Sunday, February 23, 2020

John Wins Second Anson Award in Four Years for His Short Story 'Esque

For the second time in four years, John took home First Place in the Adult Prose category at the Anson County Writers' Club Award Ceremony, held Sunday, February 23rd at the Little Theater in Wadesboro, N.C. His short story "'Esque" beat out strong entries "If It's Black and White It's a Holstein" by Kelly Liddington, and "Come Ye Thankful People, Come" by Kaye Ratliff, which won Second and Third Place, respectively.

The judges praised the way John's story "started as a conventional narrative, then took the reader to unexpected places with a winning mix of humor, pathos, and metaphor."

John joins just a handful of multiple-Anson winners in the thirty-one-year history of the awards. His short story "Bandito" also won the Adult Prose category in 2016.

The award comes with a cash prize and publication in the triennial Anson Pathways collection.

In his acceptance speech, John explained the title of the story: "I belong to a writers group in Davidson, Main Street Writers. Last summer, we did an exercise in which we wrote a story about metamorphosis in the style of Franz Kafka. Kafkaesque. Hence, I called my story "'Esque" with a  wink and a nod." John went on to explain how writers need a sense of community and the support and critique of other writers, and that's why groups such as Main Street Writers and the Anson County Writers' Club are important. "For the most part, writing is a solitary avocation, but the solitary writer can fall in love with his own nonsensical drivel, or too easily dismiss his own good work as trivial. A strong cohort keeps you grounded while providing the leg-up we all need sometimes."

"'Esque," along with two other new stories, "Day Game" and "Bittersweet Gypsum," will be included in Twi-Night Doubleheader, a retrospective of John's fiction work which will also contain complete reprints of his two previous short story collections, The Bug Jar and Other Stories, and Ocean of Storms. It will be published by Lulu Press in March 2020.

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