short story

smiling woman with short, wavy brown hair

The Unknown Writing Contest Winner

By Molly Hopkins
Rated by Helen H.
Mar 17, 2022

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Molly Hopkins has won our short story writing contest on the theme of The Unknown with her piece "Kerplunk." 

Molly Hopkins is a feisty individual, who lives out adventures in her mind as there is little she can do with her body. Driven to writing due to a severe chronic illness, Molly finds purpose, intrigue, and joy in the world of her imagination and the art of storytelling. For more of her work, visit


I hear a warble, which isn’t too strange. I sometimes hear blurry noises when they are loud

Blond Woman in glasses and pendant necklace

The Fools Journey Writing Contest Winner

By Diana Richards
Rated by Helen H.
Nov 19, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Diana Richards has won our short story writing contest on the theme of The fools Journey with her piece "Cactus." 

I can't add to the millions of statements from would-be writers as to why I write, and my biography isn't all that unique either: retired, like to write, writing is hard, love the library.


Perhaps it was a dream, she thought. Perhaps if she pinched herself, she would wake up. But she didn’t want to wake up. She wanted to stay in this dream world, where people said “Excuse me”, and “I’m sorry”, and “How are you”

Photo of Jacob Kittilstad

Reflections on Race Writing Contest Winner

By Jacob Kittilstad
Rated by Jack V.
Dec 8, 2020

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Jacob Kittilstad has won our short story contest on the theme of Reflections on Race with his piece "Milkshake."

Jacob Kittilstad has worked as a reporter in the North, the South, and the Midwest.


I drink a milkshake on my way home. It is the only thing I have eaten all day. The film drags down the back of my throat. I grunt to clear it on my way home.

I am not going home. I am going back to work. I tell myself that I am going home because it makes me happy. It makes me happier than saying I am going back to work.

I am

Nov 8, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Kent Moore has won our Short Story writing contest on the theme of Unlocking the Mind with "The Corbomite Maneuver".

Kent Moore is a Senior Strategist for Physician Payment at the American Academy of Family Physicians, where he also serves as a contributing editor to one of its journals, FPM. He's also written for Humanities, the magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities. An earlier short story, "Rooted and Grounded in Love," won the Open Category of the Johnson County Library's Many in One writing contest and is available on

Music Writing Contest Winner

By Rebecca Schier-Akamelu
Rated by Helen H.
Jul 7, 2018

Johnson County Library and The Writers Place are pleased to announce that Rebecca Schier-Akamelu has won the short story category of our writing contest on the theme of MUSIC with "From One to the Next".

Rebecca writes from Overland Park and has previously been published in A Long Story Short and The Kansas City Star. She is also a voiceover artist and a proud wife and mom.


From One to the Next

Steph took a deep breath and plunged her foot into the muddy stream. It was icy cold; she curled her toes into the mud. She took a moment to let the cold rush through her, chilled to

Dec 18, 2017

The Readers Advisory committee is pleased to announce that Kristin Pitts has won our Ain’t It the Truth writing contest in the short story category. In Last Night, Pitts develops her two characters nicely, primarily through effective use of dialogue; without further explanation, we know who they are and how they see the world.  Pitts’ response to the theme of truth is subtle, showing us that we can’t always rely on memory and, at times, we must rely on the evidence. 

Kristin Pitts is a Kansas City-based writer and editor. She is currently working on a novel about a summer camp romance

Get In Trouble

By Kelly Link
Rated by Jesseca B.
Aug 12, 2017

“Everyone who is alive has a ghost inside them, don’t they?” 

Get In Trouble is Kelly Link’s third collection of short stories for adults, and her best work to date in my not-so-humble opinion (I loved her last collection, Magic for Beginners, so that’s saying something). Link is a master of creating different story shapes and then telling them from innovative angles. Her writing is wholly original without being intimidating or hollow, comprised of fully fleshed-out characters and intriguing scenarios. Many of these stories explore loss and identity in ways that are thought-provoking yet

May 10, 2017

The Readers Advisory committee is very pleased to announce that Kent Moore has won the Open Category of our The Many in One writing contest with his entry "Rooted and Grounded in Love". In it, our protagonist Grace, is caught between the conflicting identities of wife and mother. The complexity of those relationships adds layers to Grace that we, as readers, get to know, but her daughter may never understand. The physicality of an old woman working in her garden foreshadows her intimate connection to the land and Moore's skillful dialogue brings humor upon a second reading, changing the

The Many in One Writing Contest Winner

By Charlotte Henderson
Rated by Helen H.
Mar 15, 2017

The Read Local committee is very pleased to announce that Charlotte Henderson has won our The Many in One short story contest for her entry "Diversity Club." "Diversity Club" meticulously captures the complex and ever-evolving nature of identity. Musician, mother, friend, sinner--no aspect is as simple as it seems, and Henderson's story gives a powerful glimpse into the multifaceted self in only a few short pages. Caught between all of the lives she's lived and all of the lives she isn't living, Henderson's protagonist Maggie poses questions about alienation and loneliness that might make even

#IHeartU Writing Contest Winner

By Heather McKenzie
Rated by Helen H.
Nov 6, 2015

We're so excited to share the Open Category winner of our #IHeartU contest: Heather McKenzie, for her work When Pluto was a Planet. We fell in love with its inventive and adept use of language as well as its creative imagery. Tell us what you love about When Pluto was a Planet in the comments!

A multimedia designer by day and photographer by weekend, Heather is usually the creator of visuals that connect in context with another's words. She is the publisher of a free interactive book app for iPads called Notions + Our Curious Culture of Consumption, an award winning app Kirkus Reviews

Small Wars

By Lee Child
Rated by Hilary S.
Oct 29, 2015

In this ebook exclusive, we go back to Georgia in 1989. An officer is shot on a deserted road, and while local police have a suspect in custody, MP Jack Reacher is assigned the case. Newly assigned to his post the same day, this case will be a test for Reacher. The murdered officer, Army Lt. Colonel Caroline Crawford, is an up-and-coming young woman, a hotshot in military circles. Reacher wonders how he'll accomplish anything with the staff he's tasked to oversee, so he calls in Frances Neagley to assist his investigation. Reacher and Neagley will have to work with local Georgia police, the

#IHeartU Writing Contest Winner

By Celeste Seay
Rated by Helen H.
Sep 18, 2015

The Local Writers committee is pleased to announce Celeste Seay has won Johnson County Library’s #IHeartU short story contest with her entry A Good Fit. Seay’s story was chosen for its response to the theme of love and the quality of description. Of her writing she says:

I grew up among five siblings in a military family. Always the new kid, I retreated into books to find a way to belong. I learned to read when I was four, and the stories I read in books sparked stories in my head, so telling myself stories became the way I was comforted in the world. Writing down my perceptions is still

Meet the Author: Sean Demory

By Sean Demory
Rated by Helen H.
Jun 9, 2015

It’s no secret that the landscape of publishing is rapidly evolving. With thousands of new books joining the marketplace every day, millions of bloggers vying for readers, and the ease of sharing words, how do writers connect with readers? In an environment where readers are either pigeonholed into selecting from an infinitesimal best-seller list, or bombarded with choice, how can one writer rise to the surface and capture the readers who will come back looking for more of the same?

There is no easy answer to this question, but with a little creativity and hard work, some authors can carve