I’m going to take a break from vouching specific stories today to instead vouch 50. The wigleaf Top 50 [Very] Short Stories of 2011 list was just released a few days ago, and I wanted to point everyone to it.
And, okay. So 2011 isn’t even half way over yet, but wigleaf is aware of that, and the award is always somewhat retro in that 2010 sort of way.
But I want to take a quick moment and talk about how awesome this list is, not only for the readers, but for the authors who made it, because I’ll embarrass myself right now and say when Andrew from Freight Stories called me in ’09 to tell me I’d made it, I was all, “Oh, cool. That’s pretty rad. Thanks for calling.” I had never heard of wigleaf, and only knew a couple of the other authors on the list. And let’s face it, I was kind of an ass.
If you’re reading this now, and you’re on this list, and you’re thinking that: don’t do that.
Let me tell you now, there are 1000s of stories published every year that fit the requirements for this award, and I’m not just talking about Ol’ Shmoe publishing on his blog. I’m talking stories published in really incredible online journals like PANK, The Collagist, Used Furniture, Lamination Colony, Word Riot, storySouth, Abjective, &c. &c. &c. Some real competition. And from those 1000s, the editors of wigleaf cull a longlist of 200 stories, and from there, a guest editor chisels it to their favorite 50.
If the process isn’t enough to convince you where you are, look at some of the names around you: Blake Butler, Matt Bell, Tina May Hall, Tadd Adcox, Aaron Burch, Roxane Gay, Tim Jones-Yelvington, Matthew Salesses, Jim Ruland, Amber Sparks, Terese Svoboda, James Yeh, David Peak, Kyle Minor, &c. &c. &c.
If you don’t know these names yet, then get reading. I didn’t know most of them a couple years ago either, and now I feel like I’m just catching up to where I could be as a writer and a reader if I had.
To all the writers who made this year’s top 50, a huge congrats to you, and I hope you recognize the honor of it. To all the readers out there, spend some time with this list. You’ll find in it the tremblings of a new literature.