Fiction Issue - Fiction Contest 2016


"Space is the place," Sun Ra famously said. And based on his intergalactic vibes, it's safe to assume exactly what he was referring to. But for this year's Creative Loafing Fiction Contest, we left the theme "space" wide open for interpretation.

Finalists found a variety of ways to express the theme, and our three winners did, too. In "Anticapointment," third-place winner Michael Wardner shows how the space occupied by the divine in our lives can sometimes be literal — and comical. Fiction Contest judge and writer Kory Oliver liked how "the fragility of faith, and how to make it real, was presented in an inventive and almost joyful way." Second-place winner Thomas B. Trotter puts quite the cosmic spin on love in "The Big Bounce," proving that "space itself is what we are," according to judge and Deer Bear Wolf Press curator Matt DeBenedictis. Finally, first-place winner Courtney Aspinwall shows how personal space, much like beauty and body image, is in the eye of the beholder. "The entire piece had an otherworldly quality to it," judge and writer Nicki Salcedo said, commenting on how the story allowed readers to "fall away from time and space for a few minutes."

That sense of the supernatural, whether faith or fantasy, rests at the heart of each story. A bit of magical realism, perhaps, giving us all cause to vibrate higher in 2016. As always, we're partnering with Write Club Atlanta for this year's Fiction Contest Party, where the winners will read while the listeners sip. It's free at the Highland Inn Ballroom on Jan. 7 beginning at 7 p.m. Join us.

And don’t forget to download the fourth volume of our Fiction Contest e-book, which comprises this year’s winners and past stories dating back to 2008.

— Rodney Carmichael



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Matt DeBenedictis is an author, publisher, and the curator of Deer Bear Wolf Press. He's written four chapbooks and was the voice behind the column From Pastor to Bastard, which took on the personal and social reaction to walking away from religious beliefs and being a pastor. His writing has also been featured in Monkeybicycle, Dogzplot, Necessary Fiction, Paste magazine, Noisecreep, and Spinner magazine.

Kory Oliver is a poet and short fiction writer, the former head of the Kill Your Darlings Writers Workshop and Aleph Literary Series. He most recently co-organized the Letters, a three-day literary festival held annually in Atlanta.

Nicki Salcedo is an Atlanta native and graduate of Stanford University, where she studied English and creative writing. She is the author of the novel All Beautiful Things, and she writes a weekly column called Intersections for Decaturish.com. Salcedo has appeared on stage with Listen to Your Mother and WRITE CLUB Atlanta. She lives with her cat named Greg Maddux, four kids, and husband. For more information go to nickisalcedo.com.




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