The Bucks County Short Fiction Contest is pleased to announce the winners for Fall 2021. Lynn Levin of Southampton won first place for her story, “Tell Us About Your Experience.” Megan Monforte of Doylestown was awarded second place for her story, “Dear Mrs. Stover.”  Jennifer Giacalone, also of Doylestown, placed third for her story, “Wrestling with Dust.” Novelist Megan Angelo, author of the novel Followers, made the final selection. She also awarded Honorable Mention to Gabriel Tenaglia of Langhorne, for his story, “The Everything Room.”

    A celebration will be held online, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 17. During the event, the winners will read briefly from their stories, and be interviewed about their writing processes. Angelo will join us as well, to discuss her writing life. The public can access the event by watching on the College’s Youtube channel:

    Of “Tell Us About Your Experience,” Angelo wrote, “I will never look at a survey window (right before I x it out) the same again! This story is a gem, packed with detail, rhythm and comedy. The writer creates a specific, captivating protagonist and beats out a nuanced but persistent rallying cry, all in eight pages. A tribute to that “man seen from a distance” we all know so well—or don’t—and a timely snapshot of how our quest to make everything better sometimes just makes things worse.”

    The judge lauded “Dear Mrs. Stover” by remarking that the story “…had such a propulsive structure. I loved toggling between the emails and the action on the beach. The language in the emails was so thoughtful in its restraint, tone and progression, and the staging of the (non)proposal scene was elegantly done. It’s hard, in a short story format, to make one chance encounter feel impactful enough to change the course of a character’s life—this story manages to do that for two chance encounters. Very impressive.”

    Angelo cited “Wrestling with Dust” by noting, “This story’s setting was so richly drawn—I loved the way the writer found so much wonderful imagery in a place literally known for being walked past. This was a large cast for a short story and the writer did a great job of quickly establishing each player’s voice and perspective. I loved seeing the different personal histories the men on the site brought to dealing with the nuns. I was in for all of it from the top, because the opening lines were so strong.”

    Tenaglia’s story was cited as offering “…an incredible authenticity running through every detail of this story, from the family dynamics to the dialogue to the precise descriptions of the home. I really felt for our narrator. And I loved that these characters discussed huge ideas without it feeling like, you know, Two Characters Discussing Huge Ideas. Again, that authenticity kept everything grounded. A story with real heart, and real truth.”

    The contest is open to adults who are residents of Bucks County. The winners will receive honoraria of $200, $100, and $50, respectively. The contest is funded by Bucks County Community College, and receives support from the Department of Language and Literature. Elizabeth Luciano, an associate professor at the College, is the contest administrator. A contest for high-school students will be held next spring.

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