The jury has returned its verdict: Brno is for Lovers. Photo: Stock photo.
Brno, Jun 13 (BD) – “Brno is for Lovers”, a love letter to the city written by Jack Stephens, was the unanimous winner of the Third Annual Brno Short Story Writing Contest. Stephens wins the first prize of CZK 6,000.
“Stolen Moments with Kings”, written by
Adam Sweet, was selected as the runner up and he gets 3,000kc. Sweet won the
2017 BSSWC with “New Year’s Evey”.
Two stories shared third-place honors: “Just Google It” by Hana Pačesová, a Brno-native who is currently on maternity leave, and “Heartbeat” by Simon Botten, who also finished third in the 2018 BSSWC. Both receive CZK 1,000.
The Third Annual Brno Short Story
Writing Contest asked writers to address the theme, “The Heart of Europe”, in
some significant way. It was a free contest, with only one entry per person.
The short stories had to be in English and 2,500 words or less. The deadline
for entries was May 26. Forty-five entries were submitted.
Anonymous donations funded the initial CZK 10,000 prize pool. Another anonymous donation allowed for both third-place authors to receive CZK 1,000. Brno Daily and the Brno Expat Centre were both media sponsors.
Stephens, who hails from London, earned
Honorable Mention with “The Last Time” in 2018. “Brno is for Lovers” moved him
to the top of the list in 2019.
“I wanted to capture all of the
different kinds of strong emotions that people feel in the city and capture the
experience of being here from many different perspectives,” said Stephens, who
works as a teacher and journalist. “I wanted to create an overview of how love
functions in the city. I wanted it to be something that as many people could
relate to as possible.”
Four additional stories were awarded
• “Where The Heart Is” by Jennifer Stahl
• “Bleeding Heart” by Veronika
• “Stalker of my Brother’s Dentist” by
• “Love in the Time of Dystopia” by Jan
The jury included a cross-section of
local cultural icons and writing enthusiasts: Don Sparling, a co-founder of the
Brno Expat Centre and a longtime leader in the local expat and Masaryk
University communities; Tomáš Kačer, a teacher in the Department of English and
American Studies at MU, and a translator; Anna Formánková, a translator and a
book editor at MOBA Publishing House; and contest co-founder and Brno Writers
Group co-founder Lee Adams, the At the Movies blogger for the Brno Expat
The jury was instructed that the contest
was focused on creating a story that included the theme “The Heart of Europe”
in some significant way. The story was the most important aspect, including
writing, originality, character development, and plot development. It was
understood that most of the entrants would not be native English speakers and
that, in fact, this may be their first attempt to write creatively in English.
All entrants were to endeavor to adhere to the rules of English; however,
spelling and grammar was not be critical for success.
Synopses for all of the stories are available on the contest website at brnowritersgroup.blogspot.com.
The top short stories, with brief synopsis, are listed below. Go to the contest website to read the stories.
— Brno is for Lovers, by Jack Stephens
In Brno, the city for lovers at the
beating heart of Europe, love takes many complex, mysterious forms, which
confound and surprise, break and rebuild, and occasionally hurt more than you
can bear. But the city never stops breathing love.
— Stolen Moments with Kings, by Adam Sweet
A man is invited by a strange
acquaintance to drink cognac and view a famous stolen painting. Their tense
conversation revolves around what to do with it.
(tie) — Just Google It, by Hana Pačesová
The story is about a boy that simply
refuses the idea that his girlfriend would like to live in such a place as
A brief exploration of fatherhood,
fears, hopes and memories.
Mention — Where The Heart Is, by Jennifer Stahl
A weary traveler struggles to find a
sense of belonging. A foreign friend helps her understand a fuller meaning and
significance of connection.
Mention — Bleeding Heart, by Veronika Opatřilová
Those on the margin of the society are
the only ones truly conscious. This is a tale about one of them.
Mention — Stalker of my brother’s dentist, by Jan Váňa
Love can cross the borders between
states and continents, but the price is sometimes too high. To which degree is
our race and color of our skin the main feature which defines our place in the
Mention — Love in the time of dystopia, by Jan Cymba
In an alternative dystopian future, where the world has never got out of the clutches of communism, an old man returns to his hometown to sum up his life.
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