E.M. Koeppel Short Fiction Award Sponsored by Writecorner Press
Deadline: April 30, 2014
Annual Awards for Unpublished Fiction in Any Style, Any Theme
First Place: $1,100
Editors' Choices: $100 each
10 stories will be named Stories of Distinction
- Maximum Length: 3,000 words. Stories must be unpublished
- Annual Submission Period: Between October 1 and April 30
- Award-winning fiction writers are the judges
- No limit on number of stories entered by any one writer. Simultaneous submissions OK as long as you notify us as soon as your work is accepted elsewhere
- The winning short story and editors' choices are eligible to be published on www.writecorner.com and for inclusion in the permanent website writecorner.com anthology. Authors retain all rights to their works. Winners are usually announced by early summer.
We are proud to present our 2012 winning story, "First Full Night of Winter" by David Brendan Hopes:
Frost had blasted the big leaves. Most of the flowers had already folded up into their roots. Streamers of their rotting leaves arrayed themselves around their stems in black, broken spirals. The ferns were indecisive. The sensitive ferns, true to their name, had vanished before the frost, when the air had merely taken the color of frost. One maidenhair still stood, curved like a splash from a stone thrown into a green pond. The other maidenhairs were black threads, or gone altogether. The Christmas ferns were either evergreen or waiting until they could slip away undetected, with dignity intact.
The woman stood at the edge of the shade garden looking at the ferns. She did this a long time. The man, her husband, had arrayed stumps around the garden so you could sit and look a long time and not see everything. Tentative, tossing snowflakes ventured and retreated between the branches of the sweet gum. The sweet gum tree was immense. The woman forgot sometimes how huge it was. Its top sang in the wind with a sound which, if you did not trace its source with your eyes, you might think originated in another world. But you couldn't look up long into the sweet gum while snow was falling, for the vertigo would make you think you were falling up into the dome of the world, and nothing would stop you.
She noticed herself noticing everything in the moments before the real storm hit, not just the big things like the sweet gum and the snow-carrying wind, but the various colors of the leaves caught in the dead grass, how some of them were whole and others were skeletons or thin filigrees. Where did the insects go? Did they die? Did they bury themselves like the sensitive ferns to rise again when the snow turned to rain? Only a few days ago there was a mantis as long as her hand on the wall of the garage. Was it dead now? Sleeping? Could you grow to that tigerish size and just be swept away by the first freeze? All the details were useless unless she understood them, and how could she understand them unless she asked, and who was there now to ask?
Her husband had known these things. He probably still did, but she no longer knew how to ask.