I won an award from the Florida Writers Association for the short story in Ashes. (“Baby, Can I Bum a Cigarette?”) Considering it was the first thing I wrote seriously ( aside from a passel of letters to my analyst) it took me by surprise, but it’s a tremendous coup.
There’s a big thing in publishing these days: Literary vs. Commercial.
Technically, I’m more literary, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Think: Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and everything by Toni Morrison. While they honor a literary style, the FWA looks for enough of a commercial edge to make the piece sell-worthy, so winning that little chunk of Lucite was a major coup.
BTW, yes, it reads “Calli” Levison. At the time, my analyst was insistent that I “keep his name out of it” so I was afraid to use any version of Kathryn or Kate. But over time, he’s loosened up, and the win is still valid.
While it didn’t quite whet my appetite for competitions—which can be pricey—some other opportunities came along so I decided to give them a shot. I’ve collected nothing but rejections since then, but that can be fun, too. I now have a pretty cool thing for my Literary Bucket List:
Matching rejection letters from both the New Yorker and Vanity Fair!
CLICK HERE and pick up this little gem for a song.