Today’s post is dedicated to all the young writers who participated in the Young Writers Against the Machine Short Story Contest. At the end of May, I published Raising Writers Against the Machine in response to the rise of AI word processing tools encroaching on our ability to independently use language with accuracy, authority, and creativity. And thus by extension crumble what makes us essentially human — by abdicating language, we abdicate humanity.
As a homeschool educator I have my eyes trained on the younger generation, which needs to be equipped for living a life grounded in reality in an overbearing Machine age. It will take deliberate rejection of practices that remove us from our basic humanness and a fierce and purposeful engagement with counter-cultural practices. Such as writing. Creating rich, unique, and specific language grounded in reality has now entered the counter-cultural realm.
Read my whole post here.
To put my words into action, I invited young writers to harness their language skills, apply their minds, and invest their hearts by writing a short story set in nature.
The response was tremendous and entries arrived from all over the U.S., Canada, and internationally. The short stories were evaluated based on creative language use and story-telling ability by volunteer judges who are experienced writers or teachers ( a special Thank You to fellow substack writer Denise J. Hughes!) Thanks also to my husband Peco who, while not participating as a judge, helped by collating and anonymizing the entries.
Winners – Older Category (age 13-16)
1st Place – The War Machine – by Grace Jumper, North Carolina
2nd Place- SUSAN – by Leela A. Kingsnorth, Ireland
3rd Place – The Myth of Life – by Carina Fiorella
Winners – Younger Category (age 9-12)
1st Place – An Odd Setting – by Claire Evers, Ontario
2nd Place – A Bird’s Eye View – by Mary G. Lane, Virginia
3rd Place – Forest Girl – by Oriana Wasmund, Ontario
The awards for the Young Writers Against the Machine Contest have been generously donated by ICG Bullion, and in the spirit of tangibility and tradition will be paid in 1 oz .999 silver coins1. Each age category will be awarded 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.
Please note that the stories are the property of the author and may not be copied or published without the author’s permission.