Red Hen is pleased to anounce the 2015 Award Winners
Red Hen Press is pleased to announce the winners of its 2015 awards series. Winners of the Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award, the RHP Fiction Award, and the RHP Nonfiction Award will receive book deals with Red Hen Press. Winners of the Red Hen Press Short Story Award, Poetry Award, and the LAR Wild Light Poetry Contest will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Los Angeles Review. All prizes include an honorarium.
This year's winners and finalists are:
Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award (Judged by Carl Phillips)
Winner: Gabriel Jesiolowski for "As Burning Leaves"
First Runner-up: Christopher Nelson for "Riot Weather"
Second Runner-up: Mark Wagenaar for "Southern Tongues Leave Us Shining"
Finalists: Travis Mossotti, Aimee Baker, Armin Tolentino, Rita Banerjee, Christopher Nelson,
Julia Kilchinsky Dasbach, Michael J. Opperman
Red Hen Press Fiction Manuscript Award
Winner: Siel Ju for "Cake Time"
Runner-up: Peter Stenson for "The Extraordinary Lives of Retail Employees"
Runner-up: Sean Chadwell for "Map of the Moon"
Red Hen Press Nonfiction Manuscript Award
Winner: Chelsey Clammer for "Circadian"
Runner-up: Joshua Bernstein for "In Josaphat's Valley"
Runner-up: Amye Archer for "Fat Girl Skinny"
Finalist: Tarn Wilson for "In Praise of Inadequate Gifts"
Red Hen Press Poetry Award (Judged by Camile Dungy)
Winner: Dante Di Stefano for "Dreaming of Hokusai at Sloan-Kettering"
First Runner-up: John Sibley Williams for "This is Language Too"
Second Runner-up: Ellie Hastings for "We can pitch a tent anywhere"
Finalist: Emilio Sotleo for "poem 1 .txt"
Red Hen Press Short Story Award (Judged by Sean Bernard)
Winner: Ashley Shelby for "Pearl"
First Runner-up: Paula Spurlin Paige for "Posslqs"
Second Runner-up: Madhushree Ghosh for "The Whisper of Dead Wings"
Finalist: Dan Carlson for "How Are We Fixed For Time?"
Los Angeles Review Wild Light Poetry Contest (Judged by Amy Uyematsu)
Winner: Beth Filson for "Quiet the Dogs"
First Runner-up: Owen McLeod for "Mementomori.com"
Second Runner-up: Billie Tadros for "On Breaking; Or, On Braking"
Finalist: Rusty Morrison for "fashion statements: summer wear"
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LA Fiction Anthology Interviews: Sean Bernard
An Interview with Sean Bernard
What role does Los Angeles play in your fiction?
Certainly in a handful of stories—“California,” which appears in the anthology, and others (set variously at Santa Anita Racetrack, in Santa Monica, etc.)—Los Angeles plays a crucial role in my fiction. But for the most part, my stories are usually set in places away from LA; like a lot of people, I moved to Los Angeles and don’t quite feel—at least not yet—implicated in the landscape enough to feel that I can draw on it a lot of the time for my fiction; it’s something that’s convenient to use, I think, but not yet an instinct for me.
To what degree do you think place shapes fiction in general?
The way that place impacts fiction is variable, isn’t it? There are authors famous for being regional (Louise Erdrich and many more), authors who are almost indifferent to place (e.g. Calvino, in his stronger works), and those who vacillate between (Bolano and, of course, many more). Personally, I fall into the last category: when place becomes a defining aspect of a story (such as “California”) or a longer project (my first collection, Desert Sonorous, is all about Tucson, Arizona), it becomes almost the defining aspect: the polestar, the way everything in the work is oriented. Other times, place becomes as important as stage decoration—more important is character, tone, imagination. It depends on the project, really.
Do you see your work as coming out of any traditions of LA fiction or poetry?
Not generally, no, but again, the story “California” is intentionally a nod toward detective noir—it’s as LA fiction as I can possibly be.
How does being a writer affect your work as a teacher and how does your work as a teacher affect your writing?
Enormously: I teach fiction to college students, and so I’m constantly reading, critiquing, trying to finds ways to communicate the mechanisms of writing fiction. Teaching has forced me to figure out a way to show students ways of looking at fiction so that they can see how it’s put —to break it into workable components so that they can assemble their own excellent work. Just by doing this, by trying to develop a language and way of seeing how fiction is composed, has helped me with my own writing, my own way of looking at fiction.
What is your current project?
I’ve begun the imagination phase—the early phase, the dream phase—of a project that may feature telescopes, spies, astronomers, artists, and more. Very undefined, but fun.
Bio: Sean Bernard teaches fiction at the University of La Verne. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a recipient of an NEA fellowship among other awards, his fiction has appeared in many journals. His debut collection, Desert Sonorous, received the 2014 Juniper Prize, and his debut novel Studies in the Hereafter was published in 2015 by Red Hen Press.