Carol Roh Spaulding Wins the Flannery O’Connor Award For Short Fiction

photo by Carol Spaulding

Carol Roh Spaulding has been named this year’s winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. Her collection Waiting for Mr. Kim and Other Stories will be published by the University of Georgia Press in fall 2023.

Established in 1983, the Flannery O’Connor Award seeks to encourage talented writers of short stories by presenting their work to a wider readership. Annual winners of the competition are offered publication of a book-length collection and a one-thousand-dollar prize. The Flannery O’Connor Award has helped launch the literary careers of previous winners such as Ha Jin,
Antonya Nelson, Rita Ciresi, and Mary Hood. For additional information about the award, visit the series page on the University of Georgia Press’s website.

Carol Roh Spaulding’s short stories and essays have appeared in Glimmer Train, Ploughshares, Nimrod International, Mississippi Review, December magazine and many other publications. Her forthcoming novel, Helen Button (Sowilo Press, 2023), received the 2021 Eludia Award from Hidden River Arts. She lives in Central Iowa with her family and teaches at Drake University in Des Moines.

Flannery O’Connor series editor Lori Ostlund said of the collection: “Waiting for Mr. Kim and Other Stories, Carol Roh-Spaulding’s uniquely linked collection of stories and one novella, follows three generations of the Song family, beginning with the family’s emigration from Korea to California shortly before the 1924 Immigration Act. Decade by decade, with shifting perspectives, Waiting for Mr. Kim lays out what it means to be a daughter and what it means to be a mother, what it means to be an immigrant, what it means to be an Asian American woman in this country. The reader first meets Grace—whose perspective threads through many of the stories—via her older sister, a ghost narrator who died tragically and whose death haunts these stories. In the novella that ends the collection, Grace is a grandmother caring for the son of her estranged daughter and is also an older woman embracing desire and love. Roh-Spaulding’s prose is gorgeous and lyrical, at other times quiet and restrained, always beautifully precise. Waiting for Mr. Kim is the collection that we have been waiting for, whether we knew it or not.”

The runners-up for this year include The Great Conjunction by Melissa Beneche, Marvelous Freaks of Nature by Alyson Mosquera Dutemple, In Illinois by Austin Smith, and Eleven Kinds of Exile by Adam Stumacher. The winning book from last year’s competition, Toni Ann Johnson’s Light Skin Gone to Waste, will be available in October 2022. 

Submissions for the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction are accepted April 1 through May 31 each year. For guidelines and more information about the award, please visit the series page for the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction.

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