2015 William Van Dyke Short Story Prize Recipients

by Ruminate Magazine April 01, 2015

Ruminate Magazine is excited to share with you the winners of the 2015 William Van Dyke Short Story Prize. The winning stories were selected by our final judge, Larry Woiwode. You can read the stories in Issue 34: Keeping Things Whole.

FIRST PLACE: Tori Malcangio, "Nesting Doll"

Tori Malcangio was diagnosed with a life-threatening heart arrhythmia six years ago; after three surgeries, Tori is back to running twenty miles a week.  She lives in a San Diego suburb with her husband and three kids (eight years, six years, and a nine-month-old nugget of love). Her work has appeared in the American Literary Review, Chattahoochee Review, Mississippi Review, Tampa Review, Cream City Review, ZYZZYVA,  River Styx,  Passages North, Smokelong Quarterly, Pearl Magazine and more. She received the American Literary Review Fiction Prize and the Waasmode Fiction Prize. She and has an MFA from Bennington College. Plans for the future include getting the novel published; raising chickens; and teaching the kids how to flush toilets, share, and do what they love. Our final Judge Larry Woiwode writes:

“Nesting Doll” opens in a way I generally don’t find congenial, without the incline, as John Updike has put it, that tips you toward the story’s end. The opening is, rather, a complex meditative description of a stilled state of mind the reader isn’t sure will unlock. The next sentences suggest the direction the story is headed, but with little indication of the power it will release.

The paragraphs of intellectual speculation and wordplay along the way suggest the distance the narrator must assume to bear the complexity of her loss. She has woven layers of nesting dolls around a tragedy she can barely name, but once she and her husband meet the young woman who bears their daughter’s beating heart, their doll nested in another, the emotion becomes so intimate and intense I was one with the parents’ loss. I wept. On a re-reading, once the content and contours of the story are familiar, each sentence settles in place more firmly, authoritatively, at a deeper level on each trip to the inside of that powder-blue house. The increased meaning and dimension is the hallmark of every story that over the ages continues to deliver the shocking power of unconditional, unending love. You can read "Nesting Doll" in Ruminate's Issue 34. Larry Woiwode’s fiction has appeared in The Atlantic, GQ, Harpers, Paris Review, Partisan Review, and a variety of publications, including two dozen stories in The New Yorker. His work has been translated into a dozen languages and is included in four volumes of The Best American Short Stories. He is the poet laureate of North Dakota.

SECOND PLACE: Joseph Celizic, "Offloading at St. Paul Harbor"

Joseph Celizic writes: “I received my MFA in fiction from Bowling Green State University, where l teach, and I currently live in Bowling Green, Ohio, with my wife, Emily. Though I came to faith in late high school after reading the gospels during spring break, the complexities of trying to follow and understand Christ have only magnified over the years and continue to guide my writing. My work has been published in various journals, including lndiana Review, Third Coast, North American Review, and CutBank, and has been shortlisted in Best American Mystery Stories.” You can read "Offloading at St. Paul Harbor" in Ruminate's Issue 34.  

HONORABLE MENTION: Nektaria Petrou, "The Evil Eye Expert"

Born in New York, Nektaria Petrou received a postgraduate education in the UK and a life education in Greece, France, and Turkey. Her writing explores themes such as confused identity, the loss of one’s home or past, the pleasures and torture of memory, Greek and Turkish history, and minority experience. Within stories of ethnic and religious conflict, she proposes instances of tolerance that overturn prejudices and surprise readers. Petrou’s essays have been published in Al-Monitor, Daily Sabah, and Turkish Press. She is currently working on a novel about the Orthodox Christian minority of Istanbul. Petrou speaks Greek, English, Turkish, French, Spanish, and Italian. Her twelve-year-old Siberian Husky, however, speaks only Greek. You can read "The Evil Eye Expert" in Ruminate's Issue 34.


David Athey, "Ha-Meow-Ha" Angela Doll Carlson, "The Exploding Boy" A. F. Glover, "The Other Possibility" Lance Nixon, "Baltics" Allyson Potter, "Electric Feel" Arthur Powers, "Redemption" Stephen Policoff, "My Back Door Sunday" Brad Rhoda, "The Last Thing It Is" Michael Caleb Tasker, "The Luckiest Man in Town" Jude Whelchel, "Body Talk Soft Body Talk Loud" Thank you to all of you who entered the Short Story Prize!
  Ruminate Magazine hosts an annual contest for short fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and visual art. You can read more about our writing contests and art contest here.

Ruminate Magazine
Ruminate Magazine


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