Short Forms Contest 2022: The Winners

We are so very pleased to announce the winners of our 2022 Short Forms Contest. A huge congratulations to the following three writers whose works were handpicked by our amazing judge, Alix Ohlin. We won’t keep you waiting any longer: here they are!

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First Place: Shoulders, by Isra Siddiqui

Isra Siddiqui likes to mess around with her hands (pottery, taxidermy, watercolour). Sometimes, she writes (about time travel, the periodic table, inheritance, grief). She will never tell you her day job.

This beautiful piece is so embodied—its structure gracefully evokes the movement of shoulders and the ethos of caretaking at the same time. Every formal choice the writer has made carries meaning and impact. I loved the specificity conjured at every moment, from the use of saffron and cardamom to tendons that untangle. The use of negative space gives the reader room to breathe, to settle with the speaker, through the final line, into rest. – Alix Ohlin

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Second Place:We Are All Mathematicians, by Moni Brar

Moni Brar was born in rural India and raised in northern British Columbia on the land of the Tse’Khene peoples. She is the winner of the 2022 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award, a finalist for the Montreal International Poetry Prize, and the recipient of multiple nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her work appears in Best Canadian PoetryThe Literary Review of Canada, Passages North, and Hobart. She believes art contains the possibility of healing.

This piece takes a relatively simple idea—a family is drawn in relationship to mathematical concepts—and executes it so beautifully. What I especially admire here is how much story and characterization is conveyed in a short amount of space, a compression as elegant as math itself. And the final paragraph blooms in wonderful fullness. – Alix Ohlin

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Third Place: The Chipmunk, by Dawn Miller 

Dawn Miller’s short fiction appears or is forthcoming in The Forge Literary Magazine, The Cincinnati Review, Stanchion, Ellipsis Zine, Fictive Dream, Brink, Cleaver Magazine, SmokeLong Quarterly, Fractured Lit, Burningword Literary Journal, and Jellyfish Review, among others. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives and writes in Picton, Ontario, Canada. Connect at www.dawnmillerwriter.com or on Twitter @DawnFMiller1 and Instagram @dawnmillerwriter.

A miracle of sensory detail, this piece plunges the reader into the intimacy of childhood and the vividness of shared memories between siblings. We’re right there when the kids swim in Mazinaw Lake, unaware of the dangers that surround them, and we’re right there years later, when loss still haunts the family. It’s a lovely, lonely ghost story. – Alix Ohlin

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We hope you’ll able to read Isra and Moni’s brief and beautiful work in Room 46.2, to be published in Summer of 2023. You can read Dawn’s “lovely, lonely ghost story”, right now, at the link above.

As always: a big thank you to every writer who trusted us and our judge, Alix Ohlin, with their short forms submissions. We are grateful for your trust and courage, and encourage you to continue honing your craft.

A final thank you to Alix Ohlin for the time and care put into selecting a shortlist and three winners – a decision that does not come easy!

In case you missed the previous announcements, you can check out our 2022 Short Forms longlist and shortlist, here.

Room‘s annual Short Forms contest will open again in October 2023.

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