Monday, January 28, 2008

Who Loves Short-Shorts?

Here’s another short-short fiction contest; I think these catch my eye because I’m so impressed with the idea that people (not me!) can write a compelling fiction that doesn't take 350 pages and five years to write (i.e. my current novel-in-endless-progress).

One of my favorite short-shorts is “Children of Strikers,” by Fred Chappell. I couldn’t find it online, but here’s a paragraph from the introduction to Chappell’s book, Moments of Light, written by Annie Dillard:

“In 'Children of Strikers,' Chappell makes manifest, vividly and subtly, the real and grave nature of human suffering. This is a brilliant story whose narrative gradually uncovers its own locus. We wake, as the children wake, to the import of what they have found by the roadside; but we know, as they do not, what it means about the world. The many layers of this story separate the reader from pain while forcing him, unaware, to seek it out at the center of the narrative riddle, and forcing him to find it, accidentally as it were, at the center of human experience.”

All this in 4 pages or so. A remarkable story, and one that always provokes conversation in a writing class. More info here.

Now that you’re properly inspired, here’s the contest:

The 2008 Just Desserts Short-Short Fiction Prize
First Prize: $1000
Two Honorable Mentions
1000-word maximum
Entry Fee: $10 for up to two stories
Judge: Liza Wieland

Liza Wieland has published four works of fiction: two novels,The Names of the Lost, (Southern Methodist University Press,1992) and Bombshell (SMU, 2001), and two collections of short fiction, Discovering America (Random House,1994) and You Can Sleep While I Drive (SMU, 1999), as well as a volume of poems, Near Alcatraz (Cherry Grove Collections, 2005). She has been awarded two Pushcart Prizes, as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation and the North Carolina Arts Council.

Deadline: FEBRUARY 15, 2008

Send Submissions to:
Fiction Contests, Passages North
Northern Michigan University, Gries Hall
1401 Presque Isle Ave.
Marquette, MI 49855

All entrants receive contest issue. Send SASE for announcement of winners. Make checks payable to Northern Michigan University. More info here.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.