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Lily Liu wins first place and $2,000 in a short story contest

Lily Liu wins first place and $2,000 in a short story contest

Senior Lily Liu won first place in the Duane Stein Short Story contest, sponsored by Mars Construction INC. with her story “Rebirth” through the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books. The prizes for the winners were first place at $2,000, second place at $1,000, and third place at $500.


Liu said, “I wrote my story about a woman named Ana who’s a middle-aged woman with two daughters out of the house. She has a flashback to her childhood where she relives a day helping out in a hospital.” Liu’s story was about three pages long.


Contestants were to write a 2,500-word story and then send it over by email. Contestants needed to follow MLA format and the student had to be 19 years or younger and enrolled in a school. They also had to include their name, address, phone number, and school needed to be in the top left corner of the doc. Contest winners were announced in an awards ceremony at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Waukesha on November 1st, at 5:30 PM. 


Liu learned about this contest from her summer school creative writing teacher, Elizabeth Jorgensen. Jorgensen says she tries to provide as many authentic opportunities for her students as she can.


Liu said, “I submitted this back in July so it took about three to four months for them to decide and the contest is open to all Southeast Wisconsin students.” 

Jorgensen says she had a handful of students take advantage of this opportunity and submit short stories. 


Jorgensen says, “I was so excited to see that Lily won. This is the first time an Arrowhead student has received first place in this particular contest. I am so proud of Lily and her accomplishments. She wrote an amazing story and she’s so deserving of this prize.”


The contest is named in honor of Duane Stein who was an educator in the Waukesha School District from 1974 to 2011. According to the Southwest Wisconsin Festival of Books, Stein was known for his enthusiasm and encouragement in a variety of the classes that he taught. 


Liu said, “Duane Stein, who used to be a high school teacher, got a couple of his students along with him to go through the submissions and decide the rankings.” 


Liu was very surprised that she won and very grateful for the opportunity. She had the chance to read her story at the Festival of Books as well.


Jorgensen says she’s proud of all of her students, but especially Liu for winning this competition.


Liu said, “My reaction to winning was disbelief because there are so many talented writers out there that I was so surprised I won. I’m still so happy. I also had a little bit of a scare because I was invited to read my story at the Festival of Books which I did, but I can’t speak Russian, but it turned out okay though!” 

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