Laurier launches literary competition to commemorate Centennial year

In celebration of its 100th year, Wilfrid Laurier University launched a literary competition called “100 Words Centennial Drabble Contest.” Participants in the contest were asked to write a piece of fiction using only 100 words exploring a topic from one of the following categories: inspiration, leadership or purpose.

“It’s a centennial initiative, a celebration of creativity at Laurier. Also the idea that each of the three drabble categories reflect the Laurier slogan,” associate English professor Tanis MacDonald said of the contest. “It’s a little bit of a gimmick, having a story of 100 words to reflect 100 years.”

“There’s a big challenge to writing a story in 100 words. Things called flash fiction, or fiction under 500 words, are becoming quite popular as a literary genre.”

As a judge in the drabble competition, MacDonald told The Cord, “What we looked for in many ways was very basic; good writing. But good writing in 100 words has to be very precise. It’s not a lot of words to tell a story in, but it’s longer than most poems. In some ways it’s a genre trapped between those two [poetry and narrative].”

The panel, made up of associate English professors Tamas Dobozy and Tanis MacDonald and director of WLU Press Brian Henderson, declared the overall winner of the contest to be third-year Laurier student Emily Bednarz with her fictional work entitled “Piece.”

The additional winners were Eileen Morouney in the inspiration category for her piece “Laurifer,” Brian Gabriel Smith in the leadership category for “Leap of Faith” and Nicholas Dinka’s “Peach Tree” in the purpose category.

“The entries explored a range of topics in each of the assigned categories, and the winners all showed their ability to adhere to form while demonstrating innovative or strikingly original use of language,” said MacDonald.

Of the winner, MacDonald said, “I know that we all really liked the range of things Emily was working with. In some ways she was the one who balanced lyricism and story the best, which is what makes her the overall winner. She managed to do both; a little narrative and these beautiful images within.”

The response to the drabble contest was impressive. “A contest that’s run by a university is attractive for many university students to enter because it has a lot of safety, it’s not like a contest that a literary magazine would run, but yet, it attracted over 200 entries,” MacDonald concluded.

The winners of the competition will be publicly honoured with their awards at a celebration at the Hawks Nest on Sept. 29 at 7:30 pm.

Including the winning drabbles, 48 entries will be published in an official keepsake book.

Copies will be available for purchase at the celebration event for $10 each.

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