“Lucky Frank” by Jenny Xie

Congratulations to Jenny Xie! As first place winner of the Open Border prize she’ll receive $750 and publication in the next issue of Retro. We’ll also publish the story online this spring, along with the two other finalists.

Amelia Gray, our judge for 2017, had this to say about Xie’s work:

What happens when your luck runs out? It's the idea behind Jenny Xie's “Lucky Frank,” a story that does triple duty: an immigrant story set in one of America's stranger locations; a story of all the treacherous mundanities of childhood; a half-horror heart of darkness complete with staggering villain. Xie expertly navigates the childhood world with such seamless subtlety that a twitch of the eyebrow can send the reader reeling. Fine-tuned and complex, it reveals more with every read; the mark of a great short story.

Jenny Xie has published work in journals like Front Porch Journal, Cosmonauts Avenue, Ninth Letter Online, PANK Online, Hyphen Magazine, Adroit Journal, and Gulf Coast Online , among others. She has been named the winner of the Devil's Lake Driftless Prize and Narrative Magazine's 30 Below Story Contest, and was included in the 2016 Best of the Net Anthology . She graduated from the MFA program at Johns Hopkins University, where she also taught creative writing, and now lives in Oakland, California, where she is at work on a novel.


“The Soft No” by Kimberly King Parsons

Writing by Kimberly King Parsons has been published in New South, Black Warrior Review online, The Towner, No Tokens, Bookforum, and elsewhere. She earned an MFA in fiction from Columbia University, where she served as the editor-in-chief of Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art. She was awarded the 2016 Indiana Review Fiction Prize and one of her stories was recently featured on the Ploughshares blog “The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week.”


“Little Hippo” by Miriam Cohen

Miriam Cohen’s fiction has appeared in or is forthcoming from The Black Warrior Review, StoryQuarterly, West Branch Wired, Cream City Review, The Florida Review, DIAGRAM, The Collagist, Cimarron Review, Carve , and The Bennington Review. She was the 2012-13 recipient of the Carol Houck Smith Fiction fellowship at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.


“Heart Lake” by Rudrapriya Rathore

Rudrapriya Rathore won the Irving Layton Award for Fiction in 2014. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Hart House Review, The Puritan, The Walrus, Minola Review, Carousel , and elsewhere. She lives and writes in Toronto.

“An Aesthetics of Rat Bites” by Stacey Hardy

Stacy Hardy is a writer based in Grahamstown, South Africa. She is an editor at the pan African journal Chimurenga, a founder of Black Ghost Books and a teacher at Rhodes University. Because the Night, an anthology of her fiction was recently published by Pocko Books, London. She is currently working on a new collection that explores the intersection of the human body and the body of text via the tropes of disease and animality.

“Kindling” by Kerry Cullen

Kerry Cullen's fiction has been published in Prairie Schooner, The Indiana Review, One Teen Story, Hobart, Monkeybicycle , and more. She is an editorial assistant at Henry Holt & Co. and earned her MFA at Columbia University. She is currently writing a novel about sex, god, and Christian rock.