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    I’m doing a BSc and a BA. Why?

    “We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.” -Cooper, Interstellar I was fourteen when my family and I went to see Christopher Nolan’s film Interstellar. Back then, my destiny was to be an actress. I was represented by outstanding agency and was skipping classes to attend auditions and call backs. My weekends were reserved for acting classes and filming demo reels. We went to watch this movie so we could support another kid at my acting school who was in the film. I remember seeing their face pop up…

  • 2022 Short Story Competition,  Announcements

    2022 Short Story Competition’s Winners

    I am pleased to announce the ESA’s first ever Short Story Competition’s winners, as voted by our members: First place: “New Clothes” by Kagiso Pupp Second place: “The Sky, Today” by Olivia McNeill Third place: “i am pretty and i do not long for your approval” by Kayla Wilford Thank you to everyone who participated, both by voting and by sharing your creative works. Each and every single work was read a plethora of times and some of these stories truly resonated with their readers. Even though the competition is over, I am happy to share that the entries are still accumulating new reads daily and are being enjoyed by…

  • 2022 Short Story Competition

    Voting is now open!

    Attention all ESA members, All short fiction submissions have been posted to the website. Now it is your time to vote on your favourite work! Please follow the link sent to you by email to make your vote so we can select our winners. If you did not receive an email, please contact either blog@ubcenglish.com or english.ubc@gmail.com so we can send it over again. Voting will conclude of February 14, 2022. Winners will be contacted on February 16 with information on how to collect their prizes shortly after. If you are a participant who notices an error in their post, then please contact Atticus at blog@ubcenglish.com.

  • 2022 Short Story Competition

    In the Midnight Hour

    Billy raced down Augusta Avenue. He ducked under storefront awnings as small droplets of water began to fall from the sky. A large puff of smoke drifted in the air outside Bunner’s Bakeshop, cannabis and tobacco interlaced with the lingering scent of sugary baked goods. At the end of the block was a poetry jazz cafe called The Midnight Hour, easily identified by the large mural painted next to the entryway. The painting depicted a strange man who held one finger to his lips as though he was hushing onlookers. Billy stared into the eyes of the mural’s familiar face and winked. He pulled his baseball cap further down so…

  • 2022 Short Story Competition,  Blog

    New Clothes

    It was still dark out when Midha came into the room of her 6-year-old daughter. The little girl was curled up in a ball under the light sheets, her tiny body barely a bulge in the old worn mattress. She had pushed her pillow out from under her head and replaced it with her hand. Hand to cheek she slept silently and Midha watched her for a moment before gently shaking her awake. Hands on the child’s skinny shoulders. “You have to wake up” said Midha. “If we don’t leave now we will miss the train, and it’s a long walk to town”. – Midha held the hand of the…

  • 2022 Short Story Competition

    Familiar Figure

    “Jas, there’s someone I want you to meet.” Amy, my friend since the fourth year of high school, stood next to a boy a few inches taller than I was. There were strands of his black hair dangling near his face like the thin legs of a spider. He was wearing a forest green long sleeve polo and light brown trousers, ironed to perfection. His face looked familiar. “Frank, I’m in my third year.” He reached out his hand. “Amy and I met in philosophy.” I looked over at Amy. A small smile was etched onto her usually banal expression.  “Jasper, second year. Have we met before?” I replied. He…

  • 2022 Short Story Competition

    The Conversation

    one phone call, unexpected. two faces, mama and dada. three questions, and i am thinking– where is the line between keeping myself whole and stringing out pieces to tie me to my parents? how much do these bindings hold us, how much will i pay for them, what is the cost?  it all happens so quickly that when i look back, i remember only the little pebbles that got caught in my tight throat, triggering an earthquake in my voice. a slight tremor and it’s all do you know who you are yet? my father says he cannot look me in the eye, he says why are you getting defensive,…

  • 2022 Short Story Competition

    Pistachio Meditation

    —–Hymns – i found god in lonesomeness glory in solitude i go hours without speaking and equally as many without shutting up – i pray into my kitchen cabinets as i make myself lunch at four thirty i tell them about my imaginings and have conversations with nobody – i dip my hands in flat diet coke and cross myself i allow myself to give in to the dizziness and listen to the hymn that my blood pumps through my brain. — — —– Red There was a red car. Parked. Red like those cinnamon hearts my grandma used to let me try, the ones that made my tongue burn.…

  • 2022 Short Story Competition

    A Slim Chance

    “Excited about your day-off, babe?” “Yeap, work’s been crazy since our wedding last month.” “I know you work hard, babe. Let’s keep going until we can retire early together. It’s a blessing how I found someone with identical life-goals.” Joanne nodded meekly at Josh while sipping her lukewarm instant coffee. It tasted like steeped cigarette but she really didn’t want to respond. “So, Rocky Point Park, right? Sorry babe I can’t go– got a meeting.” “No worries. Yep, my go-to place since high school.” As Joanne pulled out of their West-End townhouse, Josh waved his hand and blew a kiss. She looked at her husband, their practically rent-free abode thanks…

  • 2022 Short Story Competition

    Viaticum

    The car was not good in the hills. It popped! and sputtered as it wrestled its way along the rough terrain of the narrow, winding roads cut from the Spanish countryside. As it neared the summit, it pulled off to the roadside where it was quiet but for the steam coming off the hood. The midday sun bathed the dry and patchy sloping hills of the valley. Whitewashed outcrops dotted the landscape, and above in the sky floated a few clouds, but not many. The man went around to open the hood while the woman walked to the cliff side and overlooked the valley. Across the valley was a small…

