BURRILLVILLE – An eighth grader at Burrillville Middle School was celebrated this week as the first-ever student from town to be named among the winners of WriteRI’s annual short fiction competition.
Lily Farrar was recognized for her submission, “Summer on the Ocean,” at a virtual meeting with the organization on Tuesday, March 9.
Her work, a story about falling in love with summer in Rhode Island, will be published in WriteRI’s short fiction anthology, along with nine other winning pieces from young writers across the state.
The annual contest, created by local authors Hester Kaplan and Taylor Polites in collaboration with School One and Goat Hill, challenges students in grades 7 through 12 to write an original fictional piece.
“Every year we receive hundreds of submissions,” said Polites at a Zoom meeting celebrating the award this week. “We are thrilled to be at Burrillville Middle School for the first time in the competition.”
Now in its 5th year, the organization evaluates submissions via a blind judging process, ultimately choosing ten stories that are, “interesting, remarkable, emotional or beautiful in some way,” according to Polites.
In Farrar’s story, a young boy comes to Rhode Island and falls in love with the state, visiting beaches and well-known landmarks, such as Iggy’s Doughboys & Chowder House.
“We really thought this was a great story, a great piece of the Rhode Island experience,” Polites said.
“We really loved the sassiness of it,” added Kaplan. “It was very real and very energetic.”
Principal Kathryn Johnston Lord noted that Farrar found out about the contest on her own and submitted her entry outside of school.
“We’re really thrilled Lily submitted such a great story,” said Lord. “I’m so proud.”
Normally, winning authors are acknowledged in a ceremony at Newport Art Museum. an event organizers said may take place later this year.
For now, it was via Zoom that family celebrated the young writer, in a meeting attended by her parents, Carla and Mark Farrar, along with both sets of grandparents, her aunt and cousin.
“She’s definitely got writing in her blood,” acknowledged Farrar’s creative writing teacher Diana Champa, who also serves as director of literary engagement at the school.
“You’ve got a real story teller in the family,” Polites told the group.
To Farrar, he added, “Keep writing.”