Bucks County Community College announced the winners of the sixth annual Bucks County Short Fiction Contest for high school students. There were 41 total entries this year.
Henry Franklin, a senior at Pennsbury High School, was awarded first place for his story The Portraits of Randal Holmes. Erin Hernandez, a senior at Neshaminy High School, won second place for Do NOT Help Orphans You Find on the Street. Emily Myers, also a senior at Neshaminy, captured third place for I Did Something Bad. Dr. Erangee Kumarage, a faculty member at Bucks County Community College, made the final selections.
Kumarage cited Franklin’s story as “a sophisticated critique of corporate greed, capitalism, and the complicity of the church and state in the oppression of the workers. The protagonist, Randal Holmes, is a compelling figure who appears to be more a vessel for art than an artist and who can’t help but fulfill the prophecy in his art. The prose contains vivid imagery (‘His mental servos collapsed; his cognitive cylinders silenced’). The story invites multiple readings, so intricate is its symbolism.”
Of Hernandez’s entry, Kumarage described it as “a story that reminds you that if you’re going to wish for immortality, make sure you’re not a seven-year-old (‘…do you know how hard it is living as a seven-year-old? I’ve been to kindergarten more times than I can count and no matter how fluent I am at reading they refuse to move an orphan up a grade’). The narrator skillfully changes our attitude towards Jeremy, from suspicion and fear to sympathy and reminds the reader that the only weapon against unasked-for immortality is humor.”
Kumarage said of Myers’ piece: “a high school drama about Valentine’s Day plans gone awry turns into an unexpected thriller with a narrator who only reveals herself at the end of the story. The misdirection of the reader by the narrator as to who the real protagonist of the story is takes this tale from the predictable to the ‘Who saw that coming?’”
A reception for the winners and their friends and family will be held on the Newtown campus later this month. The winners will receive certificates and gift cards of $200, $100 and $50, respectively.
For more information about the Bucks County High School Short Fiction Contest, click here.