Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Inkberry Books welcomes Hackathon winners


October 18, 2018

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The collection of winning stories has been published by Owl Canyon Press in the anthology No Bars and a Dead Battery, available at Inkberry Books.

North Carolina-based author David Greenson will read his short story The Biggest Salmon Barbecue in the Galaxy at a reception to celebrate winners of the 2018 Summer Short Story Hackathon, on Saturday Oct. 20 from 2 - 5 p.m. at Niwot’s Inkberry Books (7960 Niwot Road,Suite B-3).

Launched by Boulder’s Owl Canyon Press earlier this year, the literary Hackathon provided an opening and closing paragraph, and asked contestants to craft a story in-between, up to a maximum of 50 paragraphs. Borrowing the name from computing circles, Owl Canyon publisher and editor-in-chief Gene Hayworth hoped to bring the same collaborative approach into the process of fiction writing.

“In a programming hackathon, they have to use computer code to figure out how to solve the problem,” he said. “Instead of computer code, we had two paragraphs.”

By its close date in June, the first formal Short Story Hackathon had received nearly 1,000 entries from 33 countries, and just about overwhelmed the organizers. In September, after a month-long delay, Greenson’s Salmon Barbecue was awarded first-place by co-judges Hayworth and author Tom Strelich, an honor that came a $1,000 cash prize.

“It’s about a man who has been brought back down to earth from a UFO,” Hayworth said. “He doesn’t know how long he’s been gone or exactly where he’s been or where he is.”

The set-up paragraphs were provided by Strelich, who authored the novel Dog Logic for Owl Press in 2017 and inspired an informal hackathon along the way. In the opener, the narrator has been abandoned, and the conclusion features crows and a mysterious object called the “El Dorado”.

“One of the things that was really interesting about this is we got stories in every genre,” Hayworth said, adding that he had expected mostly mysteries. “We got science fiction, we got romance, we even got western fiction.”

Greenson will be joined at Inkberry by several other Hackathon contestants, including Julie Hall, whose "Birds of a Feather" was awarded third place and $250. Two Colorado finalists will also be making the trip, as will writers from Canada and Columbia. A print collection of Hackathon’s top 24 stories, titled No Bars and a Dead Battery, will also be available to purchase.

Buoyed by the success of their summer competition, Hayworth and his colleagues at Owl Canyon recently launched Short Story Hackathon #2. This contest follows largely the same format, but provides the opening and middle paragraphs, but no conclusion.

For more information about the current competition, including instructions for reading the paragraphs and submitting an entry on Submittable, visit www.owlcanyonpress.com/hackathon. The deadline is December 1, and contest winners will be notified by February 1, 2019. For information about the Oct. 20 author reception at Inkberry, visit the Events calendar at inkberrybooks.com.


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