Capilano University students win Long Story Short Awards

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Tag(s): Awards & Accolades, Current Students

North Vancouver, B.C. January 6, 2021 – Two Capilano University students are among a select list of winners of the Long Story Short Award 2020. CapU’s Neelam Batra-Verma and María José peña peña join students from Harvard University, Carnegie Mellon and Penn State University in receiving this new award.

María José Peña peña, a student in the Faculty of Arts and Science, is the Public Winner in the Creative Nonfiction category for her story The Love and The Beggar. Neelam Batra-Verma, a student in the School of Legal Studies, is the Public Winner in the Short Fiction category for her story The Cycle. As Public Winners, the stories by both Verma and Peña peña were chosen by the online community of readers and voters.

“It was unbelievable,” describes Batra-Verma about learning she was an award winner. “It feels good to learn that people like to read about true events and real people.” Her story, The Cycle, is based on the custom of Chhaupadi in Nepal, which sees girls banished outside their village when they have their periods.

Verma is already a published author, having written her first novel 1971: A War Story as well as numerous articles for newspapers and magazines. For Peña peña, this marks her first published work of fiction.

“Despite being based on the reality of many people who currently suffer, the story has components that make us think and go beyond what a few simple words can show us,” says Peña peña, whose story was inspired by a painting she saw at the Vancouver Art Gallery of a woman with eyes conveying pain and sadness. Peña peña enjoys writing texts of all kinds that allow her imagination to fly.

The inter-university Long Story Short contest was open to students from the 14 universities with Story Dispensers on their campuses. Manufactured by French publishing house Short Édition, a Story Dispenser provides people with literary experiences in unexpected places. Dispensers are found in airports, libraries, cafes as well as universities around the world. 

CapU unveiled its first Story Dispenser in the Learning Commons on main campus in November 2018. The Story Dispenser is an innovative means of enriching the student experience and acting on the university’s commitment to literacy and creativity.

The Long Story Short Award invited students to submit short stories, poetry and creative nonfiction of 8,000 characters or less in fall 2020. The winners were announced on December 17, 2020. Contest winners will receive US$500 each, have their stories published via Story Dispensers located on participating university campuses and be considered for publication in the 300+ Story Dispensers worldwide.

About Capilano University
Capilano University is a teaching-focused university based in North Vancouver, with programming serving the Sunshine Coast and the Sea-to-Sky corridor. Founded in 1968, the University features such highly regarded programs as jazz, film, animation, performing arts, business, paralegal, early childhood care and education, music therapy and design programs. The University offers 93 programs, including bachelor's degrees in areas as diverse as film, jazz, early childhood education and tourism management. Capilano University is named after Chief Joe Capilano, an important leader of the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Nation of the Coast Salish Peoples. We respectfully acknowledge that our campuses are located on the territories of the LíỈwat, xʷməθkʷəỷəm (Musqueam), shíshálh (Sechelt), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and SəỈílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

For more information, or to schedule interviews, please contact:

Linda Munro
Senior Communications Officer
Capilano University
t: 604 220 8937
e: lindamunro@capilanou.ca

Submitted by: Linda Munro, Communications