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Judge Claire Messud has selected “Boomerang,” by Summer Wood, as the winner of Indiana Review‘s 2013 Fiction Prize! We received more than 300 short story submissions of impressive quality and range, all of which were read anonymously by our editors. We’re happy to also announce the runner-up and finalists.

Of the finalists,  Ms. Messud writes, “The stories I read were so full of talent, so diverse, so lively and so interesting. The authors’ gifts are so distinct, and each so different. Each of these stories is a winner.”

2013 Indiana Review Fiction Prize Winner

“Boomerang”

Summer Wood

On why she chose Wood’s story, Messud writes:  The story that I’ve chosen as the winner is BOOMERANG: not only is the prose precise, evocative and at times gorgeous, the author manages to move seamlessly between the narrator’s present voice — as an adult gay man in San Francisco — and his childhood experiences. The complexity of the characters and relationships evoked is impressive, and profoundly moving; and this story manages to imbue the narrative with both subtlety and tenderness, when it could, in less adroit hands, have run the risk of cliché.

Runner-Up

“Wolves”

Caitlin O’Neil

Messud:  As runner-up, I’ve chosen WOLVES. Again, it is the resonant richness of character that strikes me most. There are no grand dramas, here, but rather a wise and thoughtful attentiveness to the force of the interior life, and a close attention to detail. The story takes place in the course of an afternoon and evening (with a coda the following morning), but its protagonist’s thoughts and memories give us the delicate outline of an individual and of her life. The prose in this piece is beautifully controlled; the authorial voice is strong and effective; the story, in its simplicity, is haunting. 

Congratulations to our winner and runner-up, whose work will be published in Indiana Review summer 2014 issue. Thank you to everyone who submitted. We truly appreciate your thoughtful and excellent work.

Finalists

Lisa Beebe, “Wildflowers”

Michael Campbell, “What Are You Doing? What Are You Doing Now?”

Gwen E. Kirby, “The Disneyland of Mexico”

Mary McMyne, “Camille”

Amy Rossi, “When I Say I Am Fine, What I Mean Is Empty”

Dominic Russ-Combs, “Manglevine”

 

christmas bub You have a writer on your gift list and you are at a complete loss about what to get them. Creative people can to be the hardest people to buy for because we artists are just way too particular about what we like and absolutely do not. You want to get something that says “I love you” and “I am interested in your passions.” But WAIT! Here’s a guide to avoiding the pitfalls of buying for a scribe this season.

DON’T:

The Journal. Ever since your writer shared that first sentence to a friend or family member, every one has been incredibly supportive by buying them the most generic gift—the writer’s journal. Although it might be tempting to pick something from that tall wall of journals lining the bookstore, this is the wrong gift for so many reasons.   Writers like to select what they will write on.  We’re picky about our writing environments, and that extends to the page itself. Conditions must be just right. Does your writer prefer a red hardback Moleskine with unlined pages, a $1 college-rule Composition notebook, or the nearest cocktail napkin? Does your writer even write longhand? Chances are, that bejeweled, boxed, and embroidered journal you found on your way out of the checkout of TJ Maxx will just end up re-gifted to a teenage cousin.

The “Special” Pen. Just like their word choice, writers are choosey with their writing gear. Ball-Point vs Gel. Foray vs BIC. Blue vs Green. Plastic vs Metal. Some of us won’t even look at mechanical pencils; others relish in untwisting the body of their fountain pens. Don’t spend hours in Staples only to see that engraved pen with embossed rubber gripping thrown in the corner of your writer’s bedroom in a week. Read the “Do’s” after the jump!

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interns!Each semester, Indiana Review is lucky enough to take advantage of 3-4 plucky, wide-eyed undergraduate interns who help us with nearly every step of putting together an issue of the journal. From corresponding with contributors and subscribers, performing research, fixing web and technology problems we didn’t even know existed, and being all-around good sports–we simply couldn’t do this without them.

We want to say thanks by introducing you to the team of interns who’s helped shepherd our Winter 2013 issue, starting with the wonderful people who served as Summer 2013 interns: Brittany Brewer, Belle Kim, and Olivia Miller.

Read more after the jump!

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PushcartPrize_2014coverWe are excited and proud to announce our nominations for this year’s Pushcart Prizes:

From Summer 2013 IR 35.1:

“Patrón,” by Oliver Bendorf (poetry)

Two on a Horse,” by J. Bowers (fiction)

“The Sweeper,” by Jessica Masterton (fiction)

 

Forthcoming in Winter 2013 IR 35.2:

“Eduardo,” by David J. Daniels (poetry)

“Cartesian Anxiety in a Bleeding I,” by Camellia Freeman (nonfiction)

“Cheek Teeth,” by Annie Hartnett (fiction)

 

Our fingers are crossed for these exceptional works!

