January 01, 1980 News & Features » Cover Story

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Great Fiction Among Us 

Winners of our annual short-story contest.

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A Voluminous Task

Richmond writers must be breeding. Each year the number of submissions to our annual Fiction Contest has increased, making the jobs of the judges more difficult, more interesting, and if possible, more bizarre.

The 230 stories submitted for our contest's fourth year seemingly touched on all of the major themes affecting humanity: the hazards of the bikini wax, mustachioed babies, decapitation, and how opening a jar of salsa can lead to complete psychosis. The future. The past. A fantasyland. A little birth, death, sex, religion and politics were thrown in as well. More than once we wished we could honor stories solely for their sheer chutzpah.

It was thrilling to see Richmond's creativity at work. Narrowing down our list to the final three was a subjective task completed by 16 diverse and opinionated people. Ultimately, however, we chose the stories that moved us. One that made us laugh until we snorted. One that took us inside a compellingly unusual mind. One that disturbed us so much we felt like throwing it across the room.

All three winners demonstrated the craft of good writing. They had characters we wanted to meet or felt we already knew. They offered stories we wanted to tell our friends about, or couldn't shake after more than one good night's sleep. They were memorable, crafty, creative and thought-provoking.

They kept us turning the page. Now it's your turn. — Valley Haggard

  • First Place: Miss Morris
  • Second Place: The Last Reader
  • Third Place: Luzerne


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