Anthology II Contest Winners

  1. Caterpillar Killer by Shastri Akella
  2. Dirty Shirley by Shannon Bowring
  3. Giving Up by Catherine Cade
  4. Picking Up Stones by Brad Clompus
  5. In the Closet by Grace Elliott
  6. Ways of Karst by Jamie Etheridge
  7. Sea Bugs by Amanda Hadlock
  8. Endless Spoonful by Susie Hara
  9. Charlotte Sometimes by Eliot Li
  10. Flossing by Anita Lo
  11. Arcade Neophytes by Sarah Matsui
  12. Luna by Dawn Miller
  13. July 1964 by Cara Olexa
  14. Dust by Terri Pease
  15. Spatchcock by Sarah Rosenthal
  16. Your Lover, The Clown by Iona Rule
  17. No Matter How Pretty They Look by Kristina Saccone
  18. The Magic Kingdom by Eliot Li
  19. Coefficient by Phillip Sterling
  20. Remember Your Goals by Michele Zimmerman
  21. Trauma Becomes You by Karen McKinnon

Judge Deesha Philyaw’s Anthology Introduction:

One thing that struck me about the twenty surprising and arresting stories I selected for this collection is that none of them are about the pandemic. There are no references to COVID-19 nor to the perils and uncertainties of pandemic life. And yet, the stories are very much of the moment. The characters in these stories are people just trying to hold on––to life or what’s left of it, and to those whom they care about.

We’re living in both extraordinary and ordinary times right now. Like the characters here, we’re all aging and some of us are caring for our parents as they age. Some of us are remembering who our parents were and what that cost us. Like the characters, we’re falling in love, and we’re breaking up. We’re having babies and we’re losing babies. We’re screaming. We’re grieving. We are heartbroken. We’re dealing with the cruelty of adolescence (and of adolescents). We’re fighting for control. Deep down, we crave a reprieve from it all. We want to get back to normal, whatever that is. In one story, normal is a troubled couple having sex in The Haunted Mansion at the most magical place on earth. Nice work if you can get it in.

All of the stories here embody the best of what flash can do. With intimate, precise language and voices that are sometimes raw, sometimes tender, these compact stories illuminate deep truths about love and survival. Their themes are both timely and timeless. I don’t think it’s accurate to say that these stories offer hope. But I can say that in reading them, I felt less alone.

Deesha Philyaw
June 2022

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