Download the printable list: Winners, Finalists, Semifinalists Announcement
On announcing that Stuart Dybek would join Series Editor Tara L. Masih as this year’s Guest Editor, we promised that The Best Small Fictions 2016 would offer “the same excitement and depth as the first” volume.
Without the many journals and presses that nominated their writers, as well as the writers themselves who poured so very much onto the page, we wouldn’t be able to say that we feel we’ve made good on our pledge.
We have to thank Assistant Editors Michelle Elvy and Clare MacQueen, and our expert roving editors who read countless stories: Michael Cocchiarale, Tara Laskowski, and Mary Slechta. Consulting editors X.J. Kennedy, Michael Martone, Dawn Raffel, Motoyuki Shibata, and James Thomas assisted Tara Masih in narrowing down hundreds of eligible stories. Finally, our greatest thanks goes to Stuart Dybek for selecting 45 exceptional stories from 100 finalists. Overall, thousands were narrowed down to the list below. So it is with great pleasure that we give you the winners, finalists, and semifinalists of the October-releasing Best Small Fictions 2016:
Amir Adam, “The Physics of Satellites” (One Throne Magazine)
Daniel Aristi, “Tempus Fugit” (SAND)
Tina Barry, “Going South” (from Mall Flower, Big Table Publishing Co.)
Paul Beckman, “Healing Time” (from Peek, Big Table Publishing Co.)
Laurie Blauner, “The Unsaid” (The Collagist)
John Brantingham, “The California Water War” (Tahoma Literary Review)
Alberto Chimal, “The Waterfall” (trans. George Henson, from Flash Fiction International, Norton)
Justin Lawrence Daugherty, “A Thing Built to Fly Is Not a Promise” (Pithead Chapel)
Toh EnJoe, from “Twelve Twitter Stories” (trans. David Boyd, Monkey Business International)
Grant Faulkner, “The Toad” (from Fissures, Press 53)
Grant Faulkner, “Way Station” (from Fissures, Press 53)
Kathy Fish, “A Room with Many Small Beds” (from Rift, Unknown Press)
Rosie Forrest, “Bless This Home” (from Ghost Box Evolution in Cadillac, Michigan, Rose Metal Press)
Megan Giddings, “Reunion” (PANK)
Megan Giddings, “Goodbye, Piano” (matchbook lit mag)
Amelia Gray, “These Are the Fables” (from Gutshot, FS&G)
Charles Hansmann, “Camouflage” (from KYSO Flash Anthology of Haibun and Tanka, KYSO)
Britt Haraway, “Papa, Too” (Great Weather for Media)
Mary-Jane Holmes, “Trifle” (The Tishman Review)
Laird Hunt, “Star Date (Avant-History)” (Monkey Business International)
A. Nicole Kelly, “Milk Teeth” (Fiction Southeast)
James Kennedy, “World’s Worst Clown” (SmokeLong Quarterly)
Etgar Keret, “The Story, Victorious” (trans. Nathan Englander, from Flash Fiction International, Norton)
R. O. Kwon, “Hey” (NOON)
Nathan Leslie, “A New Cycle” (from Root and Shoot, Texture Press)
Paul Lisicky, “Modernism” (from Shale, Texture Press)
Eliel Lucero, “The Herald” (Great Weather for Media)
Nancy Ludmerer, “First Night” (River Styx)
Melissa Manning, “Woodsmoke” (Overland)
Michael Martone, “In the Ditch, Minnesota I-35 . . .” (Quarter After Eight)
Elizabeth Morton, “Parting” (SmokeLong Quarterly)
David Naimon, “Past a Roar Completed” (Fiction International)
Jessica Plante, “Natural Disaster” (SmokeLong Quarterly)
Dianca London Potts, “Mama’s Comb” (Obsidian)
Dawn Raffel, “Conductivity” (Tammy)
James Reidel, “Black Out” (Fiction Southeast)
Sophie Rosenblum, “Strawberry Festival” (PRISM International)
