Lexington, Virginia • April 28, 2011
Marsha McSpadden, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., is the winner of the first annual Bevel Summers Prize for the Short Short Story awarded by Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review. The prize of $250 is given to a piece of original fiction of 1,000 words or fewer.
"Over 200 stories from 32 states and four foreign countries were submitted for this inaugural prize," said Shenandoah editor R. T. Smith, "and McSpadden's story, ‘Facsimile in Boots,' was chosen as the best of 10 finalists."
It will be published in the first on-line issue of Shenandoah, due to appear this September with the remaining finalists' stories published in the second on-line edition in February 2012.
Praising McSpadden's story, Smith said, "It's a chillingly quiet meditation by one woman seeing her former seducer slyly display his next victim. The whole brief piece is permeated with the menace of this sentence, ‘I know the heat of his breath, how the words warm with innovation.'"
McSpadden holds an M.F.A. in fiction from the University of Memphis. Her work has previously appeared in "The Missouri Review," "Jelly Bucket," "subTerrain" and "Quiddity." She teaches English composition and creative writing at the University of Alabama.
The other finalists were Amina Gautier, Sharon Hashimoto, Vera Korshunova, Jackson Lassiter, Laura Long, Kelly Luce, John Ruemmler, Leslie Tucker and Paul Weidknecht.
Shenandoah will award the Bevel Summers Prize again in 2012. Manuscripts will be considered from January 11 until the end of February. The entry fee for the contest is $2 per story, which should be sent with submissions to Shenandoah. Writers can submit up to three stories in one year. Entries should be accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope and sent c/o Bevel Summers/Shenandoah at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA 24450. The judge for next year will be Chris Gavaler, author of "School for Tricksters." Family, colleagues and friends of Gavaler will not be eligible for the 2012 prize.