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2019 Story of the Year Finalists

So many great stories passed through the site in the past year. Let’s take a look at the twelve finalists for the Story of the Year award!

Here are the 12 Story of the Month winners for 2019.

JANUARY: Hunting Nightmares by Ran Walker
FEBRUARY: Toms by Roy Gomez
MARCH: Almost There by Ron. Lavalette
APRIL: Fifty-Word Story by Richard Day Gore
MAY: Forgotten by Trish Ridinger McKee
JUNE: The View After the Climb by Bob Thurber
JULY: After the Water by Evan McMurry
AUGUST: When the Dark Rain Blew Our Home Away by Michael H. Brownstein
SEPTEMBER: Create by Isla Elizabeth
OCTOBER: Mother Always Asked Uncle Art to Babysit by C. Christine Fair
NOVEMBER: Shadows by Dmitri Christopher
DECEMBER: Balloonman by Melody Leming-Wilson

The winner, as chosen by editor Tim Sevenhuysen, will be announced on Sunday, January 26!

The prize for the Story of the Year winner is:

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

Let everyone know your favourite story in the comments!

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. The 2017 winner was Jennifer L. Freed, for Aunt Peg. In 2018, Constellations by Jonathan Kosik won the award. In 2019, Bob Thurber won his second Story of the Year award for The Summer of Sweet Mary (circa 1972).

STORY OF THE MONTH: December 2019

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

The finalists for December were:

Unfinished by Carol Anne Harvey
Balloonman by Melody Leming-Wilson
Assemblage by Charlie Swailes
Holiday by Chad Bunch
Unopened by Alyce Clark

The winner of the December 2019 Story of the Month, and the $10 prize, is…


There is great art in the ability to tell a story implicitly, as Melody does in this portrait of summer passing into autumn. The character of the balloonman is painted in vivid colour, from his relationship with the children to his awareness of the passage of time. The more I try to describe my interpretations of this story, the more it feels like I’m doing Melody a disservice: the story and its characters speak for themselves so beautifully without me getting in the way!

STORY OF THE WEEK: December 15

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

Assemblage by Charlie Swailes

Editor: As a side note, I think this past week was one of the best in recent memory! Keep the great submissions coming, everyone. Keep making it harder and harder for me to pick the best story each week!

STORY OF THE MONTH: November 2019

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

The finalists for November were:

Sundays by Una Nine Nine
Rain Dance by Raymond Sloane
Surrender by Eileen Hansen
Shadows by Dmitri Christopher

The winner of the November 2019 Story of the Month, and the $10 prize, is…


I expect this story represents different things to different readers. I see a portrait of depression or other forms of mental illness. It can hide in plain sight, even in the midst of “happy” moments and friendly faces. And like a spy, it may feel like it is always lurking just out of sight, nefarious, waiting for the worst moment to emerge.