The results are in! After hundreds of entries, dozens of worthy semi- and semi-semi-finalists (and many more with moments of brilliance), and five finalists, Red Room is exceedingly proud to announce the final results of its Scandalously Short Story Contest!
Before we get to the winners, we want to reiterate that the judging process involved many people and not everyone saw all the entries. Editors divided up the entries to make sure each one got the attention it deserved, we each made lists of favorites, and advocated for our favorites. We honed the list down to ten semi-finalists, and our Editor-in-Chief, Red Room CEO Ivory Madison, picked five finalists out of the semi-finalists. From these five, Pulitzer-prize short-story writer and novelist Robert Olen Butler made the decision of who was awarded first, second, and third place, and which finalist received honorable mention.
Author Sylvia Petter writes of a man who is approached in a café by a mysterious woman in a burka who wants his used tea bag, in "The Burka."
Member Kelly Luce writes symbolic stories about lonely women and their things; this time, a haunting and almost surreal story of a Japanese woman in mourning who takes refuge in the home of a widow-where she has a dream as lonely and grasping as her life, in "Reunion."
Author Vincent Louis Carrella writes the haunting story of the life of an alcoholic ventriloquist and the puppets he loved and lived his life with, in "Magnifico." Carrella's debut, Serpent Box: A Novel, was published by Harper/Perennial in 2008.
Author Ibi Kaslik masters the realistic, rendering a portrait of a poor American girl neglected by her mother, struggling to make sense of her family and find her place among life's little kindnesses and cruelties in "Car Nights." Kaslik's second novel, The Angel Riots (2009, Penguin Canada), was nominated for the prestigious Ontario Trillium Award.
And the First Place winner in Red Room's Scandalously Short Story Awards is...
Member Sandra A Jensen, who writes of a woman who is waiting for the man she loves, presumably married, to call over the holidays in "Christmas 1987." While this is her first blog post on Red Room, Sandra's writing has been widely published in a number of literary journals and magazines. Her member bio lists the many awards for which she has been a finalist or received honorable mention. In addition to the books listed below, she will also receive a trophy—yes, a real, shiny trophy, suitable for any mantelpiece. Sincere congratulations to Sandra!
Sandra's win—and the list of finalists in general—underscores a very important aspect of Red Room. Much of the best writing to be found here is posted by writers at every career level, from authors with many famous books to their name (or with just one or two books that aren't famous yet), to writers who have been published in journals and magazines, to aspirers who are just getting started with their writing dreams. The Red Room community supports every one of those dreams, and we're so pleased that through contests like this and our weekly blog topics, we can provide a forum for them to get the attention they need and deserve.
The three winners will receive three books by Red Room authors:
Margo Berdeshevsky's Beautiful Soon Enough (2009, University of Alabama Press) is a collection that captures the lives of twenty-three arresting women. Robert Olen Butler called it a "thrillingly cutting-edge work of photos and short short stories flowing together."
Tania Hershman founded The Short Review, a short-story collection review website. Her debut collection, The White Road and Other Stories, was published in 2008 by Salt Publishing.
N.M. Kelby writes both nonfiction writers guides and fiction; her most recent book, 2009's ATravel Guide for Restless Hearts, collects stories "for those of us who suddenly find ourselves tourists in our own lives."
If you'd like to congratulate the winners, please do so here or in the comment section on their stories. If there was a story you would have selected as a winner, please go to that story and leave a comment for the author letting them know they were your favorite. One last, huge THANK YOU to every writer who entered the Scandalously Short Story Contest!
–Huntington W. Sharp, Senior Editor, Red Room