The Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest Winners

May 7, 2013 — Heather Monley Wins 2013 KR Short Fiction Contest

We are pleased and excited to announce the winners of the sixth annual Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest.

Judge Katharine Weber writes:

This year’s Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest winners are an impressive trio. The irresistible qualities of these confident and successful narratives made them prominent in a strong field of contenders.

The winner of this year’s Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest, “Town of Birds” by Heather Monley, is an astonishing swoop of language and image. Reading the first words— “In the town where the children turned into birds”—I was chilled and delighted. Where can we go from here? Deep into an incredible story of a town’s uncanny transformation, told by the child who has been left behind, a wistful narrator whose disturbing, elegiac account is an utterly extraordinary work of art. Most successful short fiction has something pleasingly familiar yet inventive that draws us in. “Town of Birds” is a quietly spectacular flight of imagination.

Runner-up story “Hurricane” by Wes Holtermann is a potent road trip tale of subtle transformation, set in an alienated and rain-drenched landscape during a time of bizarre plagues. Runner-up story “Sculptures” by Clarke Clayton is a graceful story that begins with a vivid description of young women being seen yet not seen by a sculptor, and it concludes years later when those women return themselves with a surprising inevitability to that clay.

All three authors were published in the Winter 2014 issue of The Kenyon Review and appeared concurrently on KROnline in December 2013.


May 8, 2012 — Cassie Gonzales Wins 2012 KR Short Fiction Contest

We are pleased and excited to announce the winners of the fifth annual Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest.

In her comments on Gonzales’s story, Nancy Zafris wrote: “The foreignness of a foreign locale illumines the existential dislocation an old man experiences in this quiet, bravura story. Into just-enough plot are fed a succession of life’s accumulating small sadnesses, the kind of sorrow that can’t be quickly telegraphed—and yet the author does just that. Characters are well-drawn in a single, masterful stroke. The story is evocative, fully amplified, and wise.”

All three authors were published in the Winter 2013 issue of The Kenyon Review and appeared concurrently on KROnline in December 2012.


May 9, 2011 — Fan Li Wins 2011 KR Short Fiction Contest

We are pleased and excited to announce the winners of the fourth annual Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest, for writers under the age of thirty.

In his comments on Li’s story, Ron Carlson wrote: “This story dances along its deft surface, a mother keeping track of her son’s travels with a lovely curiosity, which slowly gathers into the long submerged concern about their history. This story has heart and it reveals a talented writer with and understanding of language and pace and family and how to do a great deal in a small space.”

All three authors were published in the Winter 2012 issue of The Kenyon Review and appeared concurrently on KROnline in December 2011.


May 17, 2010 — Megan Anderegg Malone Wins 2010 KR Short Fiction Contest

We are pleased and excited to announce the winners of the third annual Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest, for writers under the age of thirty.

In her comments on Malone’s story, judge Louise Erdrich wrote: “The winner of this year’s Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest is “Death Threat,” a small piece of wisdom and terror. I usually dislike stories that begin with guns, but was won over by the veracity of the voice and by the extraordinary realization of the ending. The narrator’s father operates in the legal system and must inure himself to discouraging human dysfunction. But he allows himself deep sentiment over the death of a badly behaved old cat. In one final uncanny moment the young woman in “Death Threat” understands that her father is a person mourning, and afraid, in a world filled with power and pain.”

All three authors were published in the Winter 2011 issue of The Kenyon Review and appeared concurrently on KROnline in December 2010.


April 15, 2009 — Alexandra Zobel Wins 2009 KR Short Fiction Contest

We are pleased and excited to announce the winners of the second annual Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest, for writers under the age of thirty.

Richard Ford, acclaimed author of the Frank Bascombe trilogy, including the novels The Sportswriter, Independence Day, and The Lay of the Land was the final judge. In his comments on Zobel’s story, Ford wrote: “Stylish, formally inventive, utterly confident in its grasp on narrative time and historical moment, this story is like a coolly consummate jazz riff on the august subject of failed possibilities redeemed by art.”

Zobel’s story was published in the Fall 2009 issue of The Kenyon Review. Lacher and Taylor saw their pieces published concurrently on KROnline in October 2009. Congratulations to all!


April 28, 2008 — Cara Blue Adams Wins 2008 KR Short Fiction Contest

We are pleased and excited to announce the winners of the first annual Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest, for writers under the age of thirty.

Commenting on Adams’ story, final judge Alice Hoffman wrote: “Here is a story that is both surprising and beautiful. If a singular and original voice is the mark of a natural writer, then here it is. This dark fable is wound up with gorgeous playful language: every word matters, every image counts.”

All three authors were published in the Winter 2009 issue of The Kenyon Review.

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