Fiction Contest 2021: The Winners

The results are in! Congrats to these three talented writers for being selected as the winners of our 2021 Fiction Contest!


First Place: Of Dust, by N.B.

N.B. is a queer friend, writer and researcher who cares a lot about the meaning of care. She is currently based in England, where she researches anti-Muslim racism. She has previously lived in Tehran and as a settler on Squamish & Tsleil Waututh territory. She wants to and tries to be Muslim.

With a visceral and frenzied voice, the narrator in “Of Dust” spills forth a mess of memory, emotion, and confusion, the result of which is a compelling and cool story with a fully-formed cast of characters who are beloved as they are flawed. There is a liveliness here, breathed into every frantic moment, that holds the reader captive even as they are not entirely sure they’re getting the full story. I love it.– Jenny Heijun Wills


Second Place: Love with Responsibility, by Alana Rigby

Alana See-Ling Helen Rigby is a writer from Kitchener, Ontario. She has Chinese, Ukrainian, Irish, and English roots and would generally prefer to be outdoors, in the woods or on the water somewhere. She has a Bachelor and Masters of Arts from the University of Waterloo and is writing a collection of short stories about environmental collapse.

A study in symbolic writing, “Love with Responsibility” moves across time and space to reveal the long-lasting and surprising ways the past interrupts presents and futures. This is a story that shines a light on the people we turn to in order to make sense of our complex relationships to culture and survival, and the losses and disappointments they sometimes bring. The writing is enticing, propelling, and motivating. – Jenny Heijun Wills 


Third Place: Your Skinny Daddy, by Joya Guzmán

Joya Guzmán is a Mexican-Canadian emerging writer and translator at home in northern Mexico and the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Sḵwxwú7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh Peoples known as Vancouver. Her prose and poetry have been published or forthcoming in Acentos Review, Room Magazine, SOMOS Magazine, and others. Joya Guzmán is a nom de plume.

The careful attention to character and voice in “Your Skinny Daddy” reveals a writer with adept skill for imagining youthfulness in a convincing and generous way. The perspective is perfect and not once does the author break the illusion of the young narrator, be it in terms of language, tone, symbolism, or approach to storytelling. A truly remarkable feat. – Jenny Heijun Wills


Congratulations again to these three winners. You can read Of Dust and Love with Responsibility in Issue 45.2, to be published in June, 2022. Joya’s piece, Your Skinny Daddy, has been posted above, and is now available for you to read! A heartfelt thank you to judge Jenny Heijun Wills, who put so much time and thoughtful consideration into choosing these pieces, as well as looking through the longlisted submissions. A final thank you to our readers, and those who submitted a piece to our contest this year: know that your efforts do not go unnoticed. If you’re interested in sharing your work with us, check out our Poetry Contest that’s currently open until mid August. Our Fiction Contest will open again in January, 2022.

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Edited by Lue Palmer
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In This Issue: Eberechukwu Peace Akadinma, N.B., Manahil Bandukwala, Chief Lady Bird, Myriam J.A. Chancy, .chisaraokwu., Michelle Contant, Morgan Cross, Jaki Eisman, Ava Fathi, Maria Ford, Jennifer A. Goddard, Michelle Good, Ruchika Gothoskar, Jonsaba Jabbi, Sneha Subramanian Kanta, Micah Killjoy, Moe Kirkpatrick, Lydia Kwa, Margo LaPierre, karen lee, Lynn Hutchinson Lee, Y.S. Lee, Annick MacAskill, Kama La Mackerel, Sarah McPherson, Michie Mee, Zoë Mills, Lue Palmer, Emily Riddle, Alana Rigby, Omi Rodney, Edythe Rodriguez, Victoria Spence Naik, Unimke Ugbong, Nadia Van, semillites hernandez velasco, Dr. Njoki Wane, Yilin Wang, Jenny Heijun Wills, Lacey Yong, Dr. Rachel Zellars, Zhang Qiaohui

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