Fiction Contest 2022: The Winners

The results are finally here! Here are the three winning fiction pieces as selected by our esteemed judge, Shashi Bhat. A major congrats to these three writers!


Room Magazine’s 2022 Fiction Contest Winners

First Place: Mermaid’s Tears, by Hannah Brown

Hannah grew up exploring the rocks and crags of the South Wales beaches she called home and has since graduated to living on the islands in Tokyo bay. By day she teaches writing to teenagers and by night she studies for her creative writing MA and writes until she drops.

“Mermaid’s Tears” is a bold, stark, high-stakes story with the desperate intensity of a Black Mirror episode. The prose is sharp and detailed but never heavy-handed, with powerful, economical use of dialog, and the plot has fantastic momentum. Reading this, I just really wanted to know what would happen. A gripping, imaginative narrative from start to finish. Judge Shashi Bhat

Second Place: The Mother Witch, by Sara Maria Greene

Sara Maria Greene has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from King’s College. She is currently working on a collection of female-centered, moderately magical short stories that explore love, regret, nostalgia, and motherhood. If her book had a flavor, it would taste like saltwater taffy, gingerbread, burnt coffee, and a single strand of spider web in your mouth. She lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and young daughter.

“The Mother Witch” reads like pure magic. It’s a story that persistently teeters on the edge of metaphor and is full of gorgeous writing—rhythmic, precise, strange, and evocative. Through its distinctive lens, it illuminates the fear, exhaustion, and responsibility of motherhood, turning the familiar unfamiliar in a way that feels wholly original.  Judge Shashi Bhat

Third Place: Transcendent Expectation, by Denise Unrau

Denise Unrau is an emerging writer and student in The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University. She resides on a collective farm on the traditional territory of the Semiahmoo but has spent her life telling stories and teasing out answers to questions that have come out of the experience of growing up in a small farming community on the Prairies.

“Transcendent Expectation” is a story about a modest prayer on a family road trip, felt deeply by its young protagonist. This piece is nostalgic and patient, written with immense charm and insight, capturing the particulars of family and questions of faith through the sensitive eyes of a child. – Judge Shashi Bhat


You can find Hannah and Sara’s winning entries in Room 46.2, to be published in June of 2023. You can read Denise’s winning entry right now, via the link above.

Our heartfelt gratitude to our incredible judge, Shashi Bhat, for sharing with us her time and expertise throughout this year’s contest. A big thank you to everyone who shared their work with us and trusted us with their stories. In case you missed the earlier announcements, you can find the longlist and shortlist here.

Room‘s annual Fiction Contest opens every year in January.

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ROOM 47.1 Utopia
Join Room and Augur Magazine in our wanderings through dozens of different conceptions of utopia. Featuring new poetry by Larissa Lai and an interview with Whitney French.

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From nightmares of forests, birds, compulsions, and the otherworldly, to dreams that bring the comfort of our ancestors, slip into the unconscious with this issue of Room.

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