Gaithersburg Book Festival Selects 12 Finalists in Short Story Contest

Gaithersburg Book FestivalFirst-round judges have selected 12 finalists in the Gaithersburg Book Festival’s sixth annual, High School Student Short Story Contest.

The first-, second- and third-place winners, along with a fan favorite, will be announced at the Festival on Saturday, May 21, which is held on the grounds of City Hall. Winners will receive $100, $75 and $50, respectively. The fan favorite will receive a $25 gift certificate. The prizes are provided by the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus.

The winning stories will be selected by Gaithersburg resident Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, author of more than 140 books for both children and adults, including “Shiloh,” for which she received the Newbery Medal. Naylor will be appearing at the 2016 Festival to talk about her latest novel for young teens, “Going Where It’s Dark.”

“I’m really looking forward to reading the works of these finalists,” Naylor said. “I am always amazed at both the quality and depth of some stories by teen writers, far better than what I was writing at their age.”

The 12 finalists, in alphabetical order, are:

• Grace Biddle – South River High School, grade 11, Crofton, Md.
• Sarah Craig – Oakton High School, grade 12, Herndon, Va.
• Olivia Hammond – Clarksburg High School, grade 11, Germantown, Md.
• Alli Henderson – Broadneck High School, grade 11, Arnold, Md.
• Naomi Kline – Osbourn Park High School, grade 10, Woodbridge, Va.
• Bethany Kressin – Osbourn Park High School, grade 12, Manassas, Va.
• Angelica Mansfield – Watkins Mill High School, grade 10, Montgomery Village, Md.
• Emerald Norman – Takoma Academy, grade 11, Rockville, Md.
• Neida Reina – Gaithersburg High School, grade 12, Gaithersburg, Md.
• Bisma Shaikh – Osbourn Park High School, grade 11, Manassas, Va.
• Emma Stohlman – Osbourn Park High School, grade 11, Dumfries, Va.
• Kayana Tyson – Osbourn Park High School, grade 10, Woodbridge, Va.

Stories were submitted by public, private and homeschooled students from ten jurisdictions throughout Maryland and Virginia, including the Maryland counties of Anne Arundel, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s and the Virginia counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun and Prince William.

Their stories were inspired by artwork from three Montgomery County artists: Lindsey Levy from Winston Churchill High School, Cameron Garland from Northwest High School and Azalea Coste, who graduated from Montgomery Blair High School last year. The artwork originally appeared as part of a juried art exhibit at the Johns Hopkins Montgomery County Campus.

The finalists’ stories are available on the Gaithersburg Book Festival website.
Visitors are encouraged to read the stories and “like” their favorites to help determine the “Fan Favorite” entry.

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