We want to thank all entrants who submitted works for the first annual Greater & Grander Collective Folk Fiction writing competition.
You can see the winner and runners up, and download the ebook below.
We truly appreciate all the time and energy that went into making this project come to life and are incredibly grateful to everyone who contributed. Unfortunately, not all stories could be selected for inclusion in this year’s compilation.
All stories submitted were read and carefully considered. We were personally awed by the boldness in storytelling and immense creativity we saw collectively in this year’s submissions. Unfortunately, with only 6 slots available, we were forced to turn down many stories that personally spoke to and delighted us.
We hope that the writers will continue to create and share their work with the world, and utilize the conventions of this new genre.
The winner of the short story competition and the recipient of the cash prize is…
Damavmaske by Vanessa Zelenović
The runners up, in published order, are…
Freedom Fighters by Mia Bourne
Exodus by Susannah Stonebraker
Head & Solders by Nicholas Driscoll
Renegades by Sofia Brown
The Night Before by Archie Nicholson
A Word From Our Founder
As the principle behind Greater & Grander, I created it because I had big dreams. I, like many artists, wanted to create works of art and media that had a profound impact on the people who experienced them.
However, I eventually realized that big things, can (and must) come in small packages. A lot of artists make that mistake. They want to tell a grand, epic story, and they think they need to do it in the largest story format possible, like movies, long novel series, virtual reality, or a national televised debate.
However, when we focus too much on the big formats, we wind up getting excited about things we can’t actually complete. As a result, nothing gets done, and the world never changes. This truth has been repeated millions of times in a million different variations, but I prefer how the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
Last year, when 2020 was falling apart, and we were all confined to our homes, I saw that many people (including those in the media) had fallen victim to the superhero narrative that had been perpetuated by everyone from Marvel Movies to Hitler. This narrative is the idea that there are certain individuals who are causing all the pain, suffering, and fear in the world, and the only ones who can save us are a few special individuals, who received their gifts of intelligence or strength through blood. For an example, just look at the Disney+ series, “Secret Society of Second-Born Royals”. However, the truth is far more complex. People make decisions based on circumstances, and those circumstances are often based on systems of coercion and control. We can try and destroy those systems, by blowing them up and starting from scratch, but that strategy always ends in a body count.
So, what can we do?
Well, we, as artists, can change the narrative, and share a vision of a better system, with a call to action to make it a reality.
So, I took the steps I thought I could, and I sponsored a writing competition. This competition was not just about highlighting new and undiscovered authors. This was about shifting paradigms. This was about creating a new genre, and a new vision for how stories can be told.
I didn’t know what to expect. However, I was surprised and thankful when I saw some of the marvelous entries that came in. I was very fortunate that writers from all around the world decided to submit their short stories. Writers from Prague to Princeton, from Illinois to India, and from North Carolina to Nigeria submitted original stories (almost all created specifically for the competition) about normal people coming together to change the world in an extraordinary way.
The 6 stories included in this compilation show a wonderful diversity of thought, with a common vision, excellent writing technique, and a unique creative approach. It has been my privilege to spotlight these writers.
It is my hope that these short stories, and the authors who wrote them, will inspire more stories, and more writers, and more readers, so that one day, we will reach a critical mass, and change the world, to make it a little bit better.
And so, we take those steps, small as they are, but bringing us ever closer to the horizon.