Vermont Writers’ Prize winner Mike Minchin with his daughter Bryn.
Mike Minchin is the winner of the 2015 Vermont Writers’ Prize. His short story, “Neighbors,” tells of two neighbors of very different backgrounds and how they connect during a power outage. The Vermont Writers’ prize is awarded by Green Mountain Power and Vermont Magazine.
Minchin said he was inspired to write this story because neighbors helping neighbors is what makes Vermont so special. “I’ve had a lot of good neighbors in Vermont–one helped tow my car out, another sanded my driveway in an ice-storm. We don’t always know our neighbors, but when life becomes difficult it can bring people together, and our differences even out a little bit. I was inspired during Hurricane Irene when neighbors across Vermont helped each other out.”
Phil Jordan, editor of Vermont Magazine, commented that the story was “crisp and well-written. Everyone can relate to coping during a snowstorm, and this story deftly shows how two people with little in common come together in a time of adversity. It is all part of living in Vermont.”
Minchin grew up in Maine but moved to Vermont nine years ago with his wife, a Vermont native. He graduated from the University of Maine in Farmington and received a Masters of Fine Arts from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Although he works as a registered diagnostic cardiac sonographer at Gifford Medical Center in Randolph, he writes short stories and is currently working on a novel.
Minchin will receive a $1,500 prize for the short story. The prize was created to honor the literary legacy of the late Ralph Nading Hill, Jr., a Vermont historian, writer and long-time member of Green Mountain Power’s board of directors. It is considered by Vermont writers to be one of the state’s premier literary prizes.
The selection was made by an independent panel of judges: Phil Jordan, editor of Vermont Magazine; Tony Marro, retired executive editor of Newsday; Alison Freeland, a 1994 winner of the Ralph Nading Hill, Jr., award; Brian Vachon, retired vice president of communications at National Life of Vermont and a former Vermont Life editor; Suzanne Loring, a writer at The Stern Center for Language and Learning and committee member of the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award; and Steve Terry, retired Green Mountain Power senior executive.
“Neighbors” can be read in the March/April issue of Vermont Magazine.