The 2010 Press 53 Open Awards Results Are In!
The 2010 Press 53 Open Awards awards presentation will take place on Saturday, October 16, at 6 p.m., at the Gallery of the Arts, 411 W. Fourth St, Winston-Salem, NC., at which time we will also unveil the 2010 Press 53 Open Awards Anthology, featuring our First Prize, Second Prize, and Honorable Mention winners (First Prize only in Novella).
A Big THANK YOU to everyone who entered, and to our finalists and winners.
ZINTA AISTARS is founder and editor-in-chief of the literary eZine, The Smoking Poet. She has published poetry, travel essays, stories, and articles in the United States, Latvia, England, Sweden, Germany, and Australia. Her work has appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, Outsider Ink, Fiction Attic, Flash Me Magazine, The Redbridge Review, River Walk Journal, Flashquake, Word Riot, and many others. Her work has been anthologized in both Latvian and English, and she has won numerous awards in both languages. Her book reviews appear frequently in Gently Read Literature and on her blog, Zinta Reviews. She also maintains a blog called Zinta Aistars: Poetry & Prose. Learn more about Zinta and her work at her Web site,, and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.
TARA L. MASIH is editor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction (2009). She has published fiction, poetry, and essays in numerous anthologies and literary magazines (including Confrontation, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Natural Bridge, Red River Review, Night Train and The Caribbean Writer). Several limited edition illustrated chapbooks featuring her flash fiction have been published by The Feral Press. Awards for her work include first place in The Ledge Magazine’s Fiction Awards Competition, and her flash has received Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web nominations. Visit Tara's website at
AARON BURCH is the editor of Hobart: Another Literary Journal, and his first chapbook of short shorts, How to Predict the Weather, is forthcoming from Keyhole Books. His short fiction has appeared, or is upcoming, in New York Tyrant, Barrelhouse, Another Chicago Magazine, Quick Fiction, and others. 
ANN PANCAKE's first novel, Strange As This Weather Has Been (Counterpoint  2007), features a southern West Virginia family devastated by mountaintop removal mining. Based on interviews and real events, the novel was one of Kirkus Review’s Top Ten Fiction Books of 2007, won the 2007 Weatherford Prize, and was a finalist for the 2008 Orion Book Award. Her collection of short stories, Given Ground (University Press of New England, 2001), received the 2000 Bakeless award, and she has also received a Whiting Award, an NEA grant, and a Pushcart Prize. Her fiction and essays have appeared in journals and anthologies like Orion, The Georgia Review, Poets and Writers, and New Stories from the South. She teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Pacific Lutheran University. Visit Ann's blog at
LISE FUNDERBURG is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She studied at Reed College and Columbia University School of Journalism, and her articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Salon, The Nation, and Prevention. She has been a regular contributor since 2001 to O, The Oprah Magazine, and has written a book about the Tony-winning musical The Color Purple. Her newest book is called Pig Candy: Taking My Father South, Taking My Father Home (Free Press, 2008). Pig Candy could fit into several genres—including narrative nonfiction, memoir, travelogue, and biography—but essentially, it’s a book about life, death, and barbecue. Lise won a 2003 Nonfiction Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and teaches creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers. Visit Lise at
AMY ROGERS is founder and Publisher of Novello Festival Press, the groundbreaking literary project sponsored by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She has authored or edited seven books, including Hungry for Home: Stories of Food from Across the Carolinas. A past vice-president of Publishers’ Association of the South, she is an award-winning journalist and a frequent commentator for NPR station WFAE.
FIRST PRIZE (Tie): Matthew James Babcock of Rexburg, ID for He Wanted to be a Cartoonist for The New Yorker; and Jen Michalski of Baltimore, MD for May-September

Amy says of the winning stories: “This is the most difficult contest I have ever judged, and I have judged more than a few. The work I read from the Press 53 novella competition represented great creativity, skill and ambition. I can honestly say that several are publishable. But it ultimately came down to a dead heat between two: He Wanted to Be a Cartoonist for The New Yorker and May-September
He Wanted to Be a Cartoonist for The New Yorker is witty, acerbic, inventive, funny, clever—and surprising. What's more, it's solidly readable, wonderfully detailed, and it crackles with vigor. 
May-September is confident, resonant, achingly heartfelt, gorgeous—and surprising in a much different way. The writing is spare and elegant. This story of unspoken desires is beautifully layered, thick with tension and full of passion. 
“As a publisher, I'd be proud to publish either—or both—of these excellent works.”

