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Why The Winners Won: Elements Of A Great Short Story

Jeffrey Papp

Out of more the 160 submissions, Eric Heidle of Great Falls, Montana, took first place with his story titled “At Jackson Creek.”

  • Eric Heidle is a native Montanan living east of the Divide as a writer and creative director in Great Falls. Raised in the Helena valley, he loves exploring Big Sky country and spends much of his free time among the peaks of Glacier National Park and the Rocky Mountain Front. He's an avid hiker, lousy fly-fisherman, and member of Great Falls' own Books 'n' Brews book club.

Mike Riley, from Cody, Wyoming, won second place with “Hoka Hey.”

  • Mike Riley grew up in Forsyth, Montana and has an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Montana. He also has 40 years as an educator, teaching in prison, the Marshall Islands, Blackfeet Community College, the Texas School for the Deaf, as writer-in-residence for the Montana Arts Council, and at Cody High School. He is now a Mentor for the Journalism Education Association and divides his time between Cody, Wyoming and his farm on the Yellowstone River.

And Sabrina Holland from Butte, Montana, took third for her story “English Lang Arts I: Story As Primer.”

  • I was born in Dillon but had the good sense to move to Butte three weeks later. My family has been about aging my writing since I learned to hold a pen. I graduated from Butte High, then attended Carroll College and the U of M. I started teaching in 2006, and have taught at Butte Central, Icheon Elementary in South Korea, Augusta High School, and Helena High. In my free time I coach the dance team, write, read, and play music, and I go back to Butte every chance I get.

About the judge:

Caroline Patterson

Caroline Patterson published Montana Women Writers: A Geography of the Heart, as well as two children's book on the natural world. Her literary fiction has been published in Alaska Quarterly Review, Southwest Review, Epoch, and Seventeen, among others. She teaches for the University of Montana and is executive director for the Missoula Writing Collaborative.

Chérie Newman is an arts and humanities producer and on-air host for Montana Public Radio, and a freelance writer. Her weekly literary program, The Write Question, is broadcast on several public radio stations, and available online at PRX.org and MTPR.org.