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The 14th annual Short Story Contest: If you haven't heard, hear here, as we've gone from 550 to 10, count them, 10 stories! Count them again! Still 10? Not for long ...

The 550 submissions in the 14th annual Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest have been cut to 10 finalists. A short list, if you will. Tentative congratulations – though they haven't won anything yet, their accomplishment thus far is cause for acknowledgement here – go to the following: "An Unfit Man," by Martin Hugh Boozer (Austin); "How to Make a Piñata," Jenny Browne (San Antonio); "Lyndol and Joy," Nadia Caffesse (Austin); "That One Sad One," Will Furgeson (Austin); "You Don't Say," Kathleen A. Kirsch (Pflugerville); "I'm Only Sleeping," William LaPage (Springfield, Mo.); "olive life," Paul Marlin (Austin); "Chlorine," Gail Miller (Albuquerque, N.M.); "Lit Up," John Roberts (Herndon, Va.); and "Mojo Nixon Is God," Susan Shields (Austin).

Although the selection and judging process is a blind one – in other words, the manuscripts are anonymous while contact information is provided separately – I can furnish these names because the finalist authors have been invited to a Wednesday, Feb. 15, 7pm, reception and reading at BookPeople, where the first- through third-place winners and two honorable mentions will be announced for the first time. Then, in the Feb. 17 issue of the Chronicle, the first-place winner will be published in print, while its four runners-up will catch up at austinchronicle.com. Not only are the finalists invited to BookPeople to have a chance at international literary acclaim and life-altering amounts of money, but their friends and family are, too, although their friends and family only have a chance at wine and hors d'oeuvres. The same goes for you and you and you and you. Come bear witness to greatness as you wet your whistle and have a snack.

Still, aside from all of that, in the meantime, you might worry that our formidable panel of judges – Robert Byington, Doug Dorst, Elizabeth Harris, Clay Smith, and Dao Strom – will see the aforementioned names and perhaps be swayed by recognition of one or more of them. Don't: As we go to press, they have already met for dinner, deliberated, and decided on their top five. (Worry instead, if you'd be so kind, that I'm apparently stuck in a time warp.) Mainly, I'm using this space to spotlight our finalists and encourage everyone to stop by BookPeople on Wednesday night, when hearts will be broken or emboldened and legends will be born.


Also This Week ...

Austin's Dominic Smith, raised in Australia and MFA'd at Michener, saw his first novel, The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre, released by Atria on Tuesday, Feb. 7. Though there'll be a private launch at the Austin Museum of Art later this week, we're more concerned with his March 16 appearance at BookPeople. Look for the Chronicle's review of the novel, which was a finalist for the Faulkner First Novel Prize, around that time.

Other upcoming events of notable interest: Robert Rivard (he's the editor of the San Antonio Express-News; his Trail of Feathers, about the search for his missing reporter Philip True, is excellent and highly recommended) at BookPeople on Friday, Feb. 10, 7pm; a little over a week later at the store, on Feb. 21, 7pm, the great Gail Caldwell and her A Strong West Wind as part of the Texas Monthly Author Series.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest, Martin Hugh Boozer, Susan Shields, Gail Miller, William LaPage, Will Furgeson, Jenny Browne, Nadia Caffesse, Kathleen A. Kirsch, Paul Marlin, John Roberts, Dominic Smith, Robert Rivard, Gail Caldwell, BookPeople

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