Tally Brennan of Philadelphia, PA for Landscape with Figure
Stephanie Coyne DeGhett of Potsdam, NY for Old Dime's Last Show
Totjana Soli of Tustin, CA for Death of the Cougar

FIRST PRIZE: Terresa Haskew of Greenville, SC for “Following the Sun,” “Race for the Moon,” and “Southern Summer”

Zinta Aistars says of the winning poems: “A female voice, she is strong and sure in her word choices, expressing image and mood with impressive clarity. She is accessible to any reader of poetry, and I respect that, yet captures that common experience in a way that makes me hold my breath until I reach the end of the poem.”

SECOND PRIZE: Clinton B. Campbell of Beaufort, SC for “The Day My Wife Kissed Pat Conroy,” “Front Row Seat,” and “As Donald Hall Reads”

HONORABLE MENTION: Maureen A. Sherbondy of Raleigh, NC for “Shoplifter,” “Sleeping Beauty in Old Age,” and “House of Malapropism”

Malaika King Albrecht of Pinehurst, NC for “The Dusting,” “On the Shore at Holden Beach,” and “The Drowned Husband”
Clinton B. Campbell of Beaufort, SC for “Because She Could,” “The Day I Met FDR at the A&P,” and “Alphabet Nights”
Melinda Coppola of Westwood, MA for “Autism: Other People's Children,” “Autism: The Way You Show Joy,” and “Autism: Letting Grow”
Steve Cushman of Greensboro, NC for “After the Rain,” “Walking,” and “Regret”
Ellaraine Lockie of Sunnyvale, CA for “In Bed with Edgar Allen at the Sylvia Beach Hotel,” “SAD,” and  “Sexed on a Kona Balcony”
Cal Nordt of Raleigh, NC for “Physics,” “Dark,” and “Relativity”
Maureen A. Sherbondy of Raleigh, NC for “Laundry Rant,” “Losing Jersey,” and “How to Succeed in Sales”
FIRST PRIZE: Amy Willoughby-Burle of Candler, NC for “Out Across the Nowhere”

Tara L. Masih says of the winning story: “This two-page story intrigues you with its title, captures you with its first line, and draws you through the narrator's nocturnal escape with lyrical language and lasting images. The sadness and the wonder are all carefully intertwined.”

SECOND PRIZE: Thor Jourgensen of Lynn, MA for “Flag Day”

HONORABLE MENTION: Maureen A. Sherbondy of Raleigh, NC for “At the Conference of Abandoned Stories”

Anne Clinard Barnhill of Garner, NC for “All You Need”
Kathleene Donahoo of Lake Forest, IL for “Sharps”
Rebecca Gummere of Sugar Grove, NC for “Bug Brain”
Kathy Handley of Plymouth, MA for “Secret”
Tony R. Lindsay of Winston-Salem, NC for “Gone But Not Forgotten”
Lisa Muir of Boone, NC for “Taking Down the Moon”
Larry D. Thacker of Middleboro, KY for “But…”
FIRST PRIZE: Jason Stout of Atlanta, GA for “Larry Legend”

