Announcing the Winners of the 2016 I Must Be Off! Travel Writing Competition

First of all, each of the Top 18 entries in this year's competition deserves high praise. The entries on the long and shortlists also deserve recognition. We received so many memorable stories from writers around the world. Thank you to all 647 writers who entered the I Must Be Off! Travel Writing Competition. You made 2016 the biggest and most adventurous year yet for I Must Be Off!

The Prize Recipients:

First Place -- "Wild Encounter" by Graham Mercer
Second Place -- "The Seven Headless Dwarfs" by Matthew Wolfe

The Readers' Choice Award (is more complicated):

The Readers' Choice Award is determined by the number of page views divided by the number of days online. The number of comments a post received comes into play only if there are entries that are very close in terms of page views. The top five entries in the Readers' Choice Award competition are as follows:

"A Kiss of Oranges and Myrtle on Crete" by Mihaela Lica Butler (winner)
1320 page views ÷ 10 days online = 132 (51 comments)
"A Glimpse of the Future Coming from the Past" by Paula Veselvoschi
2429 page views ÷ 20 days online = 122 (35 comments)
"A Very Cuban Lesson in Kindness" by Ruth Colmer
841 page views ÷ 13 days online = 65
"The Good Times Roll" by Maggie Downs
1245 page views ÷ 27 days online = 47
"A Day Out on the Death Railway" by Toni Marie Ford
661 page views ÷ 29 days online = 23

Congratulations to you all!

And to those readers/writers who didn't win this time or didn't enter, there's always next year. Get started early. Submissions will open sometime in the summer 2017. Be sure to check in here at I Must Be Off! in the next couple of weeks when I'll be talking to the judge of the year's contest, Paola Fornari. She gives some great tips for travel writing, so you won't want to miss this.

I must be off,


Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Juked, Eclectica Magazine's 20th-Anniversary Speculative anthology, Indiana Review, Night Train, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, and over a hundred other great places. Read his book reviews in [PANK], Necessary Fiction, Word Riot, The Lit Pub, and others. His creative non-fiction has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Bootsnall Travel, and lots of other fine places. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net, the storySouth Million Writers Award, and the Pushcart Prize. He is the 2015 recipient of Ginosko Literary Journal's award for flash fiction and in 2016 took third place in the K. Margaret Grossman fiction award given by Literal Latté. Allen is the managing editor of SmokeLong Quarterly.


  1. It was a pleasure to participate, Chris. Thank you very much for this competition, and my sincerest congratulations to the top 18 and to the winners. I am humbled and grateful for the Readers' Choice Award!

  2. It was such an honour to be in the Top 18. Looking forward to entering next year and congrats to all of the winners!

  3. I was inspired by the description of Crete in a kiss of orange. Interesting images and allegories. When I started to work essay writing jobs as a freelancer, I had no great skill of the writer. But reading more and more articles, my mind became clearer. I also picked up a few interesting tricks and descriptions of characters.


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