Congratulations to Tom Howard, who has won the 2017 Fiction Prize for his short story “Fierce Pretty Things.” Thank you to all who submitted their work and made this year’s selection process so (delightfully) difficult. “Fierce Pretty Things” will appear next winter in IR 40.2.
2017 Fiction Prize Winner:
“Fierce Pretty Things” by Tom Howard
On the winning story, prize judge Caitlin Horrocks says: “Everyone around the narrator, Vardy, thinks they’ve got him figured out: he’s a bad apple, a loose cannon, a violent weirdo to be avoided in the school hallways. Vardy worries they may be right. His unforgettable, alternately hilarious and agonizing first-person narration, pulls the reader into his life and doesn’t let us out. When he starts wondering if there’s a way things could be different—if he could be different—he struggles to even guess what that might look like, let alone how to get there. Surrounded by enemies of his own making, and few allies, Vardy is a blazingly memorable character, his story one that will stick with me.”