Announcing the Ship of Dreams Titanic Challenge Winners and Runners-Up

110 years after the tragic sinking of the Titanic, hundreds of Vocal creators commemorated the memory of those lost, through story.

By Erica WagnerPublished 2 years ago 2 min read

Congratulations to Harmony Kent, author of “Lifeboat Seven” and to Ryan Smith, author of “No Man’s Land” — both worthy winners of our Ship of Dreams Challenge here on Vocal.

We launched this challenge in commemoration of the 110th anniversary of the maiden voyage and tragic sinking of RMS Titanic. As I wrote in “110 Years of Titanic Tales”, the story of that great lost ship has always held a special place in my mind and heart. Obviously, I’m not alone, as filmmaker James Cameron would testify and as the nearly 700 creators who entered this Challenge demonstrate.

The Winners

1st Place: "Lifeboat Seven" by Harmony Kent | $2,500

"A false alarm, I'm sure," came from Mabel. And Dorothy agreed. Such stuff and nonsense over not much to do, she felt certain. For heaven's sakes, even the orchestra kept on playing, and here came their sommelier to take drink requests. Obviously, things couldn't be quite so dire.

To the wine waiter, Dorothy enquired, "Can they not turn off this darned alarm?"

What made these stories winners when the standard was so high? Both use the Titanic as an imaginative launchpad for an original tale. There’s a metafictional quality to Kent’s narrative, as she blends the true story of the ship with another true story, that of one of the great films of the silent era — though the film, like the ship itself, was lost. No prints of Saved from the Titanic, made just weeks after the sinking and starring Kent’s heroine Dorothy Gibson, survive. The “idle game of bridge” Dorothy plays before disaster strikes; her sudden horror at her choice to star in the film — Kent creates an eerie parallel between the fame of a survivor and the fame of a movie star.

2nd Place: "No Man's Land" by Ryan Smith | $1,000

Meanwhile, Smith’s “No Man’s Land” is compelling from its first sentence:

Those who never experienced war did not understand it, and those who did understood it even less.

The loss of the “unsinkable” Titanic is often viewed as a kind of premonitory disaster, presaging the hubris and the horror of the First World War; with his thoughtfully-drawn protagonist, William Starling, Smith makes the connection concrete and heartfelt.

This kind of writing proves Vocal is a platform for both creators and consumers — it’s thrilling to see such fine craft flourishing on our site.

The Runners-Up

*Results are listed in no particular order*

  1. Porcelain by Josey Pickering
  2. Mr Smith by Rachel Deeming
  3. Sinking Prospects by Stephen A. Roddewig
  4. Harbinger of Nightmares by Karissa E.L. Cuff
  5. Titan Aboard by Marcus Terrell Smith
  6. Maiden by Rose Esposito
  7. Something White in the Distance by Heather Chock
  8. The Key by Lori Lamothe
  9. Mr. Right by Rowan Wile
  10. Rowling's Discovery, or the Titan's Ghost by Bryan Warrick
  11. The Tempest by Scott Wade
  12. If I by Kyra Lopez
  13. The Box of the Captain's Table by Meredith Harmon
  14. The Survivors from the Titanic by Kristen Tsetsi
  15. The Inaugural (…and Presumably Ultimate) Gathering of the RMS Titanic’s Gentlemen of No Class by Joe Deez


About the Creator

Erica Wagner

Lead Editorial Innovator, Vocal. Author, critic, friend, parent, cook. New book: Chief Engineer: Washington Roebling, The Man Who Built the Brooklyn Bridge. Twitter: @EricaWgnr, Insta: @ericawgnr

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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Comments (7)

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  • Vallez Beadnellabout a year ago

    Very good

  • James Boyd Fullerabout a year ago

    Wunderbar nice work.!

  • Ryan Smithabout a year ago

    Thank you, Vocal team, for the opportunity. I’m humbled by the recognition. Congratulations to Harmony, the runners-up, and all those who met the challenge!

  • Kamran Mehmood 2 years ago

    congratulations dear.

  • Timothy E Jones2 years ago

    I'm sure one day I'll find my name on a list like this.

  • Harmony Kent2 years ago

    Thanks so much, Erica! I’m amazed and thrilled to have placed first and am still taking it in 🙂. Huge congratulations to Ryan Smith for placing second and all the runners up. Wishing everyone all the best.

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