Merlino’s epic fantasy wins literary award


Courtesy of Stephen Merlino

Humanities 11 teacher and “Jack of Souls” author Stephen Merlino.

“A trickster rogue must break a curse put on his fate or die on his 19th birthday. To succeed he will need the sword of a friend, the aid of an immortal, and the power of a forbidden magic that could cost him the only girl he ever loved,” Humanities 11 teacher Stephen Merlino reads from his new epic fantasy The Jack of Souls.

Merlino recently won first place in the distinguished Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s annual literary competition with his fantasy.

“I love tricksters…Sneaky people who aren’t very strong, but who are smart… I really enjoy reading those stories and I think they’re a lot harder to write,” Merlino said.

Not only is Merlino self-publishing his book, he is scheduled to disclose The Jack of Souls publicly, as soon as Thanksgiving.

“Yes, but I’m also still sending it out to agents, but I’m not waiting for them because it just takes years…which is where wattpad comes in. [Wattpad is] a website where people post their free books for people to read,” Merlino said.

The Jack of Souls, currently has upwards of 50,000 views and is scheduled to reach 100,000 views in the next five months.

“I’ve won some awards with it, …you know just trying to build some credibility because when I release it, it will actually get some traction,” Merlino said.

Attending the banquet, if it wasn’t nerve wracking enough, Merlino witnessed all the other winners walk up and receive their awards.

It was bizarre. It’s almost like shock. Your awareness of your environment just shrinks to nothing. I’m surprised I didn’t fall down on the way up there.”

— Stephen Merlino, Humanities 11 teacher and author

“They have different genres. I think there were eight categories and like 900 entrants. The fantasy one had the most entrants of all of them,” Merlino said.

Finally, its time for the fantasy awards to be given out.

“It was bizarre. It’s almost like shock. Your awareness of your environment just shrinks to nothing. I’m surprised I didn’t fall down on the way up there,” Merlino said.

Nothing but “shock” was going through Merlino’s mind, at the time of awards.

“It was weird, I entered six years ago and to be a finalist this time, and then to win it, it was shocking. I knew enough to get up out of my seat, walk up, receive the award, and sit back down,” Merlino said, “When I didn’t hear my name in third or second place I thought, ‘oh crap’ and then I heard my name. I was like ‘oh my god’. It was awesome.”

Winning this award is not only good for his ego, but The Jack of Souls, will now get more attention than ever. Earning a second or third place wouldn’t have been as remarkable or as useful compared to winning the entire fantasy genre.

The newly distinguished author invites all the MTHS students to read The Jack of Souls on Wattpad.

“I’d love to have Terrace kids reading it on Wattpad,” Merlino said.

To learn and read more on the award winning book, The Jack of Souls, you can click here.

For more information on Stephen Merlino, you can click here.