Renowned Author Steve Almond Selects Writer for the $2,000 Prize
Philadelphia, PA -- Philadelphia Stories, the free non-profit literary magazine featuring local writers and artists, has named a winner for its third annual Marguerite McGlinn Prize for Fiction national short fiction contest. After board members narrowed down 300 story submissions to nine finalists, renowned author and 2011 judge Steve Almond chose New York City resident B.G. Firmani’s story, “To the Garden,” as this year’s winner. The prize includes a $2,000 cash award and an invitation to an awards dinner to be held on October 14, 2011, in the Main Hall of Rosemont College.
After reviewing the work of the nine finalists and finally picking Firmani’s story, Almond revealed his struggles while choosing a winner: “I had no idea what to expect when I was asked to judge the Philadelphia Stories contest,” Almond says. “I knew, from looking over the magazine, that PS ran strong work. But I was absolutely blown away by the quality of these nine stories.”
Almond’s commentary on “To the Garden” makes it clear why B.G. Firmani was chosen to accept the $2,000 prize and publication in the magazine’s Winter issue: “It tells the story of a young woman, too smart for her circumstances, and battling to escape. The proximate setting Wilmington and its environs is rendered with stunning precision. But it’s a larger story than that. The story of race and class in this country, of the struggle to realize some brighter future in the face of a broken present. The true courage of this piece resides in its stubborn determination to confront the truth around us, and inside us.”
Firmani will be honored at an Awards Ceremony to be held on Friday, October 14, the evening before Philadelphia Stories’ annual Push to Publish conference. Both events will be held on the campus of Rosemont College, which offers an MFA in Creative Writing and an M.A. in Publishing. Rosemont College has actively supported the writing community through events like Push to Publish, back on Rosemont’s campus for the fifth year. “We feel very privileged to be part of Philadelphia's writing community and to provide a gathering place for writers to pursue their artistic dreams and professional goals,” says Randall Brown, Program Director M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Publishing M.A. Program Director Lynn Rosen says, “Our vibrant graduate programs in creative writing and publishing provide the kind of educational opportunity that launches many writers on their way toward publication.”
Firmani’s winning story will appear in the Fall 2011 print and online issue of Philadelphia Stories, which was released in mid-September. The Marguerite McGlinn Prize for Fiction is made possible by the generous support of the McGlinn family and the Dry Family Foundation. The prize commemorates Marguerite McGlinn, who served as Essay Editor of Philadelphia Stories until her passing in 2008.
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B.G. Firmani lives in New York City, where she works as a proposal writer for an architecture firm and writes a blog about Italian-American literature, Forte e Gentile (www.forte-e-gentile.blogspot.com). She has published fiction in the Bellevue Literary Review, BOMB, and the Kenyon Review, is a graduate of Barnard College and Brown University, and is currently working on a novel, The Ear and the Tail.
Steve Almond is the author of eight books, including the story collections My Life in Heavy Metal and The Evil B.B. Chow. In fall of 2011, Lookout Press will publish a new story collection, God Bless America.
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