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BEST SMALL FICTIONS 2016 Winners, Finalists, and Semifinalists!

Download the printable list: Winners, Finalists, Semifinalists Announcement


On announcing that Stuart Dybek would join Series Editor Tara L. BSF 2016 frontMasih 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)



Matthew Pitt to Publish With Queen’s Ferry

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!

Editorial Intern Joins the Ranks

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

ON THE EDGES OF VISION Wins Big in Scotland!

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!

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Queen’s Ferry Title Shortlisted for a Saltire Literary Award

We are thrilled to announce that Scotland’s Saltire Society, at simultaneous announcement ceremonies held in Edinburgh and London, has shortlisted Helen McClory’s On the Edges of Vision for the Saltire Scottish First Book of the Year Award. As these prizes are widely regarded as the country’s most prestigious literary awards, Queen’s Ferry couldn’t be more proud of Helen—regardless of the winners’ announcement in Edinburgh on November 26th.

On the Edges of Vision is described in the announcement as “a collection of dark short stories and prose poetry about the limits of the conscious and the darkness within from Edinburgh-based writer Helen McClory.”

Reviewing the title for Monkeybicycle, Ariell Cacciola calls the book: “A debut collection that lingers in the curves of your eyes and during the double-blink gazes of late night shadows, Helen McClory has wound tight, unexpected stories… On the Edges of Vision is simmering…. If anything, McClory’s monsters are both homely and unfamiliar, and the tangle is what makes this collection ever so enjoyable.”

Why not pick up the book for yourself and see what all the fuss is about, or read the full Saltire Literary Awards press release.

On the Edges of Vision frontcover


On the Edges of Vision Tour Kickstarter – Live through August 15!

On The Edges of Vision
On The Edges of Vision

The idea to launch a Kickstarter project to help fund the On the Edges of Vision tour came about as a result of me talking aloud about my thoughts on Twitter. It seems often to be the case that when I clap my hands to the keyboard to work something out, there are dozens of wonderful writerly people with advice, caution and encouragement to give. Sometimes it’s advice about cakes or language or the best place to go to find moorland in the lowlands (long story).

I had such a positive response to the idea of the Kickstarter that I decided I had to at least try. Queen’s Ferry Press have beyond risen to the occasion, providing perks for donations, an editorial eye over suggested rewards and tonnes of support generally for the whole tour endeavour, something that has seemed at times like stepping out across an invisible bridge and hoping to stay airborne.  So far, the whole process has gone incredibly well. My goal is small, realistic. Just £1000 to defray costs, with money raised beyond that gratefully received to help me book more stops, more bus tickets, to shore a future reading tour through the UK or beyond. In response to missives on Facebook and Twitter, more readings have already appeared on the schedule. My heartfelt thanks to the network of writers, editors and booksellers who have taken a chance on this book and agreed to be a part of this. To host me in their cities, most of which I’ve never even been to. Raising my glass to the internet for making these little hales and cries possible at all. To my friend A, who helped make the video, putting up with my desire for romantic ruins and my hesitancy, and voice – which he had to listen to many times in the editing process. To D, for being the sound man (as he always is, every single day). To all the friends new-made or long loved who have put their backs into this.

My very first book, these stories of monsters and connection, will be available for pre-order on the 21st of July, and the tour begins on the 24th of August. A litany so far: Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, DC, New York. If I can see you, somewhere here, as I read to you, or after, as I sign your name and smile (awkwardly, but sincerely, as I do most things), it would be wonderful. Reach out. Tell me I’m here, tell me I made it. Tell me your favourite book, the best spot in this city.

What this will do for the book itself cannot be easily quantified. How many more readers will get to know On the Edges of Vision than would have done otherwise? How many more people will buy a copy? Come to a reading, ask me to sign? Not sure. But I can feel that they will be there, the readers. That sensation of connecting, or the possibility of this. A sensation of the finest threads vibrating.

If you’d like, support the Kickstarter here. The fundraiser ends at midnight, August 15th.


Helen McClory
Helen McClory

Helen McClory is a writer from Scotland. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of New South Wales. There is a moor and a cold sea in her heart. This is her first collection.

Queen’s Ferry Press to Publish Kathleen Hughes’ Second Novel

You Can Walk Home to be published by Queen’s Ferry Press in 2017

Plano, TX—May 12, 2015 Queen’s Ferry Press, an independent publisher providing a venue for fine literary fiction, announced it will publish Kathleen Hughes’ novel You Can Walk Home.

“I’m so pleased that my second novel, You Can Walk Home, will join the Queen’s Ferry list,” Hughes said.  “Queen’s Ferry is a press of serious and imaginative writers with a commitment to honed, evocative, and purposeful language.  I feel lucky now to join them.”

You Can Walk Home is the story of a family in a small coastal Rhode Island town.  During a fight on a snowy drive home from school one evening, the mother orders her 16-year-old daughter out of the car to walk the last mile.  This punishment does not produce the desired effect.  Told from the perspective of the younger sister, who is in the car that night and is her sister’s confidante, and from the mother, You Can Walk Home is a story about girls and women, parents and children, faith, and how much we can and cannot hold on to the ones we love. You Can Walk Home will release in June, 2017.

About the Author:

Kathleen Hughes
Kathleen Hughes

Kathleen Hughes is the author of Dear Mrs. Lindbergh (WW Norton 2003).  She has won awards from MTV, the New England and Rhode Island Press Associations, the Sewanee Writer’s Conference, and the Vermont Studio Center.  A graduate of Yale University, the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and the MGH Institute of Health Professions, Hughes is a pediatric nurse practitioner in Rhode Island, where she lives with her family.

Founded in 2011 as an independent publisher, Queen’s Ferry Press specializes in literary fiction. The press currently releases 6–12 titles a year, many from debut authors, and is the publisher of Shadows of Men, the 2013 recipient of the TIL Steven Turner Award for Best Work of First Fiction. For book updates please contact Kevin Wehmueller, Marketing & Publicity of Queen’s Ferry Press, or visit


Media Contact: Kevin Wehmueller, Marketing & Publicity