Mountlake Terrace High School teacher wins Pacific Northwest Writers award

Stephen Merlino

This summer has been an exciting one for Mountlake Terrace English teacher Stephen Merlino.

This July he learned his epic fantasy novel,The Jack of Souls, won first place in the prestigious Pacific Nothwest Writers Association’s annual literary competition.

“Shock,” Merlino said of his reaction to the announcement. “Then joy, and violent digestive distress. In that order. But the last one may have been something I ate. Was that TMI?” 

The novel is also a finalist in the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ annual Colorado Gold competition. And just this week Merline learned his fantasy short story, “Outside the Game,” won first place in the Southwest Writers annual contest.

Though Stephen intends to publish The Jack of Souls this winter, you can read the novel for free on the story-sharing site Wattpad, where he posts new chapters each week. The website allows readers to comment on chapters, ask questions of the author, and vote on stories.

“Wattpad is a fantastic way for readers and writers to share their love of stories,” Merlino says. “The interaction helps me improve my craft, and it makes the otherwise lonely act of writing a lot more fun.”

You can access the story here, at

For more information about Merlino see:

This will be Merlino’s 14th year as an English and Humanities teacher at Mountlake Terrace High School.

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