Posts Categorized: Fiction

Interview with 2014 1/2 K Prize Judge: Carol Guess

The August 15 deadline for submissions to the 2014 1/2 K Prize is fast approaching. We know this is equal parts exciting and terrifying, so please try to remember to breathe.

In the meantime, check out this interview with our current 1/2 K Prize judge Carol Guess.

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Carol is a professor of Creative Writing and Literature at Western Washington University, but as novelist and poet herself, she understands the plight of the struggling author in a fiercely competitive publishing world. You can find her excellent piece, co-written with Kelly Magee, “With Fox,” in our Winter 2014 issue. She graciously answered a few questions here about what she looks for as a judge and what advice she has for aspiring writers. Read more…

Interview with 1/2K Prize Finalist: Caitlin Scarano

Caitlin-Scarano-e1395083194898-250x300There are just over three weeks left to submit to the 2014 1/2 K Prize.  Before you find yourself panicking in front of a blank page take a few minutes to gain some insight from Caitlin Scarano. Her rich, assured “No Men in the Title, a Poem to Birds and Places” was a finalist for our 2013 1/2K Prize. Here she responds to questions posed to her about the prose poem form, discussing the distillation of language, the value of hybridity, and interrogating cliché.
How did the byline you included, “A crack in a boulder can never be an entrance to a cathedral”—a line from poet Eduardo C. Corral, inspire or otherwise inform this poem?
I was taken by that line because it made me consider how people can be born into limitations, for example, a cycle of abuse or poverty. There are some circumstances, places, histories, and experiences we can never fully transcend. Even if we overcome those circumstances, we cannot erase the influence and consequences of them. This is why my poem cycles in on itself and negates its own assertions. We cannot be what we are not. I am a product of my family and its history, which, metaphorically speaking, is more crack in a boulder than cathedral – nowhere near divine or pure – but beautiful and compelling in its own way.

Interview with 1/2K Prize Winner: Diane Seuss

DianeHeadshotThere’s no question: Writing short can be difficult.  And short is what our annual 1/2K Prize is all about. There’s the limited word count (500 words) and the unlimited genre constraints (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, short-shorts, prose poetry–a welcome collapse of genre). We asked Seuss to tell us more about her excellent piece, “Wal-Mart Parking Lot,” which won our 1/2K Prize in 2013 and appears in our Summer 2014 issue. Here she divulges which Wal-Mart inspired her, her approach to writing the piece, and the challenges and triumphs of the compressed form.

We hope this helps all you current and prospective Half-K authors. Submissions for this year’s contest are now open through August 15th. Click here for a full list of guidelines.

Read more…

Announcing the 2013 Fiction Prize Winner!

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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”

 

Interview With 2012 Fiction Prize Winner: CB Anderson

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. Read more…