The editors of Dappled Things are delighted to announce this year’s winners of the J.F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction. Named after one of the greatest writers of the 20th century Catholic literary renaissance–often called a writer’s writer–the contest aims to honor his legacy by awarding stories that, like the priests he wrote about in his fiction, have “one foot in this world and one in the next.” The contest awards prizes of $500 to the winner, $250 to its runner up, and publication for any additional honorable mentions at the discretion of the editors. The following are our selections for this year:
Winner: “Obedience Lessons” by Abigail Rine Favale
Runner-up: “Seventy Times Seven Times” by Christopher Scalia
Honorable Mention: “Into the Field” by Cathy Mellett
“Obedience Lessons,” our pick as winner of the 2017 J.F. Powers Prize, is a deft and seamless portrait of a man caught unawares by the consequences of half-forgotten transgressions, and who must choose whether to let this revelation upset his comfortable, quiet life. We were drawn in from the first page, but it was the story’s exquisite ending that sent this piece straight to the top of our list.
Abigail Rine Favale is a professor in the William Penn Honors Program, a Great Books program at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. Her short fiction has appeared in the Potomac Review and Talking River Review, and she’s also written non-fiction essays in print and online for publications such as The Atlantic and First Things. She is currently writing a book about her conversion to Catholicism, which will be published in 2018 with Cascade Books. Abigail is wife to Michael, and mother to two (soon to be three!) small children.
The stories will be published over the course of the year starting with the winner in our Easter 2017 edition. Congratulations to all awardees and thanks to all who submitted their stories for consideration. Submissions for the 2018 prize will open in August.