“I guess it worked out for me.”
Humber College student Keith Corbiere has won first place in the short story category at the 2013-14 League of Innovation in the Community College Student Literary Competition.
But he didn’t just take the top prize once; he won it twice this year, at the Humber level and the international level.
The awards were held in the Humber Room at Humber’s North campus on Nov. 27.
“Humber is part of the League of Innovation for Community Colleges,” associate dean of English Vera Beletzan said. “Every year the League of Innovation runs a literary competition for all colleges that are part of the league.”
She said Humber hosts its own internal competition in parallel with the international one.
Awards were handed out to student winners of the Humber and international competitions at Thursday’s event.
There are four categories in both contests: short stories, one-act plays, poetry and essays.
Prizes for the Humber level were $250 for first place, $200 for second and $150 for third.
Beletzan said first-place winners for each of the categories at the Humber level then competed at the international level, winning first place in two categories and second in a third.
The prizes for the international winners are $500 for first place, $200 for second and $100 for third.
Of the 18 schools involved in the international competition, Humber is the only one in Canada.
“It’s very prestigious for Humber, the standards for applying in the League of Innovation is pretty high. The fact that Humber has been accepted in the league speaks to the prestige and excellence this college represents in post secondary education,” said Beletzan.
“[The competition gives] our students a opportunity to have their creative writing recognized, both within their college and potentially internationally at the league level,” said Beletzan. “It also gives our students an opportunity to engage in the creative writing process, which is a great outlet for them in terms of enhancing their experience of writing in a college environment.
“We think it’s great to see that our students have talent and abilities that go well beyond everything in their program of study. It speaks to the richness and caliber of our students at this college and we’re very happy to be able to recognize that,” she said.
Corbiere was a journalism student at Humber last year. He started writing as a child, taking it more seriously when he reached high school..
He said “it’s pretty much the only thing I’m good at and I really enjoy it. It’s a lot of fun.”
He won for his short story called Moth Men.
“It’s about a kid not wanting to be a blue-collar guy,” Corbiere said of his winning submission. “He doesn’t want to work in a small town, he wants to be something else, but he thinks he will turn into that. So it’s kind of about that sphere.”
When Corbiere found out he won, “I was happy. I didn’t expect to hear anything back. When they told me I won I was pleasantly surprised.”
Corbiere’s English professor Sarah Armenia, who encouraged him to submit the piece, said she felt excited that so many of her students were nominated and won at the awards.
“They are all talented group of students,” said Armenia.
The award is just one feather in Corbiere’s cap. He said he has bigger dreams for the future.
“I want to get published again,” he said. “I’ve been working on it, working on my career. Hopefully I can make it happen again but well just have to wait and see.”
There is one goal he is determined to reach.
“I definitely have some short stories ideas that I’m writing right now, but say in like 10 years? Yeah, a novel would be awesome.”