NIC English instructor Steve Schoenhoff hosts the 12th annual 3-Hour Fiction Contest as a summer series. Photo supplied

Poetry the focus of NIC fiction contest

Writers are once again invited to put their creative skills to the test as North Island College’s three-hour fiction contest returns for the second of three instalments this summer.

All three are being held in a new, virtual format, allowing writers from across the region, province and country to take part.

The 12th annual contest challenges writers to deliver a creative writing piece in just three hours, based on a prompt that will be hidden in a video, posted online.

The July 26 event will focus on poetry for the first time in the contest’s history.

“Holding the contest as a series enabled us to explore new writing styles this year,” said Steve Schoenhoff, NIC English instructor and contest organizer. “For those who have taken part in the past, this contest will be a completely new challenge.”

Writers will be given access to the prompt for a designated three-hour window, starting at 6 p.m. on July 26 at

They’ll work from home and submit the completed work to the English Department website.

A panel of NIC faculty and staff will judge completed works based on readability, creativity and the degree to which it weaves the required elements into the story.

First prize is $50 cash and a $50 gift certificate. The winning poem may be published on the English department’s website.

Schoenhoff brought the competition to the Comox Valley 12 years ago after hearing about Vancouver’s famous three-day novel-writing contest. There were more than 40 entries in NIC’s very first contest.

“It’s amazing what can happen when you lock people in a time bubble and ask them to write their way out,” said Schoenhoff. “The quality of work has been great every year.”

The first contest was held in June. The registration deadline for the second contest is Saturday, July 25. The contest runs Sunday, July 26. The final fiction contest will be held Aug. 30.

Register by emailing Schoenhoff at Registration may include a donation to the NIC Foundation. Proceeds support creative writing students through the Stephen Schoenhoff Creative Writing Scholarship.

Along with professional writing and literature, NIC offers a wide range of creative writing courses. ENG 107 covers ‘fiction and non-fiction’ writing, while ENG 108 looks at ‘poetry and drama.’ Registration is open for fall.

See a full list of NIC’s English courses at

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