This week Ellipsis Zine announced that my flash piece “Spring Cleaning” was one of their five nominees for the Pushcart Prize. Only later – after scouting around online – did I realise that it’s quite an honour to be nominated for this prestigious award. That said, I’d like to tell you a little more about the Pushcart Prize. Alternatively, if you’re not in the mood for a name-dropping-blah-blah fest, you can scroll down to the end of this post for lovely excerpts from the nominated stories, plus links to the stories that can be read online.
Let me start with a quote from the Pushcart site, giving you some insight into the origins of the prize and the annual anthology, which features stories and poems from selected writers.
“Since 1976, hundreds of presses and thousands of writers of short stories, poetry and essays have been represented in our annual collections. Each year most of the writers and many of the presses are new to the series. Every volume contains an index of past selections, plus lists of outstanding presses with addresses.”
Among the founding editors of the Pushcart prize were Paul Bowles, Ralph Ellison, Joyce Carol Oates and Reynolds Price, and the current advisory council reads like a who’s-who of international literature. (Click on the links above for further info.)
Ellipsis Zine was launched by writer/designer Steve Campbell as an online magazine for flash fiction. However, he recently decided to publish a print collection titled ONE. An intriguing aspect of this print/digital magazine is the Ellipsis has decided to share 25% of the profits with contributing writers, which is rather unique in the flash-fiction scene, where writers have grown accustomed to paying a fee when submitting their work. That said, I urge you to buy a digital or print copy of ONE, which features 52 superb pieces of flash fiction.
Without too much further ado, here are excerpts from the stories nominated by Ellipsis Zine, with links to those stories that can be read online.
Christina Dalcher | There Is a Difference Between the Pas de Deux and the Solo
“When we begin the study of ballet, we begin with ourselves. Only later, when our bones are strong and our balance perfected, do the men come, taking us into positions we could never achieve on our own. They bend and carry us, push us into infinite turns, and we unlearn what we knew.”
Hannah Gordon | A Woman’s Body is a Mystery, Except for Mine
“Our next-door neighbor was a single parent, too, though not by choice. She had two sons, and they both stared at me over their bowls of Fruity Pebbles while their mom searched her cabinets for stray pads or tampons.”
Stephanie Hutton | Expedition
“The vanilla weakness of them, giving up so soon. Those spoilt boy-babies. Twenty-six years of mockery fuelled my legs. I’d chanted onwards through my teeth like a hundred thousand Hail Marys. The silence of snow absorbed my words.”
Kathryn McMahon | Flare
“On a dark November morning, the senior sun gods discover Ann-Margaret. They linger at her locker with glowing lips and voices like arrogant roosters. Apollo hooks the edge of her hood and yanks it from her face. She slaps his hand, but too late, everyone has seen her chin lit up like a buttercup.”
Federica Silvi | Thinking of the One Who Got Away | published in ONE
“The words in there can dry tears, but might open floodgates; they can mend a heart or puncture it, let it burst and bleed.”
Richard de Nooy | Spring Cleaning
“I work my way up her thighs. Left and right. Front and back. Lifting her legs at the knee. Taking my time. Summoning courage.”