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Winners Announced in SNHU's Fall Fiction Short Story Competition

A woman writing a fiction story on her laptop.

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) Online has announced the winners of its first fall fiction short story competition. The writing competition, which was open to students as well as the general public, had more than 550 entries. The top three winners are online creative writing students at SNHU, and each will receive a prize package that includes scholarships in varying amounts.

First-place winner Syche Phillips took top honors with her story, "Genesis." Phillips is a student in SNHU's online master's in English and creative writing program with a concentration in fiction. She will receive a $3,000 scholarship to apply toward tuition at SNHU Online, plus a signed copy of "Everyday Writing" by Midge Raymond, the Audie Award-winning audiobook, "Word by Word," by Anne Lamott, a copy of "Novel & Short Story Writer's Market 2016 (38th Annual Edition)" by Rachel Randall and an award plaque. She'll be the subject of an upcoming feature article on the SNHU website.

Second-place winner Michele Meehan, author of the short story "Goldfish God," is also enrolled in SNHU's online master's in English and creative writing program. Meehan will receive a $2,000 scholarship to apply toward tuition at SNHU Online, along with the Audie Award-winning audiobook, "Word by Word," by Anne Lamott, a copy of "Novel & Short Story Writer's Market 2016 (38th Annual Edition)" by Rachel Randall and an award plaque.

Virginia Spotts, a student in SNHU's online bachelor's in creative writing and English with a concentration in fiction program, took third place with her story, "St. Louis." Spotts will receive a $1,000 scholarship to apply toward tuition at SNHU Online, a copy of "Novel & Short Story Writer's Market 2016 (38th Annual Edition)" by Rachel Randall and an award plaque.

SNHU online adjunct faculty Joann Crosier, Anna Morrison and Kayenta Williams and creative writing alumna Jo-Anne Lucas undertook initial review of the entire field of entries. Joan F. Smith, creative writing and literature lead faculty, adjunct faculty Chris Sullivan and creative writing alumnus Chance Joyner took on the role of reviewing and scoring the narrowed field of entries, choosing the top five finalists, which went on to public voting. More than 1,500 public votes determined a percentage of the ultimate score for the five finalists.

"The SNHU fall fiction competition has gone beyond any initial expectations I could have had. Originally conceived to offer writers the opportunity to publish work and gain credentials, it has morphed into collective support and inspiration: a community of writers around SNHU's Penmen Review and writing programs," said Patrick M. Hayes Jr., executive director of Writing, Composition and Literature for SNHU Online. "Putting work - often a labor of love - out in front of professionals and the public is no easy task, but over 500 writers joined SNHU's competition to do just that. Congratulations to everyone involved. With your help, the SNHU writing community is growing and becoming recognized, and all contestants, readers, voters, coordinators and staff have played an essential role in helping the community take its next step. Thank you all for participating, and look out for many more wonderful opportunities from the SNHU writing community."

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