Fiction Contest 2020: The Winners!

Here are the winning short stories as selected by our esteemed judge, Rebecca Fisseha. A major congrats to the three writers! Here are what our judge has to say about the three winning submissions.

Photo credit: Melanie Evelyn

The results are finally here! Here are the winning short stories as selected by our esteemed judge, Rebecca Fisseha. A major congrats to the three writers! Here are what our judge has to say about the three winning submissions:

Room‘s 2020 Fiction Contest: The Winners

First place: “Silent City” by Sonali Singh

Sonali Singh is a writer from Philadelphia currently based in the Bay Area. She is also a Sikh activist and engineer focused on sustainability and empowering BIPOC women and non-binary folks. She uses her writing to explore intergenerational stories and to understand better the arc of history, how it shapes lives, actions, and choices.

“Silent City” is the kind of sensual, sticky, haunting story that is so rich in worlds, relationships, pasts presents and futures evoked, that once you finish reading it you want to begin it again, because you know that it will reveal itself anew each time. Its perfect balance of dreaminess and anchoring real-life detail means that while the reader must really show up for the story to take full effect, there’s no loss of clarity or forward momentum. It’s really beautiful!—Rebecca Fisseha

Second place: “Courage for Another Day” by Natasha Shaikh

Natasha Shaikh was born in Calgary, but also grew up in BC, Ontario, and Pakistan. She splits her time between creating art, her job in publishing, and working with organizations and events amplifying BIPOC writers. She is also one of three hosts on the podcast Everyone and Their Sister.

Courage for Another Days Day is one unforgettable and heartbreaking character. Depicting the pivotal moment in this already-world-weary ten-year-old’s life, and her loneliness within it, while juggling multiple perspectives and voices and the tension of suspense is no easy feat and worthy of praise.Rebecca Fisseha

Honourable Mention: “Good Friends We Have” by Zilla Jones

Zilla Jones is a criminal defence lawyer, mother, singer and writer from Winnipeg, Manitoba, who has been writing since the age of three, but only began submitting her work last year. In April 2020, she was longlisted for the CBC short fiction competition. She has just finished the first draft of her novel, The World So Wide.

“Good Friends We Have is a warm, funny, and surprising invitation into the life and mind of a young girl caught between identities, with a deeply satisfying ending that deftly signals the adventures to come.—Rebecca Fisseha


You can find Sonali’s and Natasha’s winning entries in Room 44.2, to be published in June of 2021. As for the honourable mention, you can read Zilla’s piece via the link above.

Our heartfelt gratitude to our judge, Rebeca Fisseha, for sharing with us her time and expertise in judging our fiction contest this year. Thank you to everyone who shared their work with us during such particularly stressful time. In case you missed the earlier announcements, you can find the longlist and shortlist again here.

Room‘s annual fiction contest opens every year on January 8.



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