Here’s a tale for you: each year, The Austin Chronicle issues a call for short stories, previously-unpublished manuscripts with a limit of 2,500 words. After a winnowing and judging, one story is selected for publication, with the winner taking home $800.
Tonight, that winning entry in the Chronicle’s 20th annual Short Story Contest will be announced in a reception at BookPeople.
Chronicle Books editor Kimberley Jones tells us that “we had just under 560 submissions this year, significantly up from last year. But not only were the numbers up, I think the overall quality of the submissions improved this year, too. In the first round, every story is read twice by a Chronicle staffer or ‘friend of the family’ and rated 0 to 5. The scores were a lot higher this year. I might've worried we're all just getting soft, but I read about 150 or so of the stories myself and was pretty knocked out by the talent out there. “
After that first round, the entries make their way to a group of judges for further ranking. This year’s panel includes Mandy Brooks, director of children's events and marketing at BookPeople; “Haiku Mama” author Kari Ann Roy; reporter and commentator Michael Hoinski, and novelist David E. Hilton.
“The first- through third- place stories will be read tonight out loud by the winners, and it's a great opportunity to hear first-hand what a new generation of writers is capable of producing,” Jones continues. “I think people will be impressed; I know I sure was.”
The reception and readings start at 7 p.m. at BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar