Youth Ink and Poul Anderson Writing Contest Winners Announced

(Bella Shirin, Photographer)
Writers and their families gathered for the Youth Ink awards ceremony May 15, sharing their winning submissions. The three proud winners were (L-R) Kaia Bonham (1st place, “The Light You’ve Shown Me”), Stella Ciarlantini (3rd place, “For Mara”) and Vinny Yu (2nd place, “Gifted”).

    Earlier this year, many local, young writers were busy activating their creative juices and sharing their thoughts in a variety of genres as they entered one of the two local writing contests. Now, the wait is over as both, The Orinda Junior Women’s Club and The Friends of the Orinda Library, announced this year’s winners.
    Youth Ink, sponsored by the Orinda Juniors, is a contest for middle school students who attend Orinda schools or live in Orinda. This year’s prompt was Cup Half Full, though entrants could write on the theme of their choice.
    The judges for Youth Ink were Paul Greenstone, Marlene Marshall, Maya Shweiky, Marcy Stoeven, Tamika Thompson and Kathryn Turner.
    This year’s Youth Ink winners are First Place – Kaia Bonham “The Light You’ve Shown Me;” Second Place – Vinny Yu “Gifted” and Third Place: Stella Ciarlantini “For Mara.”
    Honorable mention goes to Raunav Agarwal “The Mind Of Me;” Mia Dhingra “But At Least;” Rory Gaarder-Wang “The Magic Of My Fears;” Leela Grimaud “My Baby Girl;” EJ Ho “A Fuller Family;” Clare Lenny “The Cup On The Counter;” Trisha Madannavar “Dreamer;” Nura Mohiuddin “Flower Hill;” Sasha Obnial “There Is No Failing;” and Hana Shukairy “A Little Boy With Blue Shorts.”
    The first, second and third place recipients receive cash prizes of $250, $125, and $75 respectively. Honorable Mention recipients receive gift certificates to Orinda Books.
    The Orinda Juniors thank all entrants for sharing their talents as well as the volunteer judges and the community sponsors who gave their financial support. Sponsors included Friends of the Orinda Library, Orinda Community Foundation, The Intuitive Writing Project and Lamorinda Arts Council.
    High school students entered their literary endeavors in the Poul Anderson Creative Writing Contest, sponsored by The Friends of the Orinda Library. The contest pays homage to the late Poul Anderson, a popular science-fiction writer and Orinda resident. The prolific author wrote fantasy and historical novels as well as short stories.
    In this contest, students competed in science fiction/fantasy, essay/memoirs/bio, poetry and short story. A total of four first place prizes were awarded, each carrying a cash prize of $500.
    Judges for this year’s contest included Sally Hogarty, Anne Lowell, Sora O’Doherty and Susan Williams.
    Congratulations to first place awardees Miramonte 10th grader Hannah Shagan “Floating City” (science fiction/fantasy); Miramonte 11th grader Eloise Anagnost “Chased by Darkness” (Short Story); and Miramonte 9th grader Emma Wong, who won two awards “American or Not” (poetry) and “A New Homeland” (short story).
    Honorable mentions went to Campolindo 9th grader Chiara Sponzilli “Fake” (poetry); Miramonte 10th grader Indie Lee “Smile, you’re on camera” (poetry); and Miramonte 11th grader Jonathan Su “City of Blues” (science fiction/fantasy).
    “Reading these entries is like peeking inside the minds of the teens in this town and it’s a privilege to have access,” said Lowell, who has been a judge for several years. 
    Winning entries for the Poul Anderson contest will be posted on The Friends of the Orinda Library’s website:

Sally Hogarty can be reached at

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.