From Our Staff | September 08, 2008

The deadline for our 18th Annual Editors’ Prize is less than a month away, and as the submissions start to roll in, we’re finding ourselves a little misty-eyed nostalgic for past editors’ prize winners. Of course, I was not with the Missouri Review for the first 15 years of the contest (so I’m not really THAT misty-eyed), but still, as one of this year’s contest editors, I was curious to see what stories from the past merited the coveted Editors’ Prize. Over the next few weeks, leading up to the contest deadline, fellow contest editor Allyson Miller and I will be re-visiting previous prize winners in fiction, in no particular order, and will give you the opportunity to read them as well by providing a link to the stories on our website. The first story is the 2001 fiction winner, “Nine Worthy and the Best That Ever Were” by Austin Ratner. Ratner’s story uses Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur as an ironic template to reveal the story of a doctor—“Sir” Israel Schelde—his life, love and legacy. Each segment of the story has a heading inspired by the Malory’s epic, a brief title that summarizes what is to follow, for example “HOW ISRAEL SCHELDE WAS CHASTENED AND BADE ANON TO FORSWEAR HIS PENNE BY JAMES HELPERN, THE GHOST BOY.” It is interesting to compare the heroic imagery evoked by these headings to the realism of the passages that follow them. To get to the story, click or copy/paste to your browser:

For more details on our Editors’ Prize contest, click the link on our homepage, or go to