The Carolina Quarterly is pleased to announce the winners of its 2011 “Riding a Gradient Invisible” Contest:
Grand Prize Winner ($300): “American Desire” by James McFatter
Second Prize Winner ($75): “Lift” by Courtney Sender
Second Prize Winner ($75): “Epitaph 26” by Matthew Vollmer
Honorable Mention: “Conditions” by Aaron Krol
Honorable Mention: “Catastrophilia” by Caroline Young
An excerpt from the prize-winning story, “American Desire”:
I need high definition. I need my signature on un-dotted lines. I need a pamphlet on angels with a foreword by Bono. I need one more novel set in Iceland. I need icicles, jellybeans, rose petals, mint cigars, and octagonal Swedish dinner plates. I need half-priced stockings for the ladies. I need hope. I need you to understand me clearly. I need more sunshine and more consensus and more conceptual seascapes. I need people with money to surround me. I need to rule the roost. I need a long apology from my father.
About “American Desire,” Amy Hempel writes:
“This story is constantly surprising, yet always logical on its own terms. The narrator’s wide-ranging needs embrace the formal and colloquial, the deeply personal and the universal, all the while redeeming clichés and exploiting particularities. The story is impressionistic, associative, rhythmical and lyrical. It is often funny: ‘I need a pamphlet on angels with a foreword by Bono. I need one more novel set in Iceland.’ And startling: ‘I need to be counted among the bone-broken, the brave.’ There is anger here, and whimsy, and clear-eyed observation, up to the final ‘need’ with its moving simplicity. ‘American Desire’ is an immensely assured and memorable story that deepens each time you read it.”
The winning pieces will be featured in our next issue, 61.2.
Thanks to all who entered. Thanks as well to Amy Hempel for reading and judging.