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:
It Was the Last Time It Snowed, Bridget O’Donnell-Muller
We found this standout story incredibly powerful in terms of content, structure, and execution. Its prose is marvelously well knit in every moment, and its compassion is remarkable, especially in light of the intense human tragedy at the story’s heart.
Bridget received her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Virginia and her M.F.A. in Fiction at the Bennington Writing Seminars. She is an Assistant Editor for Narrative magazine, and has been a Fellow and/or Artist in Residence at The Grunewald Guild, the Vermont Studio Center, the Noepe Center for Literary Arts, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
The Cattle, G.M. Baker
This story grabbed us by the lapels with its gritty realism about the struggles of prehistoric humanity and kept us listening throughout, not only by its unrelenting drama, but thanks to its proto-Psalmist character, Snake–a paleolithic Qoheleth, who movingly voices human suffering and the human spirit without ever risking an excess of sentiment.
G.M. Baker is a writer living in Ottawa. His stories have been published in The Atlantic Advocate, Our Family, Fantasy Book, New England’s Coastal Journal, Storyteller, The Rockford Review, and Solander, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society.
The Light, James Winter
Blind But Now I See, A. Kingston
The Drought, 1983, Christi Nogle
The Seconds After Living Wounds, Samuel Cole
The stories will be published in Dappled Things over the course of this year. Congratulations to all awardees and thanks to all who submitted their stories for consideration. Submissions for the 2019 prize will open in August.