Library Foundation SD
Winners from the Matchbook Story Contest are featured, naturally, on a limited-edition matchbook. Photo credit: LibraryShopSD via Instagram

The Library Shop has announced the winner of the Matchbook Story Contest, which asks participants to write a short story that can fit inside of a well, you know.

This year’s winner, penned by San Diego’s Cindy Chen, was selected from a pool of more than 280 entries by five judges, the previous winners of the Matchbook Story Contest.

Library Foundation SD CEO Patrick Stewart announced the best story at the Shorties awards, billed as the “shortest and quirkiest awards gala.”

In case you’re wondering, recent winning entires ranged from approximately 35 to 50 words each.

Here’s Chen’s story:

“While we sat there, they came. They watched her with blank warm eyes and lifted her away. We still talk about her – the girl who was taken by a murder – and wonder if the crows will ever strike again.”

During the Shorties, Chen’s chiller, as well as entries from nine other finalists, were dramatically read by Write Out Loud, a group dedicated to bringing literature to life through live readings.

Performance artist Ginger N. Whiskey also performed an interpretive dance of Sara Hilliard’s winning story from last year.

Chen received a $50 Library Shop gift card and her piece will be printed on 2,000 limited-edition matchbooks that will be available for purchase at the shop.

Aside from being a fun take on awards, the Matchbook Story Contest also raised more than $5,000 for Library Foundation SD, an organization that supports the 36-branch San Diego Public Library system.

In addition, funds were quadruple-matched by foundation trustee Judith Wenker.



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Ellen Bullock