  • 2022 Short Story Competition

    Champagne

    Champagne was awful. There was no other way to describe the unpleasant taste on Finley’s tongue. Maybe she wasn’t educated enough on the finer things in life or elegance, but it didn’t change the way the sparkles assaulted her taste buds. And yet, she braved another sip of the foul liquid because it was the obligatory New Year’s Eve drink. The party was in full swing, well, at least Erin thought five people constituted a party. There were only a few more hours until midnight. Finley wasn’t sure all her mates were going to make it that far. Trashy 2000s pop music filled her ears as she made her way…

  • 2022 Short Story Competition

    The 1

    A slice of cake flew across the room. It was absolute chaos. This was supposed to be a simple rehearsal dinner for Kate and Ryan’s wedding, and it only took one comment about Kate’s short, off-white dress from Ryan’s mom to prompt an argument from Kate’s mom, which then became a full-blown war. Someone pulled someone’s hair, someone tripped someone else, and that’s when the first cookie was chucked across the room like a frisbee, hitting the maid of honour. Kate’s anxiety engulfed her, leaving her a mess in the corner of the room where Ryan had left her to separate the two parties. Kate’s body was tense and felt…

  • 2022 Short Story Competition

    Big Brother Bends the Universe

             Christmas is generally a joyous, festive time, if somewhat stressful and chaotic. But for those of us who lost loved ones this year, or were separated from family due to Covid-19, or have traumatic holiday memories or negative family relationships or for a million other reasons, the holidays can be a very challenging time.          I’ve had my fair share of terrible Christmases, but this was simultaneously the worst, and strangely, the best, in my 22 years of life so far (given the circumstances).          A bit of backstory: I’m the youngest sibling in a very large, branching, complicated family. I grew up with seven siblings, but for the…

  • 2022 Short Story Competition

    The Funeral of a Friend

    It was an odd thing to say at the beginning of an eulogy. I knew that the next time I saw her, it was going to be at her funeral. How do I explain that she told me that herself? The last time I saw her, we sat side by side on the bench outside of a coffee shop on the university campus. Spring was just about to end, but the last of the winds passing through the city would bite at any bared skin. Our elbows were separated by my hoodie and her black hand-knit sweater. The days were getting longer, but the sun was, nevertheless, setting behind us.…

  • 2022 Short Story Competition,  Blog

    The Sky, Today

    On bad days, William wore pink socks. Now there wasn’t particularly anything wrong with that morning, except when he had opened his eyes the sky had been all kinds of red, clouds of spun sugar and salmon guts. If he could reach out and grab some he was certain it would become a sticky mass between his hands, clumpy, some mucilaginous substance. Half-dry molasses. It wasn’t even that early either—7:30 on a frosty February morning. He didn’t usually sleep in this late and even still the sun was painting the sky psychedelic. The sky was not supposed to be that colour. So, before breakfast, he put on pink socks. He’d…

  • 2022 Short Story Competition

    Blue Eyes

    Once upon a time there lived a girl who loved a prince. Princes, as she well knew, marry princesses. But she fell in love regardless and adored him with the stubbornness and mystery of a first love. Whenever he rode hunting in the forest, her eyes followed boldly as his figure flashed past her window. Snow fell, flowers blossomed, and they both grew older. The King and Queen decided it was time for the prince to fall in love – or at any rate to marry – so they could retire and relax and do more important things at night than stare at the ceiling of their six-poster bed, thinking…

  • 2022 Short Story Competition

    In Fair Verona

    I find myself in the same interrogation room I had been before. Hands cuffed, in an orange jumpsuit, waiting for my one and only visitor. I recite to myself what has now become a comfort poem by Bob Kaufman, Someone whom I am is no one. / Something I have done is nothing. / Someplace I have been is nowhere. / I am not me. Enter Carlos Williams. He’s become older since the last time I saw him. He takes the seat across of me, taking his time, making me wait. He motions for the guard to go, a gesture I have seen him perform a dozen times before and…

  • 2022 Short Story Competition

    Serendipity

    when the world has gone crazy and the waltz playing in your head  is too fast  take my hand and lets  dance sway with  me like the roses  in the garden touch my shoulder and smile like i am the warmth and comfort the umbrella that will shield you  from the storm i feel your face because something tells me that everything will be alright if i just kiss you ___ This poem by A. February is posted in submission for the ESA’s 2022 Short Story Competition.

  • 2022 Short Story Competition

    Exotic Fish

    It is a starved town. Bone-white houses pave the beach like conches and oysters, although these oysters are bereft of pearls. Towards the edge of the town most distant from the beach, a thin train track etches its way through the sand to a run-down station and a dosing ticket-taker. The metal rails of the track are faded and frail, like the ribs of cattle skeletons that warn of a desert’s heat. Trains pass by the town infrequently, billowing out waves of smoke and silt which mix with the sand and vanish in minutes. Boats lie, grounded, anywhere between the beach and the station, some boarded up and full of…

  • 2022 Short Story Competition,  Blog

    i am pretty and i do not long for your approval

    in front of the fruits there stands a girl of sixteen, maybe less. she’s in a pretty blue dress and shiny black boots and she feels like the loveliest thing in the world. powder and ruffles curled, soft sky, buttons shy on pale skin, hair of velvet cream and a pin brooch from grandmother’s glass jewelry bin. sleeves of dream’s crêpe, high collar above champagne silver locket, hung with frail chain. she wonders, standing in the supermarket city, if mother will let her borrow rose blossom blush again. she thinks perhaps she likes this feeling of looking pretty. – but she does not like how they stare, eyes of oil…