Congratulations to Lisa Graley and Anne Raeff, this year’s winners of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction! The competition continues to be a celebrated route to publication for literary short fiction collections, and the University of Georgia Press is glad to have Graley and Raeff carry on this tradition.
Graley’s The Current that Carries and Raeff’s The Jungle Around Us will be published by UGA Press in the fall of 2016.
Originally from West Virginia, Lisa Graley teaches English and humanities at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where she is an assistant professor. She is the author of the book of poetry Box of Blue Horses (Gival, 2013). For her work in fiction, she was awarded an ATLAS (Awards to Louisiana Artists and Scholars) sabbatical in 2009–10 by the Louisiana Board of Regents. Her stories have appeared in Glimmer Train Stories and the McNeese Review. She loves mountains, woodworking, goats, and gardening.
Flannery O’Connor series editor Nancy Zafris writes of Graley’s collection: “The Current That Carries gifts us with stories about the diversity of rural life. A grandfather takes out his shotgun to stop wannabe gangbangers, only to discover one of the boys is his grandson. A widower befriends a young man trying to cope with his wife’s departure, the poisoning of his dogs, and the closing in each night of braver and braver coyotes. Flannery O’Connor commented that the more you study a single object, the more of the world you see in it. Nothing could better describe the relentless focus of these stories whose unwavering trueness of observation is softened by a tender heart. These stories cast a spell that cannot be undone.”
Anne Raeff’s stories and essays have appeared in the New England Review, ZYZZYVA, and Guernica, among other places. Her first novel, Clara Mondschein’s Melancholia, was published in 2002. She is proud to be a high school teacher and works primarily with recent immigrants. She, too, is a child of immigrants and much of her writing draws on her family’s history as refugees from war and the Holocaust. She lives in San Francisco with her wife and two cats.
Nancy Zafris on Raeff’s collection: “A wonderfully mature vision informs the stories of The Jungle Around Us, stories that risk being termed old-fashioned—if old-fashioned means ditching self-consciousness and cleverness and bringing back hard-earned intelligence and historical weight and putting them all under a single multicultural roof. The miracle of these stories is their ultimate simplicity and intimacy even as they weave together numerous global threads.”
The runner-up in this year’s competition is Wayne Harrison of Springfield, Oregon. The shortlisted authors are Vicky Mlyniec of Los Gatos, California; Dena Afrasiabi of Austin, Texas; Michael Kardos of Starkville, Mississippi; Jacob Appel of Scarsdale, New York; Rachel Hall of Rochester, New York; Leyna Krow of Spokane, Washington; Shymala Dason of San Jose, California; Colette Sartor of Los Angeles, California; Gary Peter of St. Paul, Minnesota; Jules Tremeryn of Klamath Falls, Oregon; and Peter Duval of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Congratulations to all participants and thank you for creating compelling short fiction. The award-winning books selected in last year’s competition, The Suicide Club by Toni Graham and Better Than War by Siamak Vossoughi, were published in September.