 

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Call for Indiana Review’s Special Themed Folio: MIDDLE SPACE

Bending the rules of craft is not a new thing. Bold steps and subtle transformations are how we move forward in literature, in society, and in ourselves. For a special folio in our Summer 2014 issue, we’re seeking work—in both form and content—that blurs genres and breaks down preconceptions, narratives of transgression that make us question our boundaries of what a literary work is and can do.

Keywords to consider and inspire: boundaries, borders, limits, edges, duality, on the verge, transformation, transgression, travel, movement, bodies, collapse, collage, correspondence, collaboration, middle space.

Click through for guidelines and deadlines!

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deardiary

I love the careful refinement and precision of a good manuscript. But sometimes, when I’m not attending to submissions or screening essays for publication, I just want to lie back, relax, and read someone else’s diary.

“Why do we read a writer’s journal?” Susan Sontag asks in her 1962 essay, “The Artist as Exemplary Sufferer.” Is it, she continues, “because it illuminates his books? Often it does not.”

More likely, Sontag says, we read a writer’s journal “simply because of the rawness of the journal form, even when it is written with an eye to future publication. Here we read the writer in the first person; we encounter the ego behind the masks of ego in an author’s works. No degree of intimacy in a novel can supply this.”

In a recent review of Sontag’s published journals, Rachel Luban suggests that Sontag always expected the eventual publication of her own notebooks and wrote in anticipation of being read. Luban says, “Given [Sontag’s] ambitions, she must have hoped they might one day reach a wider audience. Reading them, we are always looking at Sontag looking at us looking at her.”

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Dear Szymborskca, Dear Milosz, and Oh so dear Neruda, it has come to my attention that the countless nights I spent lying in bed relishing your tender lines were actually spent cheating on you. All this time I thought you were whispering in my ear. Instead, I find that I was really falling in love with the mastery of Ben Belitt, the execution of Jan Darowski, the creative literary rendering of Clare Cavanagh and Stanisław Barańczak. Forgive me.

From the first moment I read Letters to a Young Poet to the time I spent with the latest issue of Poetry International, translators have been the ones rocking my world. This past weekend I had the pleasure of fraternizing with leading and emerging translators at the American Literary Translators Association Conference (ALTA). Though my translation skills are limited, participants in the ALTA conference roused my ideas about translation.

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As we enter the final weeks of the 2013 Fiction Contest, many writers are faced with the question: What does it take to win?

Because submitting work can feel a bit like fishing in the dark with your firstborn child as bait, we asked last year’s winner, CB Anderson, to say a few words about her creative process and to share a few strategies for success in short fiction.

Anderson’s prize-winning story “Mavak Tov” will soon be published in her collection River Talk. The book contains 17 stories — a combination of short and short-short fiction forthcoming from C&R Press in 2014 . Be sure to check it out!

In response to “Mavak Tov,” last year’s judge Dana Johnson writes:

This story haunted me. The main character’s longing and desire for comfort, for a place to be, is so powerful and recognizable, as is the conflict and question this story poses, not just for the main character but for all of us: At what price do we achieve comfort? At what point do we reject what is easy and familiar for something far more necessary, which is true agency and power? This essential question is explored through a beautifully rendered relationship between a mother and her daughter and between the wives of one polygamist man, in gorgeous, unflinching detail.

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Time is running out to submit to the 2013 Fiction Prize! With only three weeks left, we encourage everyone to dive in and submit their stories for a chance to win. In order to make the seemingly daunting task a little easier, we asked this year’s judge, Claire Messud, to offer some advice to aspiring fiction writers.

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Claire Messud‘s novels include The Emperor’s Children, which was a New York Times Best Book of the Year in 2006 and long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. Messud most recently wrote The Woman Upstairs and teaches in the MFA program at Hunter College (CUNY).

She graciously took the time to answer a few of our questions about what makes a story memorable and how to write resonance in “a world of toothpaste and candy bars.”

IR: What catches your attention most in the first paragraph of a story?

It’s hard to pinpoint what, exactly, catches attention. But as a reader, you want to be swept into a world. You don’t need to know everything about that world straight away, but you need to believe in it from the first paragraph. There are lots of ways for a writer to accomplish that — through voice, through detail, through style, through setting. I think it also always helps for a reader to feel that the prose is conveying a lot, is working on different levels, right from the beginning.

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It’s that time of year again when nights get a bit colder, pumpkin becomes the go-to flavor option for just about everything, and cardigans become a necessity instead of a choice. Its fall—and you know what that means—submission season has officially begun (again)! This year, instead of cursing your computer and fearing the dreaded “form rejection”—get pumped!

Find the drafts you swore you wouldn’t touch again and remember these tips when the submission drag has you wondering why you wanted to be a writer in the first place.

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