Northwestern English professor wins cinematic short story competition

Dr. Sam MartinDr. Sam Martin, assistant professor of English at Northwestern College, has been selected to receive the grand prize in ScreenCraft’s 2017 Cinematic Short Story contest. His story, “Syringe-Fed Ferrets,” was selected from more than 1,400 submissions.

Martin will receive a $1,000 award, a one-on-one consultation with a ScreenCraft mentor, and introductions and phone calls with Hollywood literary managers. The story will also be published for a limited time at and submitted to the organization’s network of literary magazines, agents, managers, publishers and studio executives. In an email from ScreenCraft, the judges—Valerie Cates, executive story editor at Random House Studios; Emily Cooke, senior editor at Harper’s Magazine; and Cheston Knapp, managing editor of Tin House Magazine—were quoted as saying they enjoyed the craft of Martin’s story and its cinematic potential.

Set in a fictional version of Martin’s hometown in eastern Ontario, “Syringe-Fed Ferrets” tells the story of Corbit, a kid who gets revenge on a dirty cop using 15 ferrets. Being a teen from a dysfunctional family, Corbit may not understand everything in his world, but he understands enough to act bravely.

Martin says that while his writing is geared broadly toward a mainstream audience, he attempts in every story to bear witness to God’s mysterious, redemptive work in the world. A member of Northwestern’s faculty since 2012, he is the author of a novel, “A Blessed Snarl,” which was long-listed for the 2014 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; a collection of short stories titled “This Ramshackle Tabernacle,” which was nominated for ReLit and BMO Winterset awards; and many other pieces of short fiction and creative nonfiction. His second novel is in progress.

Martin earned a doctorate in English language and literature at Memorial University of Newfoundland, a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Toronto, and a bachelor’s degree from Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario.