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We are just about ready to begin accepting registrations for the 2012 Coffee Shop Author Contest. Please watch this space for an announcement!

Coffee Shop Author is pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 Contest!

First Place ~ Maureen Brownlee, Valemount, BC, for her novel, Loggers' Daughters - writing in Kiwa Coffee, Valemount, BC

Second Place ~ Sharon Clark, Calgary, AB, for her novel, Timelag - writing in the Airdrie Public Library, Airdrie, Alberta

Third Place ~ Frank Beltrano, London, ON, for his collection of poems, The Coffee Shop Mysteries - writing in The Black Walnut Cafe, London, Ontario

Congratulations to all our winners!

(Scroll to the bottom of this page for comments from Maureen, Sharon and Frank.)

The judges received a number of strong entries this year, making their task especially difficult, but confirming that writers can, and do, write well in a public space. So congratulations to everyone who wrote in a coffee shop and entered the Coffee Shop Author Contest. Please watch this website and follow us on Facebook to receive information about our next contest.

Thanks to everyone who entered! Keep Writing!

1st Prize

Trip for two to Fernie – Airfare* and Car Rental

One Registration in the Fernie Writers' Conference
One week's accommodation with Fernie Getaways

A chance to have your work published by Oolichan Books.

2nd Prize
Tuition for a three-day workshop at the Fernie Writers' Conference

3rd Prize
A bag of signed books written and published by Fernie Writers' Conference instructors.

Maureen Brownlee

This is what I learned from Coffee Shop Author (for a $30 entry fee and a deadline): a good, solid three hour writing block at your favourite coffee shop will get/keep you working. I made a committment to write twice a week for three hours. Even when I spent my coffee shop time reading over notes, working on character sketches, chatting, or eavesdropping on other people's conversations (i.e. not writing) some teensy bit of work always got done. And the steady practice has yielded fruit (imagine that).

The essential elements, for me, were twofold: getting out of the house and spending the time, even, perhaps especially, when it felt like I was not getting anything done. I had been confused, thinking that a proper writer would have nothing but productive writing time in the studio/coffee shop. That said, the deadline was also pretty useful, not too much chatting went on in the final few weeks.

In an email to my sister, while waiting to hear the judges' decision, I wrote: "I kind of feel like I got what I needed to get out of the project, whether I get all expenses paid trip to Fernie or not... I can see my way now and I couldn't before..."

Winning a prize has been a boost. I'm delighted and grateful, and I now have a new deadline - July 17 in Fernie!

Sharon Clark

I was introduced to the Coffee Shop Author contest this year and immediately liked the premise of making a commitment to work on my writing in a designated public area. This was a new experience for me, and I was happy to find that it enhanced my productivity. I also was pleased that the blogs provided exposure to all the many talented people submitting their work. It was comforting to find that many of them shared the same struggles as I do. I submitted my entry this year with the hope of getting some feedback on my first attempt to write a novel. Therefore, I was surprised and very delighted to win second prize. It has provided me with encouragement and given me impetus to continue with this endeavour. I wish to thank those who pioneered this contest as a means to be supportive of writers, as well as the sponsors who play a significant role in ensuring its success. I hope that with perseverance all Coffee Shop members will achieve their writing goals.

Frank Beltrano

Thank you to the organizers and sponsors of the Coffee Shop Authors Contest!

I feel quite fortunate for being chosen third in the Coffee Shop Authors Contest. I registered and wrote last year but didn't submit. I felt that I didn't have enough good material, but this year I was ready and eager. From September to April I wrote and wrote and wrote. The contest was an adventure that gave my trips to the Black Walnut Bakery Cafe extra purpose (not that their great coffee and delicious baking needed another reason for being there), and I believe the discipline I brought to the adventure paid off.