The story of the Palo Alto Weekly's 26th Annual Short Story Contest is one driven by characters -- the robot who struggles to define humanity, the horse that longs for freedom, the mother who retreats from her worrisome reality, and the girl who develops in front of the reader's eyes during a turning point in her life. The characters in each story are as distinct as their authors, and each lends emotion and depth to their stories.
The Palo Alto Weekly thanks each of the 142 writers who entered this year's contest as well as writers Ann Hillesland and Shelly King, who chose the top entries in each category to send to judges. Also, thanks to our judges and the contest co-sponsors Bell's Books of Palo Alto, Kepler's of Menlo Park and Linden Tree of Los Altos.
Listen to/download audio versions of the four 1st place stories:
When the Knock Comes (as read by Palo Alto Weekly Staff Photographer Veronica Weber)
Robot Rob (as read by Palo Alto Online Editor Tyler Hanley)
The Perfect Souvenir (as read by Palo Alto Weekly Arts & Entertainment Editor Rebecca Wallace)
Nico (as read by author Nicole Knauer)