During the fall of 2018, students in Youth in Care educational programs throughout Utah, with the inspiration and editorial assistance of their teachers, wrote 166 short personal narratives to submit to this project. Forty of those stories, selected by our most excellent story readers/evaluators/judges, are published in this anthology.
Thanks to all who participated in our contest this year. For submission to the Untold Stories Utah contest, students may write about any episode from their lives, a happy time or sad day, a joyful or traumatic memory. For a reason I cannot explain, most of these writers chose to remember and retell the worst day, the unhappiest relationship or the most searing event burned into their hippocampi, the long-term storage unit of emotion and memory in the the human brain.
A cautionary note: These tales may sear into your memory and mind too. These narratives may turn upside down your view of teenage lives right here in Utah. Most of these young people recount experiences far beyond the everyday. Here you will find tales of drug addiction, sexual assault, parental neglect and abuse, death-defying adventures, grief, criminality, rebellion, dark choices, with just a sprinkling of everyday immaturity and silliness. Please, while reading these stories, do not become so sad or shocked or sympathetic that you fail to see the strength of these writers, brave enough to survive and share their stories. They are survivors, see themselves as survivors, and want you to know that they are moving on to better days.
-Bonnie Shaw, PhD, Utah YIC Creative Arts Coordinator
Download the book here – Untold_Stories_2019_HR_Combined