Caitlin Scarano, “Pitcher of Cream” (Conium Press)
Vincent Scarpa, “Easter, 1991” (NANO Fiction)
Robert Scotellaro, “Bug Porn” (from What We Know So Far, Blue Light Press)
Courtney Sender, “The Solidarity of Fat Girls” (American Short Fiction)
Janey Skinner, “Carnivores” (KYSO Flash)
Curtis Smith, “Illusion” (Moon City Review)
Robert Vaughan, “A Box” (from Rift, Unknown Press)
Clio Velentza, “Midsummer Gothic” (Hermeneutic Chaos)
Gareth David Anderson, “So Much” (Blue Monday Review)
Fay Aoyagi, “Confession” (Modern Haiku)
Britt Ashley, “Film Adaptation of a Love Scene from My Unread Copy of Wuthering Heights” (Juked)
Andy Bailey, “Cellar” (Hermeneutic Chaos)
Lauren Becker, “Form and Line” (Journal of Compressed Arts)
Annie Bilancini, “The House of Schiaparelli” (The Collagist)
Ali Brennan, “Feamainn” (Banshee)
Gerri Brightwell, “My Promotion” (Cleaver Magazine)
Jonathan Cardew, “The Season for Persephone” (Flash Frontier)
Kim Chinquee, “Touch Me” (100 Word Story)
Lisa J. Cihlar, “O Baptism, Sings the River” (from Shale, Texture Press)
James Claffey, “Hardscrabble” (Thrice Fiction)
Sheldon Lee Compton, “These Falling Stars” (Blue Five Notebook)
Kathy Fish, “A Proper Party” (from Rift, Unknown Press)
Rosie Forrest, “Where We Off To, Lulu Bee?” (from Ghost Box Evolution in Cadillac, Michigan, Rose Metal Press)
Vanessa Gebbie, “Three Stages in Learning to Fly” (from Ed’s Wife and Other Creatures, Liquorice Fish Books)
Amelia Gray, “On a Pleasant Afternoon, Every Battle Is Recalled” (from Gutshot, FS&G)
Carol Guess and Kelly Magee, “With Human” (from With Animal, Black Lawrence Press)
Re’Lynn Hansen, “The Ghost Horse” (from To Some Women I Have Known, White Pine Press’s Marie Alexander Series)
Aubrey Hirsch, “Afterbirth” (Booth Journal)
Tamsin Hopkins, “Death by Kissing” (Neon)
Jennifer A. Howard, “The Big Rip” (New South Journal)
Sabrina Huang, “There Is Nothing to Bind Our Hearts Together” (trans. Jeremy Tiang, Read Paper-Republic)
Gail Ingram, “Whispers” (Flash Frontier)
M. J. Iuppa, “641” (Nanoism)
Elizabeth Kerlikowske, “Reading Maps” (from The Female Complaint, Shade Mountain Press)
Julia LaSalle, “Helmet Shell” (Monkeybicycle)
Nathan Leslie, “The Miniaturist” (from Root and Shoot, Texture Press)
Kristie Letter, “Late July, Clover Lick, West Virginia” (Tahoma Literary Review)
Henry Wei Leung, “Getting There” (Cha: An Asian Literary Journal)
Fiona Lincoln, “Long Shadows” (Flash Frontier)
Bob Lucky, “The Current Situation” (from KYSO Flash Anthology of Haibun and Tanka, KYSO)
Ilana Masad, “In a World Gone Mad” (One Throne Magazine)
Jamey McDermott, “A Brief Dispatch on Proper Expectation Management” (The First Line)
Frankie McMillan, “The House on Riselaw Street” (Flash Frontier)
Christopher Merkner, “Up To and Including Our Limits” (Hotel Amerika)
Sabine Miller, “Keeping Cool” (Mariposa)
Geoffrey Miller, “The Belvedere: Iquitos” (defenestrationism)
David Morris, “Consumption” (Monkeybicycle)
Valerie Nieman, “Hotel Worthy” (from Hotel Worthy, Press 53)
Chris Okum, “To Keep the Dark Away” (Camroc Press Review)
Lisa Prince, “things found in rain puddles” (from Shale, Texture Press)
Doug Ramspeck, “Dog Memories” (Cleaver Magazine)
Ryan Ridge and Mel Bosworth, “Where the Doors Went” (from Camouflage Country, Queen’s Ferry Press)
Katey Schultz, “Paddy, the Albino” (KYSO Flash)
