Book Festival
May 19, 2018 10am - 6pm
City Hall
Book Festival
May 19, 2018 10am - 6pm
City Hall

Virginia Students Take Honors in 2014 Gaithersburg Book Festival Short Story Contest

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Nazrin Garibova, a sophomore at Oakton High School in Oakton, Va., took first prize in the 2014Gaithersburg Book Festival short story contest for high school students with her humorous story, “The Pirate’s Struggle,” about a group of pirates who get stage fright whenever they’re expected to sing and dance.

Second prize went to Osbourn Park High School (Woodbridge, Va.) sophomore Carmen Pickard, and third prize went to sophomore Maggie Zeile from Oakton High School for her story, “A Feline Frenzy.” Katie Holcomb, a sophomore from Oakton High School, garnered the designation of “Fan Favorite,” which was determined based on voting on the Gaithersburg Book Festival website.

The winners were announced today at the fifth annual Gaithersburg Book Festival. They received $100, $50 and $25 gift certificates courtesy of the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus.

Author Jon Methven (“This Is Your Captain Speaking”), who was a featured author at the 2013 Gaithersburg Book Festival, provided three opening lines, from which students had to choose when writing their stories. He also served as the final judge.

“With most of the entries, the writers took my queues, from a satirical standpoint, and wrote humorous stories, as I would have expected,” Methven said. “What made the winning story stand out was the plot twist the writer chose, which I never saw coming. It surprised me the direction the author took from the opening line and kept me chuckling throughout.”

Contest finalists also included:

  • Katherine Brown from Woodbridge High School (Prince William County, Va.)
  • Elena Meyer, a homeschooled student from Virginia
  • Erik Park from Oakton High School (Fairfax County, Va.)
  • Allan Phillips from Oakton High School (Fairfax County, Va.)
  • Morgan Smalley from Osbourn Park High School (Prince William County, Va.)
  • Alex Twery from Westminster High School (Carroll County, Md.)
  • Rachael Ward from Broadneck High School (Anne Arundel County, Md.)

“I was wildly impressed by the caliber of all the stories I read in this year’s contest,” Methven added. “It was quite amazing to experience the plots these young writers created from only a few dozen words of introduction. They stepped up to the challenge, I applaud their efforts and I had a lot of fun participating.”

The contest drew more than 150 entries from public, private, and homeschooled students from 11 jurisdictions throughout D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Jurisdictions included the Maryland counties of Anne Arundel, Carroll, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s; and the Virginia counties of Albemarle, Fairfax and Prince William, and the City of Fredericksburg.

The finalists’ stories are available online at:

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The Gaithersburg Book Festival is one of the nation's premier literary events, featuring talks and signings by some of the world's top authors, writing workshops, children's activities and performances, literary exhibitors, book sales, music, food, and fun for everyone!
Starts: 05/21/2016 10:00
Duration: 6 hours:
Gaithersburg City Hall, 31 S. Summit Avenue
Gaithersburg, MD
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