From Our Staff | August 01, 2012

We are pleased to announce that A.R. Rea’s short story “The Silver Bullet” is the winner of this year’s William Peden Prize, our annual $1000 award for the best short story published in the previous volume of The Missouri Review. Her stories and essays have appeared in Pushcart Prize XXXV, The Kenyon Review, The Iowa Review, Indiana Review, New South and has been awarded fellowships at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Institute of Creative Writing in Wisconsin and Jentel Artist Residency in Wyoming.

Our judge was Seth Fried, author of The Great Frustration. Seth made his selection from the stories published in Volume 34 (2011). There is no separate application process for the award. A few weeks ago, we sent an email to Seth and asked if he wouldn’t mind being our judge, rereading the last four issues (because he’s a contributor and subscriber, you know, he’s actually already read ‘em), and he graciously agreed. Seth will be posting to our blog in the forthcoming soon and provide a more detailed explanation of what he loved about this story. In the meanwhile, here’s an excerpt:

By the summer of 1984, bankruptcy was so close we could taste it. It tasted like beans, which we ate with growing frequency, and it tasted like fear. It tasted like the cigarettes my mother lit one off the next. My father, meanwhile, fell into deep silences. He stood with his arms crossed, contemplating our many orange Herefords, once valuable enough to warrant his near-constant attention, now worth less than three dimes a pound. The cows looked back, chewing their cuds, oblivious to soaring feed prices, unacquainted with terms like “mortgaged” and “remortgaged.” Neighbors came by to look at the equipment, offering such trifling amounts that my father’s face reddened. He turned them down, but they called again, offering less.

If you haven’t read it already (why haven’t you read it already?!), “The Silver Bullet” is in the Summer 2011 issue, which you’ll have to dig for because that issue is sold out. However! Rea will be coming to Columbia, Missouri this autumn. Our annual Peden Prize reception and reading will be held at P.S. Gallery on Monday October 8th at 630 pm. This event will be free and open to the public. If you’re in the area, you should come by, drink wine, eat hors d’oeuvres, and hear a terrific reading!

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