Amy Shearn, “2025” (People Holding)
T. L. Sherwood, “Pretty Changes” (Jellyfish Review)
Aaron Sommers, “Real Numbers” (Word Riot)
Kelly Stark, “Ceremony” (Corium)
Daniel Uncapher, “Infestation Miracles” (Neon)
Robert Vivian, “Last Minute Contributor” (Duende)
Deborah Walker, “Ghost Nebula” (from (AFTER)life: Poems and Stories of the Dead, Purple Passion Press)
Anne Elizabeth Weisgerber, “Sleeping Beauty: Markson Fangirl” (Tahoma Literary Review)
Will White, “The Secret Underground Tooth Economy of Boston” (Strangelet Journal)
Diane Williams, “Specialist” (Granta)
Annabel Banks, “Payment to the Universe” (matchbook lit mag)
Damyanti Biswas, “Picasso Dreams” (Bath Flash Fiction Award)
Ron Currie, Jr., “Cross Your Fingers God Bless” (Wigleaf)
John Englehardt, “This Is Great but You Don’t Need It” (Conium Press)
Elliott Freeman, “When I Was Afraid of My Grandfather’s Skin” (Blue Monday Review)
Lydia Copeland Gwyn, “Recipe” (Hermeneutic Chaos)
Mercedes Lawry, “Was there transposition?” (Cleaver Magazine)
Joshua Robert Long, “Occasional Self-Portrait, Part II” (The Harpoon Review)
Kelly Luce, “Outside” (NANO Fiction)
Sarah Hulyk Maxwell, “Whales in Minnesota” (NANO Fiction)
Marion Michell, “Cuffs and Collars” (SAND)
Samantha Murray, “Portrait of My Wife as a Boat” (Flash Fiction Online)
Ethel Rohan, “Dark Stars” (from Winesburg, Indiana)
Robert Scotellaro, “Weights and Measures” (from What We Know So Far, Blue Light Press)
Annesha Sengupta, “No More Broken Bones” (Pithead Chapel)
David Swann, “Children of Dirt and Thunder” (from Stronger Faster Shorter, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press)
Rachael Thomas, “Easter Sunday (triptych)” (Journal of Compressed Arts)
Dorothy (Hiu Hung) Tse, “Bridges” (trans. Nicky Harman, Read Paper-Republic)
Chris Tusa, “Winter Wonderland” (Corium)
Deb Olin Unferth, “The Walk” (NOON)
In honor of the general release of Tyrone Jaeger’s So Many True Believers, a story collection National Book Award-finalist Lauren Groff (Fates and Furies) says is “linked like a set of Christmas lights, a series of bright bulbs glowing against the cold and dark night,” we give you the official book trailer. Many thanks to filmmakers Ali Bair and Kate Engler–and to the author himself, of course.
Queen’s Ferry Press is pleased to announce its newest author, Matthew Pitt. These Are Our Demands, Matthew’s second collection, will be published in 2017. The twelve stories (and one artist’s sketch) revolve around characters laying claim to opportunities they wield little to no leverage to enforce. Their lack of power could be due to age; or because they hail from parts of the nation—such as a triptych of stories set in the Mississippi Delta—where merely getting by passes for rousing success; or due to language and cultural barriers; or shifting family dynamics that leave them lacking security. But being consigned to the margins opens up, for these characters, a different kind of wilderness, just across the border from polite society.
Stories from the collection have appeared in Conjunctions, Michigan Quarterly Review, Cimarron Review, Southern Humanities Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Epoch, Cincinnati Review, New South, New Letters, and Good Men Project, and have been honored and recognized by Best American Short Stories 2012, Glimmer Train and The Texas Observer.
