Posts Tagged ‘short story month’

May Is Short Story Month

It’s the marvelous month of May. Along with the return of the sun and beautiful blooming things, May is Short Story Month. Every year, we dedicate our May content to a celebration of the short story form. This year, you can look forward to: our Winter Short Story Award winners, an interview with Rita Bullwinkel, whose debut short story collection is out this month, a contribution from Ruth Joffre whose first collection also launches this May, and an essay on the ever-advancing relationship between literature and technology. If you’re still hungry for awesome content that celebrates the short story, there is no shortage of fiction, essays, and interviews in our archives. Check out this interview with Aimee Bender and this essay on character folding by Rebecca Makkai (our Volume VII judge!) to get you started.

Short Story Month Highlights

May is Short Story Month, and for the fourth year running we are proud to bring you original content to honor a form that is near and dear to our hearts. Before we get to the wonderful fiction and criticism we have lined up for you this month, we would like to take a look at some highlights from years past. So take a few minutes (or longer) and appreciate (some of) the awesome and varied forms a short story can take.


Interview with Aimee Bender 

For our first-ever Short Story Month, we were absolutely thrilled to chat with Aimee Bender, whose magical realist stories we adore. Aimee spoke with us about the role of magic in her fiction, her own influences, and the recent wave of women writers coming out with magical realist tales.

“I think the emotional life is the core and seed of the story—that’s where the story lives and breathes. So the magic is a way to access that, and I will happily use whatever way I can to get to the emotional stuff.”

Flash Fiction: A Discussion Between Editors 

Flash fiction is one of our favorite forms, so it was a pleasure for the editors to chat about some exceptional flash stories, the freedom of flash, and the power of these short tales. Maybe this discussion will give you some inspiration for our Flash Fiction Contest, which is open now!

“It seems contradictory, doesn’t it, that by confining a story to a small space you increase the number of forms in which that story might be told? I think and agree, therein lies the magic behind flash fiction.”

 Fiction: The Boy and The Bear by Blake Kimzey 

We were thrilled to publish Blake Kimzey’s intricate, fable-like piece of flash “The Boy and The Bear,” which was later published in his chapbook out with Black Lawrence Press and selected for Best Small Fictions.

“The boy was cold, his nose frozen with ice that cleaved as he drew in full, waking breaths. His lungs burned with the deepness of his breathing. The boy couldn’t remember how long he had been asleep, hibernating.”


Interview with Daniel Orozco 

Our own Cole Meyer interviewed acclaimed short story writer Daniel Orozco about portraying the workplace in fiction and Orozco’s famous story “Orientation.” No matter what your office looks like, you will enjoy this interview.

“I’ve come to believe that there’s no greater arena for high drama than the workplace, whether your job is a grocery bagger or an administrative assistant or a test pilot.”

Animals in Fiction: A Discussion Between Editors 

A few years ago, we decided to devote a whole week of May to examining the different roles that animals play—as symbols, as narrative forces, or foils—in some of our favorite stories. We did not regret it.

“Animals can add a level of tension or mystery to a story, they can drive the plot, or they can simply add texture. Though they can (often) be cute, animals are powerful presences in a story, and it’s interesting to consider the many different ways that they add to tales by contemporary writers.”

Fiction: House Hunt by Jessica Lee Richardson

As a continuation of our study of animals in fiction, we were pleased to publish Jessica Lee Richardson’s charming story “House Hunt,” about a woman who is searching for a new home with her best friend, who just so happens to be a lion.

“I could see that Miles was crouched. The agent had turned his back to the lion. I could think of no stupider position in the history of the world.”


Short Story Month 2016: RECAP

May is one of our favorite months each year because we dedicate all of our content to a celebration of the short story form. This year was no exception. In case you missed any of the literary goodies, here is a quick and easy guide to last month’s content, complete with links. Dive in.

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Appropriately enough, our Short Story Award for New Writerswhich includes publication, over $2000 in prizes and review by multiple agencies—also opened this month. Here’s to a great May, and to continuing to celebrate the short story form all year long.

