2016 Arts & Letters Prize

I’m really pleased that Judge Kate Christensen selected my story, “The Deer,” as this year’s Winner of the $1,000 Arts & Letters Prize for Fiction. “The Deer” will appear in the Fall 2016 issue.

Here are Christensen’s incredibly kind comments on my story:

“The Deer”… is breathtaking and original and gorgeous. Striking, unerring, weird. I was so glad the writer didn’t tip his or her hand, ever: the reality of the story is unbroken. I read it holding my breath.

Another thing. “The Deer” is a riveting fable in its own right, but it also leaves me with a larger sense of a profound human struggle, something universal and shared having to do with our lost connection to our animal natures, our need to dominate and domesticate, because we can’t go back, we can’t regain what we gave up to be human. The narrator is implicated in both sides of the struggle and is therefore tragic in an elemental way I recognize from mythology. Trying to analyze it makes me want to go back to the story. That to me is the sign of a story that’s working on many levels.

Congratulations to the other winners and finalists!

This spring, I was also a finalist for the 2016 Yemassee Writing Prize, judged by Claire Vaye Watkins, and for the 2016 Nelson Algren Literary Award.