SYLACAUGA — Winners of the Young Writer’s Short Story competition were announced Thursday night at the Isabel Anderson Comer Museum.
First place winner was Zach Tarwater. Jordan Lucas took second place and Lora Roberson third place.
The formation of the Young Writer’s Group was spearheaded by Talladega resident Cabot Barden, who is an author and musician. Barden said he created the group with the help of his wife, Libby, and others to encourage young people to write.
Sponsoring the event were The Raspberry Bakery, The Book Nook, the Sylacauga Chamber of Commerce, B.B. Comer Memorial Library, The Local Issue and Comer Museum and Art Center.
The competition was open to sixth through 12th grade students attending Sylacauga schools, B.B. Comer, Childersburg schools, Fayetteville School, Knollwood Christian School, and home-schooled students.
Judging the contest were museum curator Donna Rentfrow and authors Shirley Ferguson and Cabot Barden.
Unaware of whose story they were reading, the judges were given 12 essays to judge. They looked for opening, setting, creativity, imagination, characters and their development, and story theme.
Master of ceremonies Jim Smothers, associate editor at The Daily Home, said he read a few of the stories and thought they were very good.
“Fiction is an art, telling the story that speaks from heart to heart,” Smothers said.
Zach, the son of William and Robyne Tarwater, is a 10th grader at Sylacauga High School. He has many hobbies, including writing, reading stories, playing the piano and guitar, singing, drawing, and studying the Bible. He enjoys reading science fiction and horror stories and listening to the Beatles and classic rock. His goal is to one day be an author.
Zach titled his winning essay “The Effects of Death,” a fictional story about a retired hit-man who is visited by his first victim. He said he likes to write to use his imagination.
As first place winner, Zach received a $100 Walmart gift card, two $20 gift certificates, one from The Raspberry Bakery and the other from The Book Nook.
Second place winner Jordan Lucas titled her work “The Doll.” A 10th grader at Childersburg High School, Jordan is a member of the Beta Club, secretary of the Key Club, and president of CHS’ Future Business Leaders of America.
She works at the Earle A. Rainwater Memorial Library in Childersburg and wants to become a professional author.
“Writing is a hobby for me,” Jordan said. “I want my ideas on paper or I’m going to loose them … they are a part of me.”
She said the competition provided her with valuable experience she might not have received otherwise.
Jordan was awarded at $50 Walmart gift card, and $10 gift certificates from Raspberry’s and The Book Nook.
“The Kiss of Death” was the title of third place winner Lora Roberson’s essay.
“I really wrote it to entertain the reader,” she said. “It came out of my imagination.”
Lora, a 10th grader at Sylacauga High, is the daughter of Casey and Candy Roberson. She is a member of the Marching Band, the Key Club, the Spanish Club, Focus and the Junior Scholastic Society. She said she loves to read and write and her favorite author is Cassandra Clare.
Lora received a $25 Walmart gift card, and $10 gift certificates from Raspberry’s and The Book Nook.
Barden said there are plans to have competitions for schools in the northern part of the county.
Contact Mark Ledbetter at firstname.lastname@example.org.