Five Apocalyptic Stories

“It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.” — REM

“It’s always the end of the world.” — Jess Walter

aridShort Story Month continues! As part of our showcase, we’re looking at the end of the world and the many ways it is depicted in fiction. We solicited stories from some of science fiction and fantasy’s best writers and opened a call for submissions to our readership in order to publish a group of stories about the apocalypse based on the above two quotes. The following stories from writers Nancy Kress, Emily Devenport, Allison Augustyn, Joan Childs, and Shane R. Collins interpret the end of the world in 25 – 250 words. “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.” Enjoy!

“It’s Always The End of The World”

 by Nancy Kress

A huge, parched, windswept plain. Nothing moved except dust, blowing ceaselessly. Nothing lived except Potter, trudging toward a rickety structure that had once been a barn, on what had once been a farm, in what had once been the fertile Midwest. He fell—

“John, John, wake up! You’re having a nightmare!”

Linda’s arm shaking him, her face looming over his, the huge curve of her belly bumping gently against his chest.

“I…yes…it…” He wrapped his arms around her.

“A nightmare? About your mother?”

“No.” In a little while, he slept again.

The asteroid came closer, closer, until it smashed into Asia, the shock felt in quakes even as far away as Iowa. In the time illogic of dreams, immediately came the tsunamis, the dust dark as night, the storms and die-offs of species after species, the terrible—

This time he woke himself, shaking and sweating. Linda slept on. John rose, made himself warm milk, went back to bed.

The weapons arced out of the sky, bringing searing light, deadly mushroom clouds, flames and horror. John’s eyeballs seared. His skin sloughed off—

Morning. Linda came out of the bathroom, her cell in her hand. “Sweetie, that was your sister. Your mother’s gone, I’m so sorry…”

John reached for his wife, buried his face in the bulge of her warmth.

“Nothing will be the same without her,” Linda said. “It’s like…the end of the world.”

John said, before he knew he would speak, “It’s always the end of the world.”

The child kicked from inside its secret, temporary sea.

And the beginning.

Nancy Kress is the author of thirty-two books, including twenty-five novels, four collections of short stories, and three books on writing. Her work has won five Nebulas, two Hugos, a Sturgeon, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Most recent works are the Nebula-nominated Yesterday’s Kin (Tachyon, 2014) and the forthcoming Best of Nancy Kress (Subterranean, September, 2015). In addition to writing, Kress often teaches at various venues around the country and abroad; in 2008 she was the Picador visiting lecturer at the University of Leipzig. Kress lives in Seattle with her husband, writer Jack Skillingstead, and Cosette, the world’s most spoiled toy poodle.

“Apocalyptic Spring”

by Shane R. Collins

Kayla spotted the pansy three blocks away, the purple petals a stark contrast to the grays of concrete rubble, rebar, and broken glass. The flower grew tentatively from a crack in the asphalt, hunched beneath a crumpled beer can like a small mammal emerging from its hole on the first warm day of spring.

Reaching down to pluck the flower, Kayla imagined putting it in her greasy hair, or maybe holding it as she walked, bringing it to her lips to inhale every time she saw another body. Her fingers brushed across the petals but she couldn’t do it, couldn’t kill this green, living plant, the first beautiful thing she’d seen in months. Gently, Kayla lifted the beer can from the pansy and walked away, smiling.

Shane R. Collins recently graduated from the Stonecoast MFA program. His work has been published in The Masters Review Volume III, 2 Bridges Review, and The Sand Canyon Review. Another one of his stories was a finalist for Best New Writing 2015. He’s currently seeking representation for a novel. Collins lives and writes from a homestead in rural Vermont.


Short Story Month Showcase

short story monthMay is Short Story Month and we have a lot planned. Take a look at our Short Story Month Showcase and enjoy five pieces of original fiction, critical essays, and interviews with some of our favorite authors. Every week in May we are publishing a new story, interview, and essay. Catch up with us as we tackle one of our favorite forms: the short story!

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