Brunke wins eighth annual Wordsmiths of Berlin short story contest

Jane Hoffman, Reporter

The Wordsmiths of Berlin announced the 2022 short story contest winners. First place was awarded to senior Ethan Brunke with his story “Catch and Release” winning the $30 prize. Brunke began his planning process in August but began writing the story in October completing the story in three weeks.
“My inspiration for “Catch & Release” came from sci-fi adventures such as ‘Stranger Things’, ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Steven Universe’,” Brunke said.
Senior Anna Schumacher placed second with “Back to Sleep” receiving a $20 award. The story was written around the theme that “suppressing trauma doesn’t make it go away.” Schumacher only began her process a week before the contest, completing it in two hours.
“I haven’t submitted a short story since my sophomore year and hadn’t written anything creative in a long time that wasn’t for a class. The contest gave me an opportunity to write something for myself, which I enjoyed more than expected,” Schumacher said.
The third place winner was sophomore Andrew Rozek with “Why Won’t You Join Us” which earned a $10 prize. Rozek used this as an opportunity to get his writing out there and receive feedback from the judges.
“My two biggest inspirations for my story were songs that I liked (from a multitude of different artists) and other people’s short horror stories that I’ve read on the internet,” Rozek said.
The contest is run by Wordsmiths of Berlin adviser and English teacher Andrew Reise. This is the eighth year the contest has been held. The judges this year were English teacher Shannon Kuehmichel, Spanish teacher Jodi Ziemann, At Risk Resource Aide Marian Kobishop and English teacher Erika Pethan. The judges met Thursday, Nov. 10, and made their decision.
“I am very happy with how I placed! I have never won before, but I am nonetheless happy to at least have gotten my creative works out there,” Brunke said.