Amber Sparks Selects the Winning Manuscript to Feature in HFR 3.1

In this, the new era of HFR, there is our chapbook contest each quarter—each issue will feature a chapbook-length manuscript hand-selected by a final judge. And it is high time we announce the results of our very first contest, a fiction feature!

This issue the judge was Amber Sparks, author of May We Shed These Human Bodies (Curbside Splendor, 2013) and The Desert Places (w/ Robert Kloss and Matt Kish; Curbside Splendor, forthcoming).

And of course we were overjoyed with the response, being at first unable to predict the outcome of such a dramatic shift in publishing model.

There were six finalists:

Christina Elaine Collins, of Burke, Virginia, with Antiheroines of America
Ryder Collins, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with The way the sky was now
Emily Kiernan, of Berkeley, California, with The Inland Seas
Heidi Rosenberg, of Walworth, Wisconsin, with Be Prepared
Susan Rukeyser, of Marietta, Georgia, with If Everything Was Different
Kristy Webster, of Bainbridge Island, Washington, with Birth

Drum roll, please:

As the winner, Sparks chose Ryder Collins’ The way the sky was now, praising its “fierce, funny, wild energy … a little of George Saunders, a little of Lindsay Hunter … ” Sparks was quick to add that “this is something totally new, something real and raw—a really promising voice in this little/big tome. [Collins] is adept at so many voices, and especially loves the outsiders.” Having described the manuscript as “full of post-apocalyptic snapshots,” Sparks continued: “There’s something intensely musical about the collection as well, that gives it at times a folkloric quality that works well in painting a world after the world had ended … it draws you in and draws you in, so close that to get burned by these searing pages.”

Let us take a moment to congratulate all of our finalists, and now Ryder Collins as the winning author. Her manuscript will be published in full in the upcoming issue. And thank you, everyone, for entering. We were honored to have read your stories.

(Note: The submission process was blind and Submittable is apparently a tough cookie with those types of submissions, by not letting us mark them as fully “declined” or “accepted.” Instead, your submission should have a note added to it, by us. If you would like to redeem your one-year digital subscription to the journal, simply respond to the notification e-mail from Submittable, or e-mail us with the entry’s name in the e-mail’s subject, and we will fulfill your request accordingly.)

We look forward to bringing you the lit!

Speaking of which: preorder HFR 3.1 for $10, by October 22, 2013 for $10, and receive the digital editions at no additional cost.

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The full list of contributors follows:

Jessica Alexander, Priscilla Atkins, Robert Balun, Brett Beach, Nathan Blake, Ace Boggess, Michael Chaney, Ryder Collins, Lancaster Cooney, Panika M. C. Dillon, Suzi F. Garcia, Katy Gunn, Jennifer Lynn Hall, Ally Harris, Ben Hoffman, Tim Kahl, W. Todd Kaneko, Andy Kehoe, Stefan Kiesbye, Eben Kling, Nick Kocz, Ruth Madievsky, Nate Marshall, T.j. Martinson, Eric Neuenfeldt, Jon Read, Dash Shaw, Jeffrey Wasserboehr.

Preorder HFR 3.1 (print)

Digital and print subscriptions, as always, are available.

And for all you poets, our next contest is currently underway: a POETRY feature. The final judge is Noah Eli Gordon. Read more about that here.

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