Libraries Short Stories announces winners of first Penn State writing contest

April 30, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn Staters Sultan Aljohani, Erica Johnson and Ellis Stump are the three winners of Penn State University Libraries’ “New Beginnings” short story writing contest. Their stories, along with those by seven writers receiving honorable mentions, will be placed on the Libraries’ five Short Edition short story dispensers on the University Park campus and inside Schlow Centre Region Library in downtown State College.

Aljohani, student in the Intensive English Communication Program (IECP), from Medina, Saudi Arabia, received the public’s most votes for “A Seed,” while winning stories by Johnson and Stump were selected by the Libraries Short Stories website editorial board, which is composed entirely of Penn State undergraduate students. Johnson, a senior in mathematics and microbiology, from Philadelphia, penned “Rainbows,” and Stump, a senior majoring in English and media studies, from Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, wrote “Red Yarn, or Beginning from the End.”

Honorable mention winners, also selected by the Libraries Short Stories editorial board, include:

“We selected these writers’ stories based on the overall quality of their submissions. Beyond just meeting the requirements of the contest, we feel that the writers exhibited exemplary skill at storytelling,” the Libraries Short Stories editorial team stated. “Their entries were captivating and entertaining, two qualities we believe readers will appreciate as these stories cycle into print on our short story dispensers.”

Stories for the contest were submitted and are able to be read online at the University Libraries Short Stories website, found at The next Libraries Short Stories writing contest will be held during the Fall 2018 semester.

Creative writers are encouraged to submit original content to the website at any time. The website’s editorial team — composed of Penn State undergraduate students and led by Hailley Fargo, student engagement librarian — will continue to review and publish content online throughout the summer.

Through the University Libraries’ innovative agreement with vendor Short Edition, the Penn State Libraries Short Stories website allows any Penn State student, faculty or staff member to create an account to submit short works of original fiction —with a poetry category soon to be announced.  Stories’ reading lengths of approximately one, three or five minutes can be uploaded in six genres. Stories are publicly visible on the website for anyone to read, “like” or vote for, although only Penn State account holders can submit stories.

Last Updated April 30, 2018