by Brent Eades
A few weeks ago the Town announced a story-writing contest, run in conjunction with the visit to Almonte next weekend by the CBC’s Stuart McLean and his popular Vinyl Café radio show.
The contest was in the spirit of the Vinyl Café Story Exchange, in which McLean solicits stories from listeners. The only requirements are that the stories “must be short, and they must be true” — and in the case of the Town’s contest, they must also be about Almonte or Mississippi Mills.
I was one of three judges for the contest, together with councillor (and author) Shaun McLaughlin, and Mary Lumsden of Mill Street Books. I can vouch that the judging process was challenging, as the quality of the 21 submissions (given to us with authors’ names removed) was uniformly high. It took considerable effort and debate to winnow them down to a short-list, and to finally select the three winners:
- The Sooner Scout, by Lucy Carleton
- The Fireman’s Pancake Breakfast, by Sarah Robertson
- The One that Got Away, by Richard Nightingale
All three won tickets to the July 12 Vinyl Café show at the Old Town Hall. Lucy was also awarded a stay at the Almonte Riverside Inn and dinner at the Heirloom Bistro, while Sarah won dinner at Café Postino.
The Millstone will be publishing all 21 stories in the coming weeks, beginning today with Sarah’s story, The Fireman’s Pancake Breakfast.
Vinyl Café staff also read the submissions, and decided to present a fourth story, The Neighbours by Kelly Torck, on-air during the show. Kelly too will receive tickets, direct from the CBC.
The Vinyl Café is in its 20th year on CBC, and is also heard on the BBC and on 80 US public radio stations. Its weekly audience is over a million people.
Congratulations to our winners, and many thanks to all our contributors. Reading your stories was a lot of fun.