Judges called Rayn Gryphon’s short story compelling and sophisticated, choosing it to win this year’s Nanaimo Short Fiction Contest. They said Paradise Was imagines “a speculative future with the finesse of high literature and the punch of philosophy. “The set-up is haunting, the contemplations are extraordinary, and the world is our own, made more real than we commonly accept it as.” The seventh annual awards, hosted by the Nanaimo Arts Council, also recognized Caitlin Patricia Johnston with second place in the adult fiction category for Forgotten Hands and in third place David Essig for The Cello Lesson. Holly Dean was the junior award winner for Willy the Cloud, her interpretation of a creation myth, while Anna Mckenzie-Sasges won the youth category for The Longest Night. The arts council is an umbrella organization dedicated to promoting, supporting and developing the arts in all disciplines in the Nanaimo area. For more information, please visit www.nanaimoartscouncil.ca, call 250-729-3947 or visit the gallery in Nanaimo North Town Centre.