Thursday, September 04, 2014

Announcing the Winners of the 2014 Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction

 Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction
Congratulations to Toni Graham and Siamak Vossoughi, this year's winners of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction! The competition continues to be a celebrated route to publication for literary short fiction collections. UGA Press is glad to have Graham and Vossoughi carry on this tradition.

Graham’s The Suicide Club and Vossoughi’s Better Than War will be published by the University of Georgia Press and will be available in fall 2015.

Toni Graham is a native of San Francisco. Her story collection Waiting for Elvis was winner of the John Gardner Book Award from Binghamton University. Her collection The Daiquiri Girls won the Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP). She is an associate professor of English/Creative Writing at Oklahoma State, where she serves as editor in chief and fiction editor for the Cimarron Review.

Flannery O’Connor series editor Nancy Zafris on Graham’s collection: “Already aliens in a strange faraway land called Oklahoma, the endearing characters in The Suicide Club are further alienated by the one event that unites their otherwise disparate group: the suicide of a loved one. In addition to marvelous language and descriptions, the author deftly employs humor not to deflect but to dig deeper into the undercurrents that our humankind try hardest to ignore even as these very undercurrents sharpen our sorrows and scrub us into the beings who stare back at us in the mirror. Often hilarious, the soaring funny asides accrue into piercing insights that begin to sear the soul. As we turn the last page, we are left better for having journeyed through a work that seeks higher ground and profundity, that seeks to unite heart and cerebrum and make sense of it all.”

Siamak Vossoughi was born in Tehran and grew up in London, Orange County, and Seattle. He graduated from the University of Washington and has lived in San Francisco since then. Along with writing, he works as a tutor and substitute teacher. Some of his writing has appeared in Faultline, Fourteen Hills, Prick of the Spindle, The Rumpus, and Washington Square. He is also the recipient of the 2013 Very Short Fiction Award from Glimmer Train. He is currently writing a novel. He is tremendously honored to have received the Flannery O'Connor Award.

Nancy Zafris on Vossoughi’s collection: “The short shorts that comprise Better Than War examine the fitful ways of assimilation and the particular loneliness of alienation, especially as they apply to Iranian immigrants. Although told from the point of view of several characters, the first-person tales dominate. What emerges is a bildungsroman mosaic constructed in pieces of language that are less idiomatic than philosophical. The puzzle-piece ruminations evoke reminders of Calvino and Kundera, American Iranian style. This is a young writer venturing into territory that will define his aesthetic style and ambitions.”

The finalists in this year’s competition are Kathy Anderson of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Oscar Cuevas of Brooklyn, New York; Emily Doak of Greencastle, Indiana; Louise Jarvis Flynn of Durham, North Carolina; Dana Fitz Gale of Missoula, Montana; Debbie Graber of Studio City, California; Becky Hagenston of Starkville, Mississippi; Liz Windhorst Harmer of Riverside, California; Christopher McCann of Bainbridge Island, Washington; and Jennifer Anne Moses of Montclair, New Jersey.

Congratulations to all participants and thank you for creating compelling short fiction. The award-winning books selected in last year's competition, Faulty Predictions by Karin Lin-Greenberg and Bright Shards of Someplace Else by Monica McFawn, will be published on September 15, 2014.