Saturday, March 16, 2013

30 Days of the Flannery O'Connor Award: Day 12

Amanda Hauther on the Flannery O'Connor Award Internship

I began interning at the University of Georgia Press in the spring of 2012, working specifically on the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. I am excited to be able to continue to work on the contest throughout this spring as well. The contest brings in new and exciting works of short fiction, an area in which the Press rarely publishes. Having a contest for creative writers creates an exciting atmosphere, as the stories are often so different from the other series we produce.

The short fiction contest allows me to read material wholly different from what the Press usually publishes. Spring is the best season for this contest, in my opinion, with its general air of excitement. There’s a definite breath of creativity that these stories carry. The contest compiles authors from all over with different perspectives and thoughts. Their stories had me staying late at the office to read the end of a chapter. It‘s inspiring to read through these stories by hopeful writers from all over the United States.

Since I began last spring, I’ve seen Tom Kealey’s collection Thieves I've Known, and Jacquelin Gorman’s collection The Viewing Room, go from two of 425+ submissions to production, and am very much looking forward to seeing them as finished books. I remember seeing the collections as they came in through the submission manager, and recognized these collections when the winners were announced. Gorman’s was one of the collections that really hooked my attention when I first read through it. The Viewing Room has such strong characters and the style of switching from the inside of the viewing room to everyday interactions makes this collection unique and intriguing. Upon the announcement, I went back and read over both of these collections and I distinctly remembered Kealey’s strong imagery from the first few chapters I had read over when he first submitted it. Kealey’s writing style is dynamic and the first few lines drew me in.

These two collections are the first that I worked on at the Press. Seeing them go through the entire publication process—from submission, to winning, to copyediting, design, and publication—was exciting for me to be a part of.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working on the contest. I have seen writing styles that are unique in their own specific ways. Since the contest is blind, part of my job is to scan the manuscripts as they come in for anything that would make the author known to a judge. Because I do this, I have the privilege of being able to read over the collections. That’s the best part. The creativity often amazes me. These manuscripts are overflowing with great ideas that are different from anything I have read before. Some of the authors have recognizable names from being published in journals or magazines. Most are not though, and the Press’s contest gives these authors a chance to have their work made available to a wide readership. It’s an exciting contest with which to be involved— I can’t wait to see what stories the writers bring to the table this year!

Amanda Hauther is currently an acquisitions intern at the University of Georgia Press and a senior at the University of Georgia. She will graduate in May 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in English.