Matthew’s first book of stories, Attention Please Now, won the Autumn House Press Fiction Prize. The collection was later a winner of Late Night Library’s Debutlitzer Prize and a Writers’ League of Texas Book Award finalist. Matthew’s fiction has appeared in dozens of magazines, anthologies, and print and online journals and several individual stories have been cited in “Best Of” anthologies; his fiction has also received honors and awards from The New York Times, Mississippi Arts Commission, Bronx Council on the Arts, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Salem College Center for Women Writers, and fellowships from the Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and Taos Writers’ Conferences. He has taught creative writing at NYU, Penn State-Altoona, Illinois College, and Hendrix College, and is Associate Editor of Bucknell University’s literary journal, West Branch. Matthew is currently an Assistant Professor of English at TCU in Fort Worth, where he serves as Editor of descant, and was recently recognized as the department’s Teacher of the Year.
About publishing with Queen’s Ferry, Matthew says: “It’s human nature to take notice of, and interest in, your neighbors, and since Queen’s Ferry Press is more-or-less based out of my backyard, I’ve been a witness to the impressive momentum they’ve built, and their clear commitment to literary work—and short stories, in particular. They publish beautiful books, driven by language and character, books eager to push form and approach in electric ways, and I kept noticing their books were penned by writers I admire, whose work spikes my heartbeat and inspires me. I am delighted and proud to be part of that roster.”
Thanks for the kind words, Matthew–we’re thrilled to have you!
Pamela Painter (Wouldn’t You Like to Know) says of Adulterous Generation‘s characters: “[They] never shy away from ‘doing.’ They consign dishes and wineglasses to the trash, flood houses, break taboos, plunder lives for a comic strip, steal money with mace as a weapon, and navigate the mayhem of their own lives with humor, wisdom, and hope in their quirky and profoundly generous hearts.”
Today marks the release of Amy L. Clark’s collection of short stories, twenty in all; the book can be ordered directly through QFP and is also available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Ebook formats are also downloadable, though we feel the cover image especially sings on the paperback–something Amy is kind enough to talk about:
It is not an accident that the photograph featured on the cover of Adulterous Generation was taken in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven. And not just any 7-Eleven. The 7-Eleven. The 7-Eleven because it was the only 7-Eleven I knew of growing up. I grew up in a series of very small towns. By the time I was in high school, I spent a great deal of time in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven. I was there uncounted afternoons eating twenty-five cent Zebra Cakes and leaning against crappy cars. I was there on the way to the prom with my hair in ringlets done up by my best friend’s mom. I was there the night a giant luna moth flew in through the open door and so terrified the cashier that he hid in the back while a few of my more adventurous friends, those who were less cowed by the law or moral ambiguity, loaded candy bars and packs of Marlboro reds into their pockets and fled. I was at work in the Dunkin Donuts next door when I called the cops to report that an old dude dressed in a Civil War uniform (Union) was parading around the 7-Eleven parking lot with a real rifle over his shoulder. I was there the day this photograph was taken. I took it with my stepfather’s old Nikkormat 35 millimeter. Later, at the local art college where I was a student in the Saturday program for misfit high school students, I developed the film and printed the photograph on 8 x 10 matte paper.
The picture is of my best friend and her then-boyfriend. It was the summer of 1996, and we were sixteen, and he was probably eighteen. Somewhere just out of frame there would have been the car we were riding around in that day–his Duster or her father’s one-ton flatbed. Somewhere just out of frame would have been a bottle of Mountain Dew and a couple packs of Camel Lights.
My best friend then is still one of my best friends now. We’ve known each other for twenty-three years and have helped each other grow up. Her then-boyfriend, on the other hand, has disappeared from the picture for me, and for her. No idea what happened to him. That 7-Eleven is no longer a 7-Eleven either. That’s a bit like how I think of these stories–full of things many of us have experienced and some of us, and some of the characters, will grow out of. Others will simply lose the plot, or the plot will lose them. The bulk of these stories take place in locations similar to this parking lot, in or around that time period, which from here seems like a very long time ago. And thank god.
It looks like 2016 is going to be another busy year for the press, which makes our announcement of welcoming another pair of hands timely (and necessary). Bradley Cole will be joining QFP as an editorial intern over the next few months—and we are mightily happy to have him!
Bradley is an MFA candidate at Minnesota State University and is originally from Stillwater, Oklahoma. He is the operations editor at Blue Earth Review and his work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Parcel and Forklift, Ohio. He is fond of football, dogs, sweet tea, and a good story.
