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Tough choices for essay contest judges

Many high-quality entries among a record 80 submissions in annual Junior Authors Short Story Contest

Results are in for Delta's fourth annual Junior Authors Short Story Contest. This summer a record 80 stories were submitted from 16 municipalities across the province.

"This was our biggest year ever and the judges agree this was a strong year with many high-quality entries in each age category," said writer and contest organizer Laura Thomas of Ladner.

It was Delta's Kimberley Monteith who took first prize in the 14 to 17 "Teen" category with her story, Lost in Translation, which captures a moment of frustration in the life of a teenage superhero.

When asked what inspired her, the 15-yearold said, "I actually wrote this story as a background sketch for a character that lives in my head. I've been planning his full story for a while now but I could never get into his mind and feel sympathetic towards him. This was my attempt to get closer to that."

Rounding out the top spots in the teen category were Laura Wilkinson of Surrey, who placed second with her vivid fantasy story about a young girl who befriends a wolf titled Best Friends. In third place was Mariah Dear of North Delta with her suspenseful tale, Saltines and a Serial Killer.

In the "Tween" category, ages 10 to 13, it was 13year-old Erin Riesen of Mission who captured first prize with her story about surfing and the loss of a grandparent titled Pulled Away from the Sand.

In second place was Emilee Hanson of Vanderhoof with her love story called Shattered World. Ten-year-old Allison Hartley of Tsawwassen took third prize with her touching and descriptive tale, Aliens are Nice.

In the second annual children's incentive category, ages six to nine, it was Jennifer Takaoka's comedic story, Porky Pig's Adventure, that captured the top spot. The nine-year-old North Delta resident will receive a copy of Thomas' CD, Agent Story Tales from the Briefcase, as will other top writers in this category.

Thomas plans to run the contest again next summer for a fifth year. Her continuing goal is to make Delta a hot spot for developing writing and storytelling talent.

She would like to acknowledge the support of the following individuals and organizations: the Optimist, Delta's parks, recreation and culture department, Ricki Willing, the Ladner Business Association, Tutor Doctor and NetClimber Web Design as well as her cojudges Darlene Foster and Joanne Ashdown for their many hours of reading.

To find out the complete results and read the top stories in each category, visit