on Wednesday, May 11.  These five read their winning entries aloud to friends and family and Sierra Writers members.

First, second, and third place included cash prizes of $150, $125, and $100 respectively along with gift certificates from The Book Seller.  Honorable mentions received $75 each. All received palpable encouragement, a core reason why Sierra Writers sponsors this contest.

The young writers delivered beyond the words on paper, including engaging answers to interview questions and a satisfying mixture of seriousness and fun at the awards session.

Deciding who would win the top prize and who would turn up second was an especially close call for the four judges. In “Mother,” Kali Hardwick (age 17) captured decades of loving appreciation by mixing a tornado, an orchard, and memories of mom.  She edged out Timothy Martinez (15). His “Legacy” wrapped some serious finger wagging around young warrior surviving in the bleakness of a not-too-distant future.  John Alkire (15), not lacking serious substance, injected fun into his third place “Arnold the Angry Aardvark.”

Alison Dowd won for “Army Greens” and Monica Marsh won for “Was It Worth It.” Both 18 years old,  they seemed pleased and honored with honorable mentions (and the cash).  Sierra Writers and all gathered at the Madelyn Helling Library were pleased and honored to share the awards session.

Look for the 12th annual Young Writers Contest in March of 2012.