Category Archives: News

News about the site.


The story of the week for January 23 to 27 is…

Arte Verborum by Ingrid Jendrzejewsky

The joy of reading is important to so many people. Ingrid did a great job of celebrating that joy in her story.


The story of the week for January 16 to 20 is…

Fake Smiles by Carmen Olowu

Carmen’s message is important, and the way she delivers the story suggests more skill than you’d expect if you knew before reading it that she was 13 years old. Thanks for sharing, Carmen!


The story of the week for January 9 to 13 is…

Vampire by Alexandra Keister

This is a twist story, but not of the type we normally get here. Rather, the title suggests a straightforward fantasy or adventure story, and instead we get an intense, heart-breaking (pun intended) allegory where the title passes from description into metaphor. Alexandra continues to impress.

2016 Story of the Year Winner

The winner of the 2016 Story of the Year, along with the $50 prize and enshrinement in the Hall of Fame, is:

Aunt Peg by Jennifer L. Free

Death is one of the more common themes on this site. In fact, death was part of the theme of the 2015 story of the year, as well. But I’ve never seen death explored as subtly, meaningfully, or personally as Jennifer did here. Aunt Peg doesn’t jump out at the reader. It doesn’t assert itself or demand that you read it over and over. And yet it stays with you somehow. After the words and sentences have faded, the idea and the character remain. I still haven’t gotten over it six months later. It’s brilliant work, and I’m proud to have given Jennifer a venue to share this story.

Honourable mentions to the excellent Five minutes until ‘I do’ by Mark Farley and Palindrome by Pontius Paiva, which is the most technically impressive 50-word story I’ve ever read. This is the second consecutive year Mark Farley has appeared as a runner up for story of the year.


The story of the week for January 2 to 6 is…

2:00 AM by L.S. Engler

L.S. effectively communicated the emotional core of the characters and their relationship without having to describe a series of events, which is a very valuable skill in this format.

2016 Story of the Year Finalists

We had a big, interesting year in 2016, filled with hundreds of great 50-word stories. It’s almost time to crown the best story published on 50WS in the past 12 months!

Here are the 12 Story of the Month winners for 2016.

JANUARY: Waiting to be a Good Samaritan, by Paul Beckman
Unicorn Heaven, by Brenda Anderson
Luck, by Viv Burgess
The Shrimp Farmer, by Alexandra Keister
Alien Nature, by Patrick Yu
There Be Monsters, by Eva Lucien
Aunt Peg, by Jennifer L. Freed
Five minutes until ‘I do’, by Mark Farley
Moving On, by Mark Farley
Audition, by Magda Knight
Palindrome, by Pontius Paiva
 My Fortune, by David Rae

The winner, as chosen by editor Tim Sevenhuysen, will be announced on Saturday, January 14!

The prize for the Story of the Year winner will be:

  • $50 (Canadian)
  • Enshrinement in the 50WS Hall of Fame

Which finalist was your favourite? If you could nominate a story that didn’t earn Story of the Month, which would you pick?

Throwback: In 2015, Bob Thurber won the Story of the Year award with his piece The Mapmaker’s Calligraphist Daughter. In 2016, Guy Preston took the prize with One Job Away From Retirement.

STORY OF THE MONTH: December 2016

The Story of the Month is chosen from the Story of the Week winners announced from the past month.

The finalists for December were:

My Fortune by David Rae
Choice by A. Elizabeth Herting
Buried in the Meadowlands by Bob Thurber
Pieces in Place by Raphael Bastek
The Weight by Kimberly Edwards

The winner of the December 2016 Story of the Month, and the $10 prize, is…

My Fortune

There was so much reality, art, and message packed into this month’s stories. I honour and appreciate Bob and Kimberly, especially, for sharing their hearts with us. At the end of the day, I’m awarding David for his brilliantly executed anticlimax and character work.


The story of the week for December 26 to 30 is…

If… by Kamalinii

The reflective nature of this story is a good fit for starting off a new year. Have a great 2017!

STORY OF THE WEEK: December 25

The story of the week for December 19 to 23 is…

A shared honour between:

Pieces in Place by Raphael Bastek
The Weight by Kimberly Edwards

Both Kimberly and Raphael painted character portraits of individuals striving to gain control over the details of their lives, in very different ways. Thank you both for sharing.

STORY OF THE WEEK: December 18

The story of the week for December 12 to 16 is…

Buried in the Meadowlands by Bob Thurber

The ever-present poetry of Bob’s words is well formed here. Standing entirely alone, this story is worthy of being singled out. But Bob also shared a comment after the story’s publication, which I’ll reproduce here:

Our fearless leader and hardworking editor, Tim, had no idea of the odd coincidence of publishing this particular story today, December 16th. A friend this morning assured me its publication is “no coincidence.” And I’ll admit it’s certainly a serendipitous publication. On this date six-years ago, a chain of bizarre events unfolded that led to the shooting death of my daughter, Sarah Kate, mother of two young children. The loss of Sarah Kate marked the members of her family with permanent tattoos. I imagine all parents who lose a child carry this deep, invisible scarring, and continually, often wearily, balance its authority and its great weight, and experience the breathlessness of moments, the persistent gasping that disregards whatever the length of time, whatever the lull between heartbeats.

Good wishes to all.


Our thoughts are with you and your family, Bob. Thank you for sharing so much of your art with us.