On Friday I packed up the finalists from the KR Short Fiction Contest and shipped them off to Ron Carlson, this year’s judge. What an amazing set. I’d had the pleasure, along with Sergei Lobanov-Rostovsky, of reading the semi-finalists chosen from many hundred of entries by our editors and Associates.
Sergei and I only compared notes once we’d read them all, and it was striking, reassuring, to discover how much overlap there was in our favorites.
I’m not going to claim that all the stories were of equal merit–there was quite a range, in skill and in subject. One memorable piece packed an entire love story into the blasted instant of a plane crash. In another, a character leads a newly blind friend–an artist–through a gallery exhibit that includes some of her own work. And there’s an uncle, his arm extended above his head, dripping blood, having sliced off two fingers. His hilarious family crawls in the grass looking for the missing digits.
The short fiction contest is intended to encourage younger or emerging authors. Truth is, I’m encouraged too. How great it is to discover so many talented writers, exhibiting such creative energy and skill and daring. It makes what we do at KR a joy.