Entertainment

Speedy Ottawa scribe wins 3-day novel contest

An Ottawa writer inspired by his parents' background as refugees has won the top prize in an international novel-writing competition.

An Ottawa writer inspired by his parents' background as refugees has won the top prize in an international novel-writing competition.

Ottawa-based John Kupferschmidt has been named winner of the 30th annual International 3-Day Novel Contest, organizers announced.

His novel, In the Garden of Men, revolves around a civil servant in Czechoslovakia at the time of the Soviet invasion in 1968. The character faces a moral dilemma when tasked with processing warrants for anyone who opposes the country's oppressive new regime.

The story was inspired by the experiences of Kupferschmidt's parents, who immigrated to Canada as refugees from the former Yugoslavia and the former Czechoslovakia, organizers said.

As winner, In the Garden Of Men will be published by 3-Day Books and distributed by Arsenal Pulp Press in August.

Placing second in the contest was Edmonton's Erin Jeanne Foster-O'Riordan, who won $500 for Five Day Home, a novel about a First World War soldier who comes home to a flood-ravaged farm.

Matthew Claxton of Langley, B.C., snagged the third-place slot — and a prize package of past winners — for his fantasy epic The Tithonians, about time-travelling tourists who get stranded in the age of dinosaurs.

Organizers of the Vancouver-based contest said 611 people registered to compete in the 2007 event held over the Labour Day weekend, with 482 managing to complete the writing challenge and submit a novel in the time allocated.

While most of the novels that made the short list were completed by Canadians, the tally also reflected entries from Colorodo, California, Virginia, Texas and Australia.

The next instalment of the contest is scheduled for Aug. 30-Sept. 1. Recent winners have included The Convictions of Leonard McKinley by Brendan McLeod, Day Shift Werewolf by Jan Underwood and Love Block by Meghan Austin and Shannon Mullally.

With files from the Canadian Press

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