About coming on board Bradley says: “I’m excited to join Queen’s Ferry Press as an editorial intern and get the hands-on experience only small press publishing can provide and because I believe small presses are publishing some of today’s best writing. Because of the direction and aesthetic of the press, I am incredibly excited for these opportunities and experiences.”
Interested in interning for Queen’s Ferry? Multiple roles are available; Erin McKnight can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2015 has been a banner year for Queen’s Ferry Press! This year saw the release of twelve titles, to include flash, hybrid, alternate-history and traditional story collections, as well as our first novel; these books, we believe, encapsulate the press’s eclectic aesthetic and advance our commitment to publishing innovative fiction.
2016 will see the release of a title every month (two in October), and features an impressive and varied line-up of voices and works:
Jan. – Adulterous Generation, Amy L. Clark
Feb. – So Many True Believers, Tyrone Jaeger
March – Whiskey, Etc., Sherrie Flick
April – In Case of Emergency, Break Glass, Sarah Van Arsdale
May – Love Slaves of Helen Hadley Hall, James Magruder
June – Middle West, Marc Watkins
July – Bad Faith, Theodore Wheeler
Aug. – The Summer She Was Under Water, Jen Michalski
Sept. – The Widow’s Guide to Edible Mushrooms, Chauna Craig
Oct. – Future Perfect, Matthew James Babcock
The Best Small Fictions 2016, Tara L. Masih; Stuart Dybek
Nov. – Lesser American Boys, Zach VandeZande
Dec. – Everyone Was There, Anthony Varallo
Before we lift our eyes to the new year, however, we celebrate our recent successes:
Helen McClory was just last month named winner of the Saltire Society’s First Book of the Year Award for On the Edges of Vision. This QFP title got to rub shoulders at literary awards recognized as the most prestigious in Scotland, with the likes of Michael Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things. We are thrilled for Helen!
October saw another exciting avenue of growth take root with the release of the bestselling The Best Small Fictions. Shepherded by series editor Tara L. Masih and guest edited in 2015 by Pulitzer Prize–winning author Robert Olen Butler, this contemporary annual is solely devoted to compiling the best hybrid fiction in a calendar year. We are heartened by the response to this anthology’s debut and very much look forward to the 2016 compilation, guest edited by Stuart Dybek.
Nominations are currently open; please consult the full guidelines.
In that vein, here are our own selections for The Best Small Fictions 2016:
Ben Segal – “Planters” (from Pool Party Trap Loop; originally appeared in Digital Hamper)
Greg Gerke – “High on the Thigh” (from My Brooklyn Writer Friend; originally appeared in The Collagist)
Helen McClory – “Pretty Dead Girl Takes a Break” (from On the Edges of Vision; originally appeared in The Toast)
Rob McClure Smith – “Glasgow Lullaby” (from The Violence; originally appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly)
Ryan Ridge & Mel Bosworth – “The Next Room” (from Camouflage Country; originally appeared in the EEEL)
We eagerly anticipate what’s to come and thank you for your support for all that’s been!
We are delighted to announce that Helen McClory’s On the Edges of Vision has been named The Saltire Society First Book of the Year. These awards are recognized as the nation’s most prestigious annual book awards.
About the collection, the esteemed judging panel said: “These are dark stories about the limits of the conscious and the darkness within. About a world where reality flickers in and out of focus disturbingly. The familiar is even more disturbing than the unfamiliar. These are stories that draw you back to re-read, but they continue to squirm out of final reach.”
The book triumphed over stiff competition; McClory says of the win: “I am utterly delighted that On the Edges of Vision has won this year’s Saltire First Book of the Year Award…. For the collection to…win this prize is a huge boost not just to myself but the press as well, highlighting QFP’s innovative mission. Sparklers in both hands, quite honestly.”
Helen McClory is a writer on the rise and Queen’s Ferry is proud to have published On the Edges of Vision. Congratulations, Helen!
Queen’s Ferry Press is in need of an in-house interior book designer. This individual would be responsible for 10–15 titles a year. If you’re interested, please send Erin McKnight an email at email@example.com.