Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - March 1, 2013

Judges' comments

CHILDREN

First Place: "Music for Life"

Very well written! And very sophisticated, too. The story is full of passion and emotion, not to mention tension. It's a tale of the triumph of art, in spite of all odds, and a good one.

Second Place: "Journal of a Book"

It's risky to write from such an unusual point of view, but this young writer has pulled it off beautifully. The protagonist, a book, even learns a wonderful life lesson. The main character grows and changes in the course of the story.

TEEN

First Place: "Bittersweet Notes"

This young writer used a sophisticated fiction technique — framing — to create the perspective of an older, wiser person telling a tale of his younger self. The story is full of well chosen detail, and it is compelling.

Second Place: "Escape to America"

The choice of details often makes or breaks a story. Here's a piece of fiction in which details are so terrifying, convincing, and brutal that they make the story and more. In spite of its tragic nature. the story ends on a hopeful note. It's like the sun coming out of a cloudy sky.

YOUNG ADULT

Tom Parker on "First, Do No Harm"

A singular, brave physician in a cowardly, cold and merciless future world where medical care is informed by the maxim, "If you give to everyone, the quality of medicine goes down," makes an heroic commitment to humanity. It is an homage to the potentially good doctor in us all.

Ellen Sussman on "On Driving"

I loved "On Driving"! The writer has a fresh voice, a willingness to take risks, and an ability to structure a story in an inventive and dramatic way.

ADULT

Ellen Sussman on "Encounter"

This story takes the reader into a frightening world — where we can't trust what we see or what we know. But we can trust the writer to deliver the goods. I loved the writing, the suspense, and the gripping sense of drama.

Meg Waite Clayton on "The Painting Room"

What appears at first to be a simple overnight stay at a friend's house turns out to be so much more in this wonderfully crafted story of love and loss. The reader is steeped in Edward's grief, and in the warmth of Mrs. Birch's love.

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