The 1st place winner this year was the short story: Instincts by Kathryn A. O'Donnell read the story [Arrow Picture]

[Group picture]

Pictured above: FPA 2011 Short Story Competition Winners (l-r) Bozena K. Bienias, Kathryn A. O'Donnell, Hostess Alena Zabawski, Chair Janet Ann Hedin, Walerian Domanski. Picture: Credit and thanks to FPA Member Christa Zabawski – ©2011; printed by permission.

Kathryn A. O'Donnell was born in Detroit, Michigan, and raised in rural Kalamazoo County. She worked in a law office and is currently a self-employed CPA in her hometown. She enjoys the outdoors, fishing, gardening, golfing, teaching aerobics, and playing piano at nursing homes. She is active in her local church. She has co-taught business writing classes at the local community college and writes about the people and events in Galesburg, Michigan.

Short Story/Swienconka

FPA held its annual FPA Swienconka Celebration on April 30, 2011 at the American Polish Century Club in Sterling Heights. Co-chairs, Anne Marie Tyszka and Christa Zabawski astounded FPA members and their guests with beautifully decorated tables and great music. Everyone was also delightfully greeted by Hostess Alena Zabawski. Alena, wearing a beautiful traditional native Polish dress handed everyone a colorful wooden egg as a remembrance for the day. FPA President, Carol J. Surma, was the MC for the night and started the evening off by recounting some of her own family Polish Easter customs. She then invited everyone to share their own Polish Easter traditions at their own tables.

After the delicious meal, FPA Short Story Competition Chair Janet Ann Hedin announced the winners for 2011:

First Place Winner: Kathryn A. O'Donnell from Kalamazoo, MI for "Instincts". Kathryn was also the winner of the ACPC Wachtel Literary Fund Award.

Second Place Winner: Kathryn M. Olson, Kingsford, MI for "A Touch of Fear".

Third Place Winner: Walerian Domanski, Rochester Hills, MI for "Assassination Attempt on Stalin".

Honorable Mention: Bozena K. Bienias, Owosso, MI for "The Little Gift".

Honorable Mention: Elizabeth Kerlikowske, Kalamazoo, MI for "Hello/Goodbye".

When the authors came up to receive their award, they explained a bit about their story and what inspired them. Janet then thanked the competition judges: Michele Halloran, MSU College of Law Professor; Andy Ladek, writer; and Lise Hedin Mitchell, Library Director of Chippewa River District Library, Mt. Pleasant and also express appreciation for Honorary Chairperson Dr. Estelle Wachtel-Torres and former FPA President Carolyn L. Meleski, ACPC Wachtel Literary Fund Committee Representative.

Janet then announced that all of the winners' stories would be published on FPA's website:
and encouraged people to think about entering the competition next year.


History: The Literary Competition was established in 1995 by Estelle Wachtel-Torres MD in memory of her father, Stanley Zenon Wachtel. Mr. Wachtel was a pioneer of Chicago's Polish Theatre. In Detroit, he became the long-time producer of the Polish Language Radio Program on WJLB, WEXL and WNBC. Plus, he was a lead writer as well as an announcer on Polish radio. Gertrude Wachtel, his spouse, was also active in the theatre and looked after the finances of the programs.

Purpose: To foster the endeavors of Polish American Youth in the fields of journalism and/or literature. The American Council for Polish Culture will match the first prize awards up to $250.00 per affiliate on an annual basis.

Criteria: For a matching award, the affiliate must notify the current Literary Competition Chair (listed in the ACPC directory) with the following criteria.

    1. A notification of the date of the competition.
    2. Rules of its competition.
    3. The size of the award.
    4. The winner's name and any other requested data must be forwarded after the judging.
    5. Forward a copy of the winning entry to the Literary Competition Chair.