Readers’ Favorites in 2020

January 23, 2021

A few of our readers look back on their favorites from our 2020 New Voices catalog! Make sure to check these out if you haven’t, or revisit them for some weekend reading.

One of my favorite TMR stories of 2020 is “Crocodile” by Ashleigh Bell Pedersen. This Flash Fiction Contest Winner centers on an uneventful summer day that gradually becomes eventful, though in the vein of much flash fiction, readers can only surmise what happens next. The story is authentically rural, rich in voice and place—a bildungsroman in fewer than a thousand words.

Courtney Harler


Ghost Story” by Becca Anderson: Sometimes coming-of-age stories feel too tried-and-true. But this one surprised me. Also, I think humor is hard to do and the author manages to have an emotionally hefty story with undercurrents of levity, all with a pretty light touch.

Jennifer Dupree


My favorite New Voices story we published was for sure Raeden Richardson’s “Joe Blake.” I remember not getting it at all when it first came through the submission pile, but then it was sort of a wake up call to be a better reader and remember how strange great writing can seem at first. Once I blinked twice and shifted gears I became enamored with this story. I also got to edit it and spend some quality time with it—I think one of the marks of a rich story is a rewarding editing process.

Melissa Hinshaw


I hope it goes without saying that I love every single piece we published in 2020. I’ve learned so much about writing from their authors, and I’m constantly reminded of the power in storytelling when I read submissions in our queue. I talk about them constantly: in my classes, with my friends, with the other editors. (And really, you should take a week or a month to sit down and read our full 2020 calendar, when you can.) But today I’m going to bring you back to “And Then?” by Sara Brody, a phenomenal, deeply moving story about a woman whose father was working in the World Trade Center on 9/11.

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At The Masters Review, our mission is to support emerging writers. We only accept submissions from writers who can benefit from a larger platform: typically, writers without published novels or story collections or with low circulation. We publish fiction and nonfiction online year round and put out an annual anthology of the ten best emerging writers in the country, judged by an expert in the field. We publish craft essays, interviews and book reviews and hold workshops that connect emerging and established writers.



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