Indiana Review is accepting submissions for the Don Belton Prize until June 15th! In this interview with our editors, 2021 judge Anjali Sachdeva tells us about the her writing process, the unreal in her fiction, and the writers she’s loving right now.Read more…
Posts Categorized: Fiction
We are excited to announce the winner and finalists of the 2021 Fiction Prize, judged by Kali Fajardo-Anstine. Many thanks to everyone who submitted their work and made this year’s prize possible!
2021 Fiction Prize Winner
“Seance” by Suphil Lee Park
Kali Fajardo-Anstine says, “Seance is an imaginative gem of a short story that evokes feelings of adolescence while gripping the reader from the very first line: “The dead girl’s indoor slippers got on everyone’s nerves, but no one in the class 7 had the gall to throw them away.” Wholly inventive with characters like The Class Clown, The Poet, and The Thinker, Séance is also filled with nostalgia, those leftover echoes of adolescence and its shared communal spaces of education. This a short story set within its own universe, a world that is as striking as its realistic and lifelike characters. Seance is a warm, inventive, and charming short story.”
“Tank” by Jenna Abrams
“Cabin” by K.W. Oxnard
“Faceless Styrofoam Heads” by Holly Pekowsky
“The Precarious Births of Giraffes” by Keya Mitra
“Poochi” by Avrina Prabala-Joslin
The winner will be published in the Winter 2021 issue of Indiana Review.
Indiana Review is currently able to offer free submissions for up to fifty Black or Indigenous writers for the 2021 Don Belton Fiction Reading Period! Each entry includes a year-long subscription to IR. Click here to submit.
As with our general submissions, we seek literary fiction that has an intelligent sense of language, assumes a degree of risk, and has consequence beyond the world of its narrators. We are drawn to vivid, fresh characters and plots we haven’t seen before.
Before submitting, please note that all manuscripts must…
- be works of fiction: novels, novellas, or story collections.
- be under 80,000 words, not including the table of contents or an acknowledgements page.
- consist of a single .doc, .docx, or .pdf file.
- be double-spaced with standard margins.
- be unpublished (portions of the manuscript, such as individual stories, may have appeared in other publications, but the manuscript as a whole must remain unpublished.)
- contain no interior art or translations.
- contain no identifying information (a brief author bio / cover letter may be included in the “comments” section on our submissions manager).
Further, IR and IUP cannot consider work from anyone currently or recently affiliated with Indiana University. This includes those who have studied or taught at IU in the past four years.
Indiana Review is accepting submissions for the Fiction Prize until March 31st, 2021! In this interview with Fiction Editor Laura Dzubay, 2021 judge Kali Fajardo-Anstine opens up about her award-winning collection of short stories, Sabrina & Corina, the importance of craft in good fiction, and what’s in store for the future.
Kali Fajardo-Anstine is the author of Sabrina & Corina (One World, 2019), winner of an American Book Award and Reading the West Award. Fajardo-Anstine is the 2019 recipient of the Denver Mayor’s Award for Global Impact in the Arts. Her writing has appeared in print and online at Harper’s Bazaar, ELLE, O, the Oprah Magazine, The American Scholar, Boston Review, Bellevue Literary Review, The Idaho Review, Southwestern American Literature, and elsewhere.
A lot of the stories in Sabrina & Corina manage time really masterfully—weaving characters’ backstories in through flashbacks, jumping forward in time to the most relevant scenes, introducing a key event early and then explaining it later, etc. Could you say a little about how you decide to handle time when you’re writing a short story, and what you think its relationship is to structure?
Thank you! Time fascinates me, and I think much of this obsession comes from being part of a large family that has inhabited the same geographic space for generations, and in some cases since time immemorial. The way I tend to handle time in fiction is intended to replicate the reality of having numerous timelines existing at once during a scene. That is to say, if I am standing on a street corner in Denver, not only do I possess my own memories of that corner, but I often have glimmers of stories from my ancestors collapsed into my own experiences. My characters’ minds function in the same way.
Time in my work is communal, shared, and is often not linear. Structurally, this makes for time-infused scenes, where each sentence is imbued with layers of meaning, allusions to the ancestral past, but also an understanding that the future eventually brings death. “Time is an ocean,” sang Bob Dylan, “but it ends at the shore.”
Short stories can feel like microcosms of characters going through specific changes in particular areas of their lives, but in a good story we often get the sense that a character is a complete person, even when what we see of them is limited. How do you decide what parts of a character’s life to include in a story, and what does the process of getting to know a character look like for you?
During my MFA at the University of Wyoming, the first short story I turned into workshop was a draft of “All Her Names.” I was writing about a character named Alicia who had once been well-known in the Denver graffiti scene. I knew she painted trains and had an ex-boyfriend she ran around with despite being married to an older man. Back then, this was 2011 or so, the story wasn’t landing the way I wanted it to, and my professor, the late Brad Watson, stopped me in the English department hallway. We were on a split-level staircase. He was going up and I was going down. The sun was coming in a long window behind Brad’s whitish hair and the stairwell was warm. Brad told me he had been thinking about my story, but he suspected I needed to “dream on it more.” At the time, I thought his advice was ludicrous. I wanted to force my fiction into shape with rules and prescriptive advice. But Brad, a truly gifted and sensitive artist, knew better. Sometimes, we need to listen to our subconscious. Give time over to our characters. Daydream on their realities. “All Her Names” was published eventually and is included in Sabrina & Corina, but it took years for me to finally listen to Alicia.
When reading short fiction, what excites you the most and why?
Everything. If it’s a good story, I’m in love. And what makes a good story? It’s voice, a particular way of looking at the world, a dedication to craft.
Which writers and works do you look to for inspiration?
Arturo Islas, Toni Morrison, Ralph Ellison, Edward P. Jones, Katherine Anne Porter, James Baldwin, Sandra Cisneros, Kent Haruf, Katherine Dunn, Jack Gilbert, Mark Strand, Joy Williams, Gabriel García Márquez and many, many others.
Are there any projects you want to share that you’re looking forward to in 2021?
I’ve recently finished some new short stories and I’m very close to completing my first novel. I’ve also written my first book review, which is such an intimate and energizing way to learn about a book.
We are excited to announce the winner and finalists of the 2020 Fiction Prize, judged by Angela Flournoy. Many thanks to everyone who submitted their work and made this year’s prize possible!
2020 Fiction Prize Winner
“Air Hunger” by María José Candela
Angela Flournoy says, “What makes “Air Hunger” impressive is the writer’s ability to evoke two modes of being at once. There are the two settings–the winter streets of Rome, with its young clergy and indifferent taxi drivers; and the shopping malls, apartments and swimming pools of Medellín. The story also examines two postures, both façades, that the narrator adopts at different points in her life. The result of this duality is a main character who feels complicated and real, one who is capable of accessing her regret as well as agency. This narrator and the story she tells will undoubtedly linger in readers’ minds.”
“We All Live Here Forever” by Marguerite Alley
“My Wish for You in the Land of the Dead: a Cuban Sandwich” by Leslie Blanco
“We” by Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry
“Wolf Tale” by Anne Guidry
“Compound Fractures” by Alice Hatcher
“Hotel Indigo” by Elie Piha
The winner will be published in the Winter 2020 issue of Indiana Review.