Posts Tagged: 2015

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Interview with 2015 Fiction Prize Judge Laura van den Berg

Our 2015 Fiction Prize Judge is Laura van den Berg, whose story “Where We Must Be” first appeared in Indiana Review 29.1 and was republished online at Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading. In this interview, she answers questions about her short story collection, The Isle of Youth, allergies to boredom, and what she might be looking for in the prize-winning entry.

LauraAuthorPhotoLaura van den Berg is the author of the novel Find Me and the story collections What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us and The Isle of Youth. She is the recent recipient of the Bard Fiction Prize, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Jeannette Haien Ballard Writer’s Prize, and an O. Henry Award. She currently lives in Brooklyn, where she is at work on a new collection of stories and a novel.


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Interview with 2015 1/2K Prize Judge: Kim Chinquee

kimchinqueeOur 2015 1/2K Prize judge is the phenomenal Kim Chinquee, whose excellent story, “Darling,” will appear in The Indiana Review issue 37.2, Winter 2015. Here she discusses her thoughts on short-short work, dealbreakers, and what she might be looking for in the prize-winning entry.

Kim Chinquee is the author of the collections PRETTY, PISTOL, and OH BABY. Her website is


1) When and how did you start writing short-short work?

I wrote my first flash fiction piece in 2000, in Mary Robison’s workshop at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers. It was my second semester as a graduate student. She had asked the students to bring in something short, so I wrote a piece called “Pure Gold,” which I sent to NOON. It was accepted by Diane Williams, and retitled “The Top Shelf.” I continued writing flash fictions, along with longer work, and seem to have better luck with the flashes.

2) We hear a lot about the challenge of “compressing” in short-short work. Can you speak a bit to how you’ve found this to be the case or not, and to any other challenges you encounter in writing?

My biggest challenge is writing longer work. I’ve become so accustomed to writing short work that my internal editor is sometimes hyperactive.  Lately, I’ve been trying to write more, and then scale back, after I can see the work objectively. I find enjoyment in that.

3) “Choo and Rumble” is at once highly specific and vast in its thematic scope and treatment of time. What are some of your thoughts on the responsibility of short-short work at large, or some myths about it that you want to debunk?

I admire senses and scenery in short-short work. And jumps in time and space. More showing, less telling. Sometimes language play. Breaking limits and boundaries. In short-short work, it’s interesting to break the rules.

4) Do you have any hard and fast “dealbreakers” in writing? Any pet peeves?

Ending the piece by saying it’s a dream. Fiction is already a dream, so it takes the dream out of it when a narrator announces to the reader it’s a dream. On the other hand, I think dreams can make interesting stories, and can sometimes add depth to fiction, as long as the narrator doesn’t point out that the “dream” is a dream.

5) What might you be looking for in the prize-winning entry?

Originality. Interesting language, sensory details, themes. And lots of surprises!