WINNER OF THE $1000 OPEN BORDER PRIZE
"Heyday" by Charlie Schneider
"'Heyday' is such a confident story: that perfect, potent blend of assured and heartbreaking you — or I should say, I — look for in a story. About the people and places we love, about how both of those things can and do change, like it or not. It's about the fact that we can't escape ourselves. I'm still thinking, days after reading it, about some pitch perfect images: 'Orange sodium fizz' comes out of streetlights; clavicles look like you could drink soup out of them. I'm excited to see what this writer does next." 2018 Judge Rachel Khong
"A Brief History of Appetites" by Hannah Kingsley-Ma
"'A Brief History of Appetites' is unconventional, surprising, delightful — with an unmistakable and striking sadness thrumming beneath. It captures perfectly the way food and relationships can sometimes be so tangled, and this story embraces that. I couldn't help but love that. Characters play fuck/marry/kill with pasta shapes and the author writes, 'Everyone wants to marry a tortellini.' This is very true." Rachel KhongHannah Kingsley-Ma is a writer, radio producer, and infrequent bookseller currently living in her hometown of San Francisco. Her work has appeared on the CBC, KCRW, KQED and in Literary Hub, The Rumpus, and Wolfman New Life Quarterly Magazine. This fall she is entering the MFA program in fiction at NYU.
"The Rut" by Amy Shearn
"Reading 'The Rut' was a breathtaking experience. Strikingly original, exhilaratingly and expertly weird, this is a story that captures the strangeness and mystery of marriage and long-term romantic relationships. The story's main character is a faun, living in New York City with a human husband; after ten years of marriage, they're still two very different people (one's not even a person!). There's love and there's lust; there's a bizarre and exquisite sex scene I won't spoil." Rachel KhongAmy Shearn is a novelist, essayist, editor, and teacher. Her second novel, The Mermaid of Brooklyn, was published by Touchstone in April 2013, and by Pan Macmillan in the UK in August 2013. It was a selection of Target's Discover New Writers program and a Hudson News Summer Reads pick. Her first novel, How Far Is the Ocean From Here, was published by Shaye Areheart in 2008. Charles Baxter called it 'a hugely auspicious debut.' She has taught for Sackett Street Writers Workshop, Gotham Writers Workshop, and NYU, and currently works as an editor.
"A New England" by Rodrigo Ribera d'Ebre
"This narrator's assured voice is one I could read for pages: paranoid, nervy, insecure — complex, contradictory, macho and broken all at once. He's expertly rendered, and the rhythms are everything in this story." Rachel KhongRodrigo Ribera d'Ebre is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and his work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Los Angeles Times/Design LA Magazine, Storgy, Juxtapoz, 1888 Center, and other literary journals, and his non-fiction has been highlighted by NPR. An award-winning filmmaker for his writing and direction in the documentary film Dark Progressivism, he is also a 2017 MFA graduate of the creative writing program at Mount Saint Mary’s University.
The quality of this year's submissions was outstanding and inspiring. These stories were in final consideration and we suggest you also read and follow these incredible writers.
"American Made" by Rachel Ann Brickner
"(Daughter)" by Lesley Dorman
"Down with the Sickness" by Linnie Greene
"Bloodmobile" by Karen Gu
"Slum Room" by Stephanie Jimenez
"fuwa fuwa" by Joan Li
"Grampa's Bag of Bubonic's Brood" by John Elizabeth Stintzi
"Lean Into the Mic" by Catriona Wright