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The Winner of the Per Contra Prize for Short Fiction


In September of 2007, we opened submissions for short fiction between 1,000 and 3,000 words.  By January 31, 2008, we received fiction submissions from writers spanning five continents and many cultures.  ...From all that entered, ten stories were selected.  The Grand Prize Winner is published in this issue.


Grief Mongers - from the coming novel Swallow by Sefi Atta

"I’d reached the gates of our block of flats when I saw a bright light in our back yard. It seemed as if a star had fallen from the sky and landed there. I heard voices and knew that a crowd was gathered. Mama Chidi, one of the tenants of our block, who had four children and a baby she carried on her back, was standing by our gates. She was trembling. I thought we’d had armed robbers again."


Nothing - Flash Fiction by Dave Clapper

"Irish Catholic, Da. Ten, twelve, fourteen, we lost count. Lots of babies. Most of 'em alive. Mum probably knew the count, but she was too tired to tell us."


Tsitsi Dangarembga, the Per Contra Interview with Miriam N. Kotzin

"I think the key factor in my evolution was curiosity, a perpetual asking “what if?" Sometimes now I think I don’t really want to know. But it is hard to change the way I have been operating for so long. I think again I have had to be absolutely hard-headed. A few days ago I went to a public meeting in town. I asked a question that quite a few people did not like. Afterwards a young man came up, addressed me by my first name and demanded to know by what authority I had dared open my mouth! Male chauvinism in Zimbabwe is rampant and I have had to fight this all my life."


Through the Looking Glass, from the novel Bira, a Novel by Tsitsi Dangarembga

"As for giving to people pieces of one‘s mind, wasn't it precisely that effort that led to my expulsion.  I should have known better than to talk back to Mrs May.  It was my fault.  In this way I sought for control. The truth was, I did not wish to leave the young women’s boarding house."


How They Met - from the novel His Wife Leaves Him by Stephen Dixon

"Or maybe she would have let the door close.  Intentionally, because she still might have felt he wanted to hurt her, or because she couldn’t get to the right button in time.  If that had happened, he thinks he would have run to the stairway and down the five flights."


Backbone - Flash Fiction by Kathy Fish

"We were well-tended, like livestock. Still, we imagined the car careening off the road, our bodies like Lincoln Logs in the ditch. The headline: Grundy Triplets Perish Unnecessarily."


Blaming Madame Kay - Flash Fiction by Antonios Maltezos

"You can’t silence them completely,” she’d said, “but you can muffle their voices so you don’t know what they’re saying."



© 2005 - 2008 Per Contra: The International Journal of the Arts, Literature and Ideas.