Update from the Editors
Three Cheers for Writing That's Revelatory!
We're pleased to announce the winners of the 2012 Talking Writing Prizes for Short Fiction and Nature Writing. David Meischen of Austin, Texas, won the fiction prize for his short story "Agua Dulce." John Gredler of Tuckahoe, New York, won the nature writing prize for his creative nonfiction piece "Glistening Scar."
TW contests celebrate the diversity online of original, personally driven writing. One of our goals is to identify new talent, and, in differing ways, both prizewinners fit the bill.
Short Fiction Prize winner David Meischen has spent the past 38 years teaching high school English, writing and publishing poetry, and founding and managing (with his partner Scott Wiggerman) Dos Gatos Press, a nonprofit devoted to poetry.
In 2009, David completed an MFA in fiction writing and began sending out short stories. Soon after, Talking Writing was pleased to accept his story, Yellow Jackets.
When the names of the 2012 contest winners were revealed (all identifying information was withheld by our submissions manager throughout the judging process), we were equally delighted to see that David had written the winning story. After being notified that he'd won, David wrote TW:
WOW! This is such exciting news. Talking Writing accepted my first published short story! And now this! I love what you folks are doing to raise the quality of web publishing—both the content and the dialogue TW promotes."
David, we're very happy to have you be part of it.
Nature Writing Prize winner John Gredler has been writing in notebooks and journals for most of his adult life. But only recently, with the encouragement of his wife Ann, did he feel ready to share his work in a more public way. "Glistening Scar" is his first published essay. John says:
After I heard from TW that I won, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop—whatever that actually means.... I was sure a mistake had been made. All that aside, I am truly grateful."
John, we're honored to showcase your work.
Many thanks to our judges, Steve Lewis and David Cameron, for long hours spent reviewing the submissions. Each felt the entries—and ultimate winners—provided insights into what Talking Writing seeks in fiction and creative nonfiction.
In particular, TW editors are drawn to specific, sharp descriptions of the ordinary world—the kind of writing that turns quotidian moments revelatory. "In the most effective creative nonfiction, the story is not the story; it is simply a vehicle to reveal the subtextual story, the real story," says Steve Lewis, the nature writing judge.
He adds: "The author of 'Glistening Scar' shows remarkable restraint in bringing us along on a simple walk by a river and, through unfettered observation and textured engagement, reveals the enduring poetry of the natural world."
David Cameron, our fiction judge, wants "stories that pull up in front of my house, con me into a ride, take detours I didn't see coming, and then gracefully kick me out at a destination I never expected, but which couldn't be anyplace else."
Of the winning short story "Agua Dulce," written from the viewpoint of a teenage girl in a small Texas town in the 1950s, David says that it "succeeded in dropping us into a subtly nuanced time and place, enabling us to see life from an unusual vantage point."
Both TW prizewinners received publication in Talking Writing. Look for the two winning pieces in our January/February 2013 issue. They also received free admission to the 2013 AWP Conference next March in Boston, our hometown, and both authors say they'll be there. If you're also planning to attend AWP, you might just meet them!
Thanks again to all contest entrants for supporting TW through your submissions. We'll announce the 2013 Talking Writing Prize categories late next spring—so be ready to inspire us then with the story that only you can write.
—Elizabeth Langosy and Martha Nichols
The illustrations on this page are from the series "France in the Year 2000" by Jean-Marc Côté and other artists, circa 1900. The images are in the public domain and appear here via the Public Domain Review.