Uncategorized | September 15, 2015

By Anne Barngrover

For the past few weeks, we have been featuring narrative accounts “from the horse’s mouth,” so to speak—the 2014 winners in poetry, nonfiction, and fiction of our Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize. Today we hear from our final prize winner, Rachel Swearingen, who was last year’s winner in fiction. Here is what she has to say about her experience:

“What happens when you win a Jeffery E. Smith Editor’s Prize? If you’re anything like me, you’ll be stunned when the managing editor calls to tell you that not only did you win, they also want to fly you to Columbia, MO for a celebratory weekend. They’ll introduce you to their community and throw you a party where you read your work. You’ll get the chance to hear the other winners read, and to enjoy their company over drinks. You might even find yourself at the local track, despite a lack of athleticism, courageously putting on Speer Morgan’s Kangoo shoes, because everyone is so open and generous, and why not?

You’ll get a chance to see the inner workings of an extraordinary literary magazine. If you’re lucky, Speer and Kris will tell you about the journal’s inception, about the incredible pieces they still remember fishing out of the slush pile. You’ll meet assistant editors and young interns who are thrilled to be a part of the magazine, and be reminded that these people are keeping the thing you love alive. They are writers and researchers, and readers of the best kind. Some of the students will go on to become editors and agents, and most will become lifelong readers and champions of literature. For a moment, being in their presence, you’ll remember why you started writing in the first place. Months later, you’ll recall that feeling when you sit down to face what seems like another impossible revision.

Here’s the best thing about entering the contest. Even if you don’t win, you’ll receive a subscription to a journal that has been publishing great writing since 1978, and continues to evolve. I’ve been reading and submitting to TMR for years. They published one of my first stories back in 2007, after many rejections. I’m so grateful for all they do, and honored to be a part of their extended community.”

Check out more of Rachel’s brilliant work at her website, here.

Want to join her as one of our prize winners? You can submit to our 2015 Editors’ Prize Contest here. The deadline is October 1st. We can’t wait to read your submissions!