2014 William Peden Prize Winner: "The Sea Latch"
By Michael Nye
We are pleased to announce that Cara Blue Adams’s short story “The Sea Latch” has been selected as the winner of this year’s William Peden Prize, our annual $1000 award for the best short story published in the previous volume year. Adams’s stories and essays have appeared in Narrative, Epoch, Mississippi Review, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, and The Sun, among many others. She has been awarded the Kenyon Review Short Fiction Prize, and scholarships and fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and she is an assistant professor of creative writing at Coastal Carolina University. A big, loud huzzah for Cara!
Our judge this year was Jessica Francis Kane, the author of three books (most recently This Close) whose work has twice appeared in our pages. There is no separate application process for the award. A few weeks ago, we sent an email to Jessica and asked if she would be our judge (we always use an outside judge for the Peden Prize) and she said, yeah sure, and we fired off copies of Volume 36, and in a few weeks, after agonizing over the decision, Jessica made her selection. Cara’s story appeared in our Spring 2013 issue; here’s an excerpt from her story:
When I thought of the girl Agnes’s ex-boyfriend Mike had gotten pregnant, a girl who lived in a trailer with her mother and the baby and who could easily be my sister, I thought of weedy grass, the scrubby, dried-out kind that grows on hard-packed soil. I wanted not to be the person my mother and Agnes thought I was: a person who would judge her for her decision, think she was stupid and backward. But at the same time, I wanted to shake her. How could I not, when I remembered her at five years old, trudging after me up the hill on the way to the school bus in her red rain boots, struggling to keep up?
If you haven’t read it already you can order a copy of this issue from our online store. Also! Cara will be coming to Columbia, Missouri this autumn. Our annual Peden Prize reception and reading will be held on Monday October 13th. We will have more details forthcoming, but as always, this event will be free and open to the public. If you’re in the area, you should come by, drink wine, eat hors d’oeuvres, meet Cara, and hear a terrific reading!
Follow Michael on Twitter: @mpnye