Ruminate Magazine is excited to share with you the winners of the 2018 William Van Dyke Short Story Prize. The winning stories were selected by our final judge, Susan Woodring.
Jason Villemez lives in Philadelphia. He has an MFA in creative writing from Boston University, and before graduate school he worked as a journalist for the PBS NewsHour and Philadelphia Gay News and as an English teacher in Japan. He recently finished a short story collection about LGBT people and is at work on a novel.
Susan Woodring writes: "'Coda' does what a piece of fiction should do: It opens up a world that is at once familiar and faraway—we are voyeurs here, in this precious, difficult love affair, but we, as readers, are also intimate members of the scene, the dance. The narrative delivers exactly the right details—the kind of body-knowledge, heart-knowledge one lover has over another—to bring us fully into the world of the story. We hurt for the characters, and we hurt with them. Perhaps most importantly, the author is wise enough to know when and how to lay an image bare, to trust the reader to weigh the significance of a gesture, a touch. The story leaves us, like any great, real-life experience, a little wounded and a little softer for that wounding, but also immensely grateful."
Heather M. Surls uses her writing to explore cultures and listen to the voices of the stereotyped and marginalized. Her nonfiction recently appeared in Riverteeth and The Windhover, and she is a regular contributor to EthnoTraveler magazine and www.culture-keeper.com. She lives in Amman, Jordan, with her husband, a college professor, and her son, an unstoppable ball of five-year-old energy.
Born in Ireland, Laura O'Gorman Schwartz grew up in Tokyo, Singapore, and New Jersey, before returning to live in Singapore in 2012. She holds a BA in Japanese studies from Bard College and has traveled to 33 countries, which she considers equally edifying. Her fiction and nonfiction writing has appeared in a range of publications, including: The Wall Street Journal, Wraparound South, The Shanghai Literary Review, Singapore American Newspaper and Thoughtful Dog.
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