2024 C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize Finalists

2024 C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize Finalists

May 23rd 2024

Hub City Press is pleased to announce the six finalists for the 2024 C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize, which is awarded to an emerging Southern writer. The winner will receive $5,000 and publication by Hub City Press of their short story collection.

Six finalists have been selected after two rounds of reading, and the winner will be selected by judge Maurice Ruffin. He is the author of The American Daughters, released earlier this year by One World Random House; The Ones Who Don't Say They Love You, longlisted for The Story Prize and a finalist for The Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence; and We Cast a Shadow, which was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the PEN/Open Book Award, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and International Dublin Literary Award. A recipient of an Iowa Review Award in fiction, he has been published in the Virginia Quarterly Review, AGNI, the Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas. A native of New Orleans, he is a graduate of the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop and a member of the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance.

The finalists are Amber Wheeler Bacon for We Were Vessels, Robert Busby for Bodock: Ice Storm Stories, Katherine Connor for The Hanged Man, Jay Kauffman for The Mexican Messiah and Other StoriesSam Ruddick for How We Deal with the Dead, and William Christy Smith for Skylark.

Amber Wheeler Bacon is a writer and teacher whose work has appeared in Crazyhorse, Ecotone, Five Points, Prairie Schooner and Witness, and online in CRAFT and Ploughshares. She's won awards and scholarships from The Authors Guild, Bread Loaf and Prairie Schooner and been a finalist for numerous prizes, including the 2023 New American Fiction Prize and 2023 Chautauqua Janus Prize, nominated by Ecotone. Amber has an MFA from Bennington College and teaches English at Coastal Carolina University. She lives by the beach in South Carolina.

Robert Busby writes, runs, and raises two humans with his wife in Memphis, Tennessee. Before that he grew up in a small dry town in the hill country of North Mississippi. His stories have appeared in various literary magazines and anthologies, including Arkansas Review, Cold Mountain Review, Flash!: Writing the Very Short Story, Mississippi Noir, PANK, and Sou’wester.

Katherine Conner is a Lebanese-American writer, native Mississippian, and current New Orleans resident. Her collection of short stories, The Hanged Man, was selected as a runner-up for the 2023 Iron Horse Literary Review First Book Prize. The collection was also named a finalist for the 2022 Hudson Prize from Black Lawrence Press. Her short stories have appeared in several literary magazines, including West Branch, Pembroke Magazine, Willow Springs, Shenandoah, Copper Nickel, Blackbird, Fugue, Surreal South, The Chattahoochee Review, The Portland Review, Raleigh Review, and elsewhere. Additionally, her story, “Percipient,” won the Willow Springs Fiction Prize. A graduate of the doctoral creative writing program at Florida State University, she also holds a Master’s from the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. She teaches creative writing at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, LA.

Jay Kauffmann is a former international model, travel writer, and award-winning poet. He holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and has taught at Randolph College, the University of Virginia, and the Miller School of Albemarle. Runner-up for the 2023 Leapfrog Global Fiction Prize and nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best New American Voices, he has published in CutBank, Hunger Mountain Review, Prime Number Magazine, The Writer’s Chronicle, upstreet, Mid-American Review, and other journals and anthologies.

Sam Ruddick is an Alabama writer whose most recent work can be found in The Sun and the Alaska Quarterly Review. He has been awarded the Henfield Prize and the PEN/O. Henry Prize for fiction, and currently teaches creative writing and literature at Auburn University.

William Christy Smith is a museum and library professional who lives in New Orleans. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in English from Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, master of liberal arts degree from the University of Chicago, and master of arts administration degree from the University of New Orleans.

This prize is named in honor of C. Michael Curtis, who has served as an editor of The Atlantic since 1963 and as fiction editor since 1982. Curtis discovered or edited some of the finest short story writers of the modern era, including Tobias Wolff, Joyce Carol Oates, John Updike, and Anne Beattie. He edited several acclaimed anthologies, including Contemporary New England Stories, God: Stories, and Faith: Stories. Curtis moved to Spartanburg, S.C. in 2006 and taught as a professor at both Wofford and Converse Colleges, in addition to serving on the editorial board of Hub City Press. C. Michael Curtis passed away in early 2023, and we are honored to continue his legacy of championing short story writers. This prize is made possible by a generous contribution from Michel and Eliot Stone of Spartanburg.

The winner of the C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize will be announced across all social media platforms in the next week.

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