2019-20 Prize

Once again, we had writers and poets from all over Switzerland who submitted their work for the 2019-2020 Prize. This year’s Prize was slightly disrupted my the COVID crisis, meaning we had slightly fewer entries than last year – around 90 short stories and 30 poems – but the standard remained very high. It seems that whatever your level of English, an exceptional idea will shine through.

The workshops were moved from the Lili Centre and onto Zoom and there were a lot of smiling faces at the end of the sessions, despite the restrictive nature of the medium.

The short story category was judged by editor and novelist Jon Steele, and the poetry category by Yun Wei.

One of the judges wrote the following to all the entrants, and I think it is worth repeating here:

“Few people know the struggle it takes to write. Yeah, there are fun moments, rewarding moments; moments that make you feel like you’re flying on the wings of creativity. And for a lot of people who dream of writing, that’s all they think it’s about. Good times, yippie.

I thought I might describe the actual stuff of writing—the long hours of solitude, the dangerous journey through minefields of emotions, feelings, and memories. But frankly, I’d be wasting your time. All who submitted a piece, all who dared to put their hearts and souls on the frontline where their words would be read—all of you are writers. The real deal, one word at a time. It was an genuine honor to read your submissions.” 

The following is the list of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place short stories and poems, as well as the other short-listed students:

Short Story 

1st Prize: Alex Bailey, Transfer day  
2nd Prize: Claire Trotti, An Angel without her Wings   
3rd Prize:
Jana Moos, Eight Stones in my Pocket   


Erman Genç, The Cherry Tree Is Blooming
Aferdita Kazimi, Rats and Bruises
Aurélien Gimmi, The Somme
Céline Champerlin, Dear T.
Kai Bertschi, The Cave of Whispers  
Robin Richard, Oceans apart
Lorie Xu, Monochromatic Love 


1st Prize: Mercedes Ambrona, The stranger
2nd Prize: Robin Richard, Tomato Sauce   
3rd Prize: Carla Honold, Distance  


Margot Daucourt, The butterfly
Prune Salomoni, The Jazzman
Arthur Lattmann, feelin’ bad
Aurélien Gimmi, Time reveals the truth
Raphaël Sciotti, Writing a Letter
Lorie Xu, Times of needs
Dana Cherif, On being Arab  

20201027_094151Every shortlisted writer received a copy of the Anthology In Their Words II, and the winners received their monetary prizes in cash and book certificates.

As always, it was sad to contact students who did not make the shortlist but hope that everyone who submitted a poem or short story will keep on reading, writing and thinking for many years to come.