Man secures crown for 2nd year in P.E.I. writing competition

The P.E.I. Writers’ Guild has chosen it’s winner for the 2019 Battle Tales writing competition — Islander Matthew MacKay has won first prize for a second year in a row.

'Lightning doesn’t often strike twice in the same spot and this year, it did'

Matthew MacKay accepts the trophy for winning the 2018 Battle Tales short story competition on P.E.I. (P.E.I. Writers' Guild)

The P.E.I. Writers' Guild has chosen its winner for the 2019 Battle Tales writing competition — Matthew MacKay of Sea View has won first place for a second year in a row.

Battle Tales is a project of the P.E.I. Writers' Guild which provides amateur writers on the Island with three writing prompts or suggestions to create a story from. The winners were announced Friday.

The annual contest asks writers to create a short story of 2,500 words or less in just one week.

"Lightning doesn't often strike twice in the same spot and this year, it did," said MacKay of his second win. 

"I was quite honoured to learn I was selected yet again. So that's two years in a row. I was really pleased," said the retiree.

MacKay's first-ever attempt at writing anything was during last year's contest. His son Jed, who is a freelance writer for Marvel Comics, urged his father to try his hand at writing for the contest.

A story about Orson Welles

MacKay said one of the secrets to writing he's learned from his son is the importance of the editing process.

"As a beginning writer it's very hard to cut. My son is a writer and he's very good at cutting and says, 'the cutting is as important as the writing," he said.

MacKay's winning story for this year's contest was a humorous story about the famous filmmaker Orson Welles, set in a hotel room in Paris in 1968.

MacKay now has an entire book outlined based on the short story, of which he's already completed the first three chapters. He has hopes to no longer be eligible to take part in the contest next year, which only allows unpublished writers to compete.

"I would love to be a published writer by next year. But if not — I'll certainly try for three in a row," he said.

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Sam Juric

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Sam Juric is a journalist with CBC P.E.I. and can be reached at


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