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We’re thrilled to announce the finalists of the inaugural Lake Prize! We received many, many extraordinary submissions and making the final selections was almost impossible, so thank you for submitting your best work for us to read. Congratulations to everyone who participated, and to the winners!
All of the stories listed here will be featured in Issue 16 (Winter 2015).
Winner: “Our Lady of Cleveland” by Brian Petkash
Brian Petkash was born and raised in his beloved Cleveland, Ohio, a focal point of many of his writings. He’s a graduate from the University of Tampa with an MFA in creative writing. Currently living in Tampa, Florida, and working as both a marketing professional and a teacher of high school literature and creative writing, Brian’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in El Portal and Southword.
Fiction judge Ander Monson had this to say about Brian’s story: I particularly admired several things about “Our Lady of Cleveland.” For starters, it’s about work, and there aren’t enough stories about work, which is how most of us spend a great part of our lives. Perhaps that’s because most work’s not very dramatic. This work, though, is: literally (life and) death. But even more important is how work allows the story to access the headspace of the protagonist and his history and the many tensions operating on him at once. Get an interesting character, wind him up with a bunch of pressures and contexts, and let him go. Bravo.
Runner-up: “Just For Now” by Sarah Terez Rosenblum
Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for publications and sites including The Chicago Sun Times, XOJane, afterellen.com, Curve Magazine and Pop Matters. Her fiction has appeared in literary magazines such as kill author and Underground Voices, and she was a 2011 recipient of Carve Magazine’s Esoteric Fiction Award. Her 2012 debut novel, Herself When She’s Missing, was called “poetic and heartrending” by Booklist. She lives in Chicago where she founded the Truth or Lie Live Lit Series. When not writing, she supports herself as a figure model, Spinning Instructor and creative writing teacher at Story Studio and The University of Chicago’s Graham School. Inevitably one day Sarah will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She’s kind of looking forward to it, actually. Follow her on Twitter or on Facebook.
Runner-up: “Please Don’t Make Us Come Down” by Aaron M. Geer
Aaron M. Geer is originally from Lowell, Michigan, and graduated from Western Michigan University in 2012. He now lives in Greenville, North Carolina, and studies and teaches English at East Carolina University. His writing has appeared in The Litribune, The Laureate, Asylum Lake, and was recently a Finalist for Glimmer Train‘s March 2014 Family Matters Contest.
Special Mention: “Japan Air, 1985” by Katie Steen
Katie Steen is a recent English/Education graduate from the University of Michigan. She has spent the last four years shuffling between the cozy co-ops of Ann Arbor, glass-glittered streets of Detroit, and sleepy suburbs of Grosse Pointe, where she grew up. Though Katie loves Michigan and all of its Midwestern manners and lakey grandeur, she’s excited to leave this state—at least for a little bit—because almost all of her friends have already deserted her, and anyway, it’s time to see something new. She will be moving to Slovakia for a year to teach English through the Fulbright Program. Slovakia isn’t exactly known for its lakes, so Katie will have to find a nice river nearby to stare at when she needs to think.