Laurier Stedman Prize creative writing competition announces winners

An Assumption College student has captured the top prize in the biennial Laurier Stedman Prize creative writing competition.

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Grade 11 student Navraj Patial was awarded $3,500 for his short story entitled Achhut.

The competition – hosted by Laurier Brantford’s English program – invites students from the Grand Erie and Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District school boards to submit original, unpublished works of fiction up to 1,500 words in length.

Along with the first-place prize won by Patial, Grade 12 students Blake Chapman of McKinnon Park Secondary School and Rose Moore of Grand Erie Learning Alternatives received second place prizes of $2,500 each.

Three third place prizes of $1,500 each were awarded to Grade 12 students EsterRose Enos of St. John’s College, Harper North of Paris District High School, and Sophie Vandenbrink of Pauline Johnson Collegiate.

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“Congratulations to all students who entered the competition. You displayed an impressive level of creativity and talent,” said Ken Paradis, associate professor of English at Laurier Brantford. “Thank you to the teachers at each school who do a wonderful job of preparing their students.”

The Laurier Stedman Prize, first awarded in 2018, is made possible by an endowment and estate gift given to Laurier by the late Mary Stedman to promote and celebrate arts and culture. Prior to her passing in 2014, Stedman served on the executive of the Canadian Booksellers Association and was a champion of Laurier’s Brantford campus.

“We are grateful to the late Miss Mary Stedman, whose generosity enables us to inspire, celebrate, and develop young storytellers in our region through this prize,” said Lisa Wood, associate professor of English and Laurier Stedman Prize coordinator.

Competition entries are judged anonymously by a series of sub-juries, with the Top 10 reviewed by a prize jury to select the winner and rank finalists. The 2024 prize jury included award-winning authors, academics, and previous Stedman Prize winners and contestants.

Susanna Kearsley, a Brantford-born New York Times best-selling novelist was a member of the Prize jury and attended the awards ceremony on May 30 to deliver words of encouragement and advice to participants.

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