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 ...
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.
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.
Also This Week ...
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.