December 21 is the shortest day of the year – and it’s no coincidence that it’s also Short Story Day! Short stories are becoming increasingly popular. With their variety of plots, settings, and characters, they are bite-size reads most people can wedge into busy schedules, or even enjoy in one sitting to savour different scenarios.
Have you read any of our short story collections? We’d like to spend a few words about our short story authors and their wonderful books.
Aside from our Short Story Contest, which we ran for two years and had us come in contact with some excellent authors (debut and expert), we published Melanie McGee Bianchi’s The Ballad of Cherrystoke and Other Stories (2022) – her first published short story collection, and ours too, so a double first! Melanie’s essays have been published regionally and nationally, and her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her essay on ballads appeared in the 2023 winter issue of Oxford American. The Ballad of Cherrystoke is deeply rooted in the area that has shaped her character: Appalachia. It explores gentrification and culture clash in the mountainous South, where the beauties of the natural landscape meet a complicated contemporaneity. Her dry, earthy prose tells the stories of the area’s everyday people. For all these reasons, it was an SPD Bestseller!
The second short story collection we published is John Fulton’s The Flounder and Other Stories (2023). John’s short fiction has been awarded the Pushcart Prize, cited for distinction in The Best American Short Stories, and published in a variety of journals and reviews. His other books have received several distinctions and prizes. The Flounder explores the riddles of desire, youth, old age, poverty, and wealth. From pawnshops to law firms, from California to the coast of France, it lays bare the complexities and poignancy present in everyday life, in a prose that is vibrant and lyrical. The Flounder was chosen for Poets & Writers New and Noteworthy Books Section, and selected for SPD Recommends.
For 2024, we have a new short story collection in the pipeline: Khanh Ha’s The Eunuch’s Daughter & Stories. We are very excited to have Khanh Ha on board at Blackwater Press. As well as winning our second Blackwater Press short story contest, he is a ten-time Pushcart nominee, finalist for The Ohio State University Fiction Collection Prize, Mary McCarthy Prize, Many Voices Project, to name but a few.
He has published several books and short stories, and has been awarded the Sand Hills Prize for Best Fiction, The Robert Watson Literary Prize in Fiction, The Orison Anthology Award for Fiction, and many more. His exploration of modern and olden-day Vietnam will lead you into imperial palaces populated with concubines and eunuchs, riverboats where a stranger consigns his past into a little girl’s hands by gifting her a myra bird; through war zones and bombarded villages, and cosmopolitan households where lies and truths form a web that questions moral standards.
Will you be choosing short stories for your holiday reads?