Credit: Brno Writers’ Group

Ari Dvořáků’s ‘The Fridge In The Tree’ Wins Brno Short Story Writing Contest 2024

‘The Fridge in the Tree’, by Ari Dvořáků, has been named as the winner of the 8th Annual Brno Short Story Writing Contest, and the first prize of CZK 9,000, for its clever storytelling based around the topic “Only in Brno”.

“When I saw the topic for this year, I thought about going through the news and finding some really bizarre news from Brno,” said Dvořáků, who had finished second and third in earlier Brno Short Story Writing Contests. “This is not a true story. I completely made it up. I wanted to explore dependency in relationships.”

‘The Flow of the Ice Islands’ by Ivo Skopal was second, winning CZK 4,000. ‘The Ossuary Keeper’ by Rene Vrabel was third, taking the third prize of CZK 2,000.

Five other stories received honourable mentions.

Dvořáků graduated from Masaryk University with a degree in Sound Design. He works in audio engineering, while trying to start both a composing career and a writing career.

The synopsis for the Fridge in the Tree suggests that the police were called because there was a fridge stuck in a treetop on Purkyňova on 1 November 2016. Dvořáků explored this event from the points of view of two witnesses — a quadriplegic man and a blind woman — and how they handled the situation.

The contest required writers to address the theme “Only in Brno” in a creative way. Stories had to be in English, 2,500 words or less, and submitted by midnight on 19 May 2024. A total of 50 entries were submitted. The jury included a cross-section of local cultural icons and writing enthusiasts:

– Don Sparling, a co-founder of the Brno Expat Centre and a longtime leader in the local expat and Masaryk University communities;

– Tomáš Kačer, the head of the Department of English and American Studies at MUNI and a translator;

– Anna Formánková, a translator and a book editor at Nakladatelství MOBA; and

– Joe Lennon, a writer for Brno Daily and the Brno Expat Centre, and coordinator of the Writing Lab at Masaryk University.

The jury was instructed that the contest was focused on creating a story that included the theme “Only in Brno”. The story was the most important aspect, including the writing, originality, character development, and plot development. It was understood that most of the entrants would not be native English speakers and that, in fact, this may have been their first attempt to write creatively in English.

You can read brief notes from the jury about the top entries below.

Brno Daily and the Brno Expat Centre were both media sponsors of the Brno Short Story Writing Contest.

For more information, go to the contest website at or visit . Send questions to

Winning entries

1st place — ‘The Fridge in the Tree’, by Ari Dvořáků

In the early hours of 1 November 2016 an amused citizen of Purkyňova street called a police patrol to inspect a fridge stuck in a treetop. They, however, weren’t the first person noticing this strange occurance.

Notes from the Jury: the realistic psychological and physical depictions of the characters set this story apart.

2nd place — ‘The Flow of the Ice Islands’, by Ivo Skopal

Ice islands flow lazily on the surface of Svratka river, in the water of this insignificant river, in this big village in the middle of Europe. Ordinary memories like that are usually those affecting our lives the most.

Notes from the Jury: the haunting recurring motif of the icy river served as a solid centre.

3rd place — ‘The Ossuary Keeper’, by Rene Vrabel

The ossuary keeper tells the story of a glimpse of hope in the life of a 13th-Century ossuary keeper and executioner.

Notes from the Jury: key was the minimalism with which the story transports us to such a different time/place.

Five additional stories were awarded Honourable Mentions:

Sympathy for Dr. Faust’ by Dominik Ricanek

Elizabeth and her father find a desperate refuge in the old, dilapidated Devil’s Mill on the outskirts of Brno. The building’s name, however, is not a mere folk tale and Elizabeth finds herself at risk of being sucked in by the corrupting influences of Hell.

‘#TheBrnoEgg’, by Dagmar Pavlov

A courageous Moravian woman single-handedly staves off an alien invasion with the help of her own cunning and local beer.

We Will Be Fine’, Barbora Kreysová

She is young, slightly self-centred, an HSP, hates beauty salons, is recovering from stomach flu and today, she is getting married in Brno to the love of her life. The wedding day is far from perfect, but the bride and groom are determined to celebrate their love, regardless of any obstacles.

A Stylistic Exercise in Peas’, Krištof Anetta

A timelapse of one busy square where a curated selection of insignificant details has been tossed together with an equally curated selection of human beings.

Lonely in Brno’, by Michael Hall

While visiting Brno’s Christmas markets with her daughter, Magda, ponders the difficulties of finding one’s place after relocation.

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