Robert Busby is the winner of the C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize

Robert Busby is the winner of the C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize

May 31st 2024

Hub City Press is pleased to announce that Robert Busby has won the 2024 C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize for Bodock: Ice Storm Stories, his collection of stories set around his hometown in Mississippi. The prize judge this year was Maurice Carlos Ruffin. 

The Curtis Prize is awarded to an emerging Southern writer, and Busby will receive $5000 and publication by Hub City Press of his short story collection in 2025. The previous winners of the prize are Scott Gloden for The Great American Everything in 2023, Andrew Siegrist for We Imagined It Was Rain in 2020, Ashleigh Bryant Phillips for Sleepovers in 2019, and Emily W. Pease for Let Me Out Here in 2018. Winners have been featured in The New Yorker, Poets & Writers, The Paris Review, and the Kenyon Review, among other outlets.

The Curtis Prize was named in honor of C. Michael Curtis, who served as an editor of The Atlantic since 1963 and as fiction editor since 1982 and 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 at both Wofford and Converse Colleges, in addition to serving on the editorial board of Hub City Press. This prize is made possible by a generous contribution from Michel and Eliot Stone of Spartanburg.

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 and got his MFA in Fiction at Florida International University in Miami. His stories have appeared in various literary magazines and anthologies, including Arkansas Review, Cold Mountain Review, Flash!: Writing the Very Short Story, Footnote, Mississippi Noir, PANK, Sou’wester, and Surreal South

Busby says, “I’m so honored to join the Hub City Press family—and I'm profoundly humbled by the assembly of talented writers whose work has also found a home there. Mostly I’m just super grateful to have my debut collection, Bodock: Ice Storm Stories, taken care of by such gracious editors who enthusiastically champion their authors while progressing contemporary Southern literature toward new horizons.”

Busby’s collection was chosen by judge Maurice Carlos 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.

Ruffin said of the collection, “Spanning fable, crime, and realist literary fiction, this collection of stories leaves no feeling untouched. By capturing the nuances and complexities of these southern characters with an unfailing eye Bodock: Ice Storm Stories presents a universe of experience filled with darkness, humor, and desire.”

The finalists for this year's prize were Amber Wheeler Bacon for We Were Vessels, Katherine Connor for The Hanged Man, Jay Kauffman for The Mexican Messiah and Other Stories, Sam Ruddick for How We Deal with the Dead, and William Christy Smith for Skylark.

The 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 has 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. Curtis moved to Spartanburg, South Carolina in 2006 and has taught as a professor at both Wofford and Converse Colleges, in addition to serving on the editorial board of Hub City Press.

The prize will reopen for submissions in September 2025.

Error Message