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Rock Out With Your Cock Out

The 20th Annual 'Austin Chronicle' Short Story Contest

By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Feb. 10, 2012

Rock Out With Your Cock Out

With 568 submissions this year to our annual short story competition, there were bound to be overlapping ideas and odd recurrences. One of our readers noticed the name Rusty popping up again and again, while another pointed out people seemed to be getting on planes for Paris an awful lot. And, of course, every year we get flooded with sad cowboy types marinating in whiskey. This is Texas, after all.

This year, two stories about cockfighting landed in our batch of ten finalists; one of them, Mary Terrier's melancholic, Nicara­gua-set "To Need, the Women Say," took the top prize. Turn the page and you can read it yourself.

There were no angry birds to be found in the second- or third-place stories, but the animal kingdom was still represented by way of, respectively, a disemboweled pig and a sort-of changeling with deer blood in her veins. You can read both of those prizewinners online at austinchronicle.com/books.

Those are just three stories plucked from a fine batch of submissions this year, and it was – as always – both a pleasure and an honor to sift through so much creative ardor and articulateness. It is, however, a long and involved process, this shearing from 568 to a handful, and it couldn't have happened without the hard work of a great many people. Many thanks go to our marketing wizzes Erin Collier, Dan Hardick, and Noël Marie Pitts; to our first readers Wayne Alan Brenner, Nick Barbaro, Jessi Cape, Brian Carr, Mike Crissey, Mark Fagan, Cassidy Frazier, Diana Garcia, Sarah Hamlin, Anne Harris, Shelley Hiam, Elizabeth Jackson, Michael King, Greg Koehler, Gerald McLeod, Susan Moffatt, Lisa Montierth, Margaret Moser, Cassandra Pearce, James Renovitch, Monica Riese, Jordan Smith, Sarah Smith, R.U. Stein­berg, Jason Stout, Kristine Tofte, Vin­cent Van Horn, Richard Whittaker, Cindy Widner, and Virginia B. Wood; to our terrific panel of judges; and to our co-sponsors KGSR and BookPeople.

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