I can’t sleep. My furnished apartment in Freiburg, Germany, has a TV that broadcasts a single channel, in German, and since I’m too tired to read but too wired to rest, I tune in for half an hour. I speak nicht Deutch—just a little Yiddish—but can still make out the tail-end of a news program on an Auschwitz survivor, replete with images of rawboned prisoners and the eminent entry gate (“Work shall set you free”); a preview for a film called Female Agents in which be-lipsticked vixens gun down unsuspecting Nazis; and the start of a sitcom called Tel Aviv Rendezvous in which a guileless guest shows up at a Shabbat dinner with nonkosher wine.
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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”
“The Boy Is a Soap Bubble” by Gabriela Garcia
“Half Moon” by Eliza Smith
“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