Literary winners get dramatic

Sterling+Farrance+reads+%27Bittersweet+Citrus%27+to+an+attentive+audience+at+the+creative+writing+contest+dramatic+reading+in+the+Diablo+Room%2C+Wednesday+April+27.+

Katharine Hada

Sterling Farrance reads ‘Bittersweet Citrus’ to an attentive audience at the creative writing contest dramatic reading in the Diablo Room, Wednesday April 27.

Katharine Hada, Co-editor-in-chief

Students crowded into the Diablo Room, Wednesday April 27 to hear dramatic readings from the winners of this year’s creative writing competition, hosted by the Diablo Valley College English Department.

English professor Jessica Barksdale opened the event thanking students for their contributions. “Writing is the process of being rejected constantly,” said Barksdale. “There’s a process to really learning about rejection and building that callous, so I applaud you all on your bravery.”

Entries for the competition included fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, and dramatic readings were performed by the first through third place winners who were available to perform. Audience members were able to hear beautifully written work, but it was also an important lesson on how the tone of delivery can either bring a story to life, or make it fall flat.  

Fiction winners started off the dramatic presentations, highlighting third place winner Sterling Farrance’s passionately unsettled protagonist in ‘Morning Cigarette.’ Douglas Redinger’s series of mock and satirical news brief involving Joyce Carol Oates, ‘Nobel Shocker,’ took second place. And Keri Flickinger’s ‘Treat,’ involving a family of women set in a crumbling dystopian universe set from the perspective of a young girl, came in first place.

Up next were the winners from the poetry category. Honorable mention, Sarah Gosling, started off with ‘Before Life Got in the Way,’ a poignant poem about the shifts of growing up. Kim Shotiveyartana followed with her second place poem entitled ‘The Professional,’ in which she compared professional work attire to a battle suit. Douglas Redinger read again with his first place poem ‘Garage Sale,’ which highlighted the momentary envy in observing someone else’s life.

The final readings were from the non-fiction category, and all delved into the importance of family. Third place winner Samantha Hernandez’s ‘Enchilada My Heart’ looked at the importance of a mother’s cooking as a family unifier, making them “all feliz.” Sterling Farrance read again with his second place non-fiction story ‘Bittersweet Citrus,’ which highlighted the juxtaposition of extreme happiness in the Giant’s winning the World Series, and extreme sense of loss in not being able to share that moment with his father. The final reading of the afternoon, entitled ‘El Mar es Vida,’ was performed by first place winner Ernesto Avila, and spoke of his intense connection between a turbulent coming of age and the ocean.

“I encourage anyone staying on at DVC to enter next year,” said Barksdale in closing.

The Inquirer will be featuring works from the creative writing competition in our final magazine issue, which will be available during final’s week, May 23 through 27.