Posts By: Essence London

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Microreview: Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties

Review by Tessa Yang

In the opening story of Carmen Maria Machado’s debut collection, the narrator, stealing into the woods to have sex with her boyfriend, offers the following reflection: “I have heard all of the stories about girls like me, and I am unafraid to make more of them.” “Unafraid” is an apt descriptor of Her Body and Other Parties, released yesterday from Graywolf Press. It is a book that pushes back: against literary conventions, against the stigma and silence surrounding queer sensuality. In these eight stories, Machado bulldozes the barriers between sci-fi, fantasy, literary fiction, horror, and erotica, and makes us wonder how we ever could have dreamed of separating them. Read more…

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Announcing the 2017 Half-k Prize Winner!

We are excited to announce that the winner of the 2017 Half-K Prize is Latifa Ayad for her flash fiction piece “Arabic Lesson.” Many thanks to everyone who submitted their work and made this year’s prize possible. “Arabic Lesson” will appear in our Summer 2018 issue.

2017 Half-K Prize Winner: “Arabic Lesson” by Latifa Ayad

Donika Kelly says about the winning piece: “While the story of ‘Arabic Lesson’ is quite simple—a grandchild witnesses their grandfather pass out from low blood sugar—I am compelled by the tension between what the speaker knows—how to deworm a sheep, the arm flapping required—and what the speaker doesn’t know—the Arabic word for sugar or whether the grandfather is alive or dead. A state of unknowing undergirds the world of ‘Arabic Lesson,’ how one continues not to know, and the unwillingness on the part of the narrator to import knowledge or wisdom to their younger self, no matter how quotidian that knowledge might be”

Runners-Up

“The Boy Is a Soap Bubble” by Gabriela Garcia

“Half Moon” by Eliza Smith

Finalists

“How Our Light Is Spent” by Lorain Baumgardner

“Exit/b (Terminate script)” by Molia Dumbleton

“Love Poem, Ending” by Courtney Flerlage

“Origin Story” by Tom Howard

“Parable of the Golem” by Perry Janes

“Miss F. Tells Our Fortunes” by Quinn Lewis

“I Watched a Bat Kill Itself in Yuma” by Iliana Rocha