Winners of Common Shares | July 22

Common Shares booklet and cover (above) designed by Jena Sher, with original illustrations by George Bates.

Today, we are pleased to announce the results of  Common Shares, the third annual Urban Omnibus Writing Competition, and to invite all UO readers to join us for a free special event on July 22nd to launch a printed booklet of the three winning entries:

A Commons of Unwanted Things,” by Frederica Hill

Runners Up:
311 Complainer,” by Keith Engel
A Shared Life,” by Yen Ha

Update: Check out photos from the reading and booklet launch and get more information on the booklet here.

Common Shares asked entrants to respond to the overlapping themes of common ownership, private property, and the sharing economy. We grouped this cluster of terms under the competition title “Common Shares” to play both on the historical connotations of the commons and on the realities and technologies of collaborative consumption at a time when pretty much everything can be bought, sold, or rented. Read the original call for entries here.

For the past three years, this annual competition has invited writers to reflect on themes drawn from overlooked aspects of city form or city life and from unexpected connections between emergent trends in urban discourse. We are especially excited that this year, for the first time, the winners will be published in a printed booklet, thanks to the partnership of McNally Jackson Books, where the booklet will be available for purchase.

With the help of an esteemed jury, we selected these winners from out of 96 submissions from around the world. Each one offered a different response to the competition’s primary question: “What do you hold in common with your fellow citizens, the strangers with whom you share your city?” Entries probed the topic of common ownership through everything from historic preservation and public nuisance laws to stories about riding the subway or exploring abandoned infrastructure. Yet, the three winners — a personal essay, a monologue, and a piece of short fiction — located their explorations largely in interior spaces, mental as well as architectural. Each offers a nuanced and unexpected take on what is public, private, and shared in the urban realm.

On July 22nd, we’ll be hosting a special launch event at McNally Jackson that will include a public reading and reception to toast the winners. After the event, we will be publishing the three winners on Urban Omnibus. So if you’re not in New York, stay tuned to read them right here. If you are, then please join us for a chance to hear from the authors, to enjoy some wine and beer with your fellow urban enthusiasts, and to purchase a beautifully designed and illustrated booklet, a tangible keepsake to own, one you don’t have to share.

Urban Omnibus Presents: Common Shares Reading and Booklet Launch
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
McNally Jackson Books
52 Prince Street
New York City, NY 10012
Free and open to all. Reservations are neither needed nor accepted.

This event is held with our partnering bookstore McNally Jackson Books.


The views expressed here are those of the authors only and do not reflect the position of The Architectural League of New York.