For months, our small group of readers have been reviewing the 250+ chapbooks submitted to this year’s contest. Last week, we finally narrowed it down to 10 finalists and some honorable mentions–there were just SO MANY GOOD MANUSCRIPTS.
Guest Judge Sara Lippmann was sent the finalists, and after careful reading, she has chosen SJ Sindu‘s chapbook, I Once Met You But You Were Dead, for publication at Split Lip Press in early 2017.
Of the manuscript, Sara said:
“This chapbook is raw and timely and unforgettable. I love the textured layers, how the stories unfold, the jagged edges, how they push up against one another in juxtaposition and in accumulation. The prose is assured, dynamic and alive, confidently moving through time and space. I love the mix presented: of style and structure, point of view — held together by a consistent yet refreshing voice. I love how the author comes at theme from different angles to prismatic effect. People ask me why I read, and my answer is for work like this: that stirs me out of my comfort zone, that upturns expectation and burrows into the deep, that grabs me by the heart and transports me, leaving me changed. This chapbook delivers on that front. There is a vitality and vulnerability to this voice, evidenced by how it shifts, often within story, breaking rules, that excites me in a way I have not felt in some time. The stories feel urgent and necessary and not overworked, seams showing, stories that speak to a big literary future ahead.”
First Runner-Up: Shasta Grant, Gather Us Up and Bring Us Home
(which Split Lip will also have the great fortune to publish in summer 2017!)
Second Runner-Up: Lara Coley, WE
Samantha Duncan, Chaos Theory
Katie Flynn, Border Patrol
Katherine Gehan, National Treasure
Meghan McClure, Portrait of a Body in Wreckages
Clare Paniccia, Threaded Daughter/Threaded Child
Emily Pinkerton, Adaptations
Jesse Rice-Evans, Twin Hungers (recently picked up by Damaged Goods Press!)
Pete Stevens, The Girl Who Could Float
Kelly Dulaney, Grog Blossoms
Jessica Roeder, Staircases Will Outnumber Us
Susan Rukeyser, What is Reflected
Hugely grateful to our readers: Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice, Jenne Knight, Sonya Vatomsky, Jon McConnell, and Sara Biggs-Chaney, as well as the talented + insightful Sara Lippmann for helping us make this really tough decision.
Stay tuned for more!