Two Students Recognized by Writing Contest

By Jordan Williams, William & Mary Libraries

William & Mary Libraries placed third in the number of submissions after participating in the Long Story Short Awards, an interuniversity writing contest for student-written flash fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry.

The contest was organized by Short Édition, the company that developed our short story dispenser in the Swem lobby. The dispenser prints out pieces of flash fiction on-demand and Long Story Short Award participants have the opportunity to be selected for publication.

Andrew Hoffman ’24 was the juried winner of the creative nonfiction category. His short story, Someone You Know, has already been read 100-plus times on the Short Édition website.

“I participated in the contest mainly to get in the habit of getting eyes on my work,” Hoffman said. “I didn’t expect anything of it, but it felt really good after learning I was a finalist. Then I forgot about the competition for a few weeks until I woke up to the email saying I won.”

Someone You Know discusses the shift in Chicago’s social dynamics from Hoffman’s perspective during the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“I live in Chicago, and it has a large community of strangers,” he said. “I tried to put that in my piece because I’ve always enjoyed watching people do odd things. My story conveys how important it is to have strangers in our lives even though we don’t think a lot about them and how COVID took that away from us.”

Vera Soltes ’23 was a finalist in the poetry category. Her poem, Bird Soup, will also be published by Short Édition.

Despite crafting a published poem, Soltes does not spend much time writing poetry. She shared it’s difficult to find time to write in between studies but wrote Bird Soup while taking a creative writing course at W&M.

“The poem is about this bird who seems to be very wise and know everything, but the bird actually knows nothing,” Soltes said. “It’s just a normal bird. That’s how I felt going into my creative writing class because I lacked experience and only hoped my assignments went well.”

After receiving high praise for Bird Soup, Soltes is now encouraged to start carving out more time for writing and participating in other literary competitions.

Someone You Know and Bird Soup will both be added to the short story dispenser in the Swem Library lobby.

“I always walk in the library and take those short stories and to think my work is in the machine is kind of an honor,” Huffman said.