Aaron Burch says of the winning story: " ’Larry Legend’ has so much going for it, it is hard to know where to begin. One of the things that it does so well, and one of my favorite aspects of stories (both short and long) in general, is its mix of humor and pathos, not to mention one of my other favorite aspects: childhood nostalgia accomplished without being saccharine. Written in a relatively straightforward and plainspoken language, the voice sucked me in from the get-go and, like the best short-shorts, the details define and sell it. From the smoking of grapevine and chewing Blackjack gum and drinking stolen Boone's, to the laps of couples skate to ‘Kenny Loggins or maybe Air Supply.’ ‘Larry Legend,’ ultimately, for me, hinged on the narrator's question decision of ‘which you'd rather have: a thousand dollars in your pocket now or the memory of hours of shooting baskets with your brother?’ Building that into a story that encapsulated an entire life and not just an anecdote was why I circled back and reread this story, and then reread it again, after getting to the end.”

SECOND PRIZE: Ray Morrison of Winston-Salem, NC for “June Bug”

HONORABLE MENTION: Michael Garriga of Tallahassee, FL for “First-Called Quits: A Whip Fight for Honor on the Welcome Home Plantation Six Weeks After Transporting the Tobacco Near Lynchburg, Virginia, June 24, 1798”

Stace Budzko of Boston, MA for “For Maddox Outwater”
Amy Willoughby-Burle of Candler, NC for “What She Couldn't Do”
Michael Gaspeny of Greensboro, NC for “Waves”
Charles Holdefer of Brussels, Belgium for “The Plans”
Amanda Pauley of Elliston, VA for “All That Lies Between”
Kurt Rheinheimer of Roanoke, VA for “Can’t Cross Over”
Kathleen J. Stowe of Norfolk, VA for “The Watchers”
FIRST PRIZE: Katey Schultz of Bakersville, NC for “My Father Calls Me Pequena”

Ann Pancake says of the winning story: “I love this piece for its song and its heart, for its constant surprises, and for how the child narrator embraces both magic and grief, how she desires but also accepts.  A beautiful story.”

SECOND PRIZE: Kurt Rheinheimer of Roanoke, VA for “Cold”

HONORABLE MENTION: David James Poissant of Florence, KY for “Between the Teeth”

Sarah McCraw Crow of Canterbury, NH for “Creation Theories”
Rochelle Distelheim of Highland Park, IL for “Song of Sol”
Kathleene Donahoo of Lake Forest, IL for “Have You Seen Us?”
Jen Julian of Greensboro, NC for “The Shadow of the Red Rock”
Aimee Loiselle of East Longmeadow, MA for “The Tangle of Stems and Light”
Amanda Pauley of Elliston, VA for “Butchering”
David James Poissant of Florence, KY for “Venn Diagram”
FIRST PRIZE: Lisa Nikolidakis of Tallahassee, FL for “The Wood”

Lise Funderberg says of the winning story: “From its opening sentence, ‘The Wood’ pulls you into the seamy central stage of the bar that gives this essay its title. But while the narrator is a certain and self-proclaimed outsider in that world – which she employs to the piece’s great benefit in her careful observations of characters, interactions, and ambient detail—she bridges that distance with a compassion that infuses the piece with an aching tenderness. It would be so easy for a less skilled writer to default into mockery of the drunks and wastrels who frequent The Wood, but instead, the writer strikes an exquisite balance between the inherent ridiculousness and heartbreaking brokenness she finds there. A completely engrossing read that grabs the reader and does not once let go.”

SECOND PRIZE: Leslie Tucker of Landrum, SC for “May Day”

HONORABLE MENTION: Jen Julian of Greensboro, NC for “Mr. Drew's Drill”

Malaika King Albrecht of Pinehurst, NC for “The Ride”
Martha Clarkson of Kirkland, WA for “True Crime”
Elizabeth Enslin of Portland, OR for “Ama”
Elizabeth Enslin of Portland, OR for “A Nature Lover's Phobia”
Deborah Gold of (City/State withheld by request) for “Cody, Age 14 (or 15, If You Ask Him)”
Elena Sigman of New York, NY for “To Die For”
Mary Elizabeth Parker of Greensboro, NC for “A House in the South”
Press 53 . PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130-0314
      Open Awards 2010