I’m shocked, honored, astounded, and frankly a little baffled to announce that I am the winner of the 2021 Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize.

Anyone who knows my work knows that I write twisty, troubling tales of surprise, usually involving immigrants doing unexpected things in strange settings, fish women, food, ghosts, satire, and other horrible weirdness. That is to say: I write genre fiction. To be recognized for something more “literary” is really quite astonishing, but it also proves I’m doing something right by trying my hand at different things. I also decided that 2021 was the year of submitting to writing competitions, without ever dreaming I’d actually win one. And to win so soon after graduating from my MFA, when I was wobbling a bit? OK, universe. Loud and clear.

Flash fiction is usually 1,000 words or fewer. I submitted two stories for consideration to Pulp Literature: “Porch Swing” and “The Art of Ironing”. Both were longlisted, shortlisted, and the latter subsequently was picked as the winner by Flash maven Bob Thurber, who described it as “A neat portrait packed full of colorful descriptions and vivid imagery”. Considering my first ever review on Amazon called my writing “brutal, but clever”, I’ll take this all day long. Again, I’m really just overwhelmed that my story beat out hundreds of other stories from exceptionally talented writers who are far more adept at the “literary” Flash form than me.

A huge thank you to the team at Pulp Literature for finding inspiration in my account of the most utterly mundane and pointless activity: ironing. Also, thanks to my mother for teaching me how to iron as a teenager. I (grudgingly) admit it still comes in handy as an adult from time to time. Thank you to Bob Thurber for choosing my story (mine, wait, what?!), and thank you to the #writingcommunity for just, well, being there.

My winning story will appear in the Winter 2022 issue of Pulp Literature. If you can’t wait until then, check out my stupid face and voice as I find out I’m picked as the winner of the 2021 Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize on the live YouTube stream. Thank goodness I have a better grasp of written English than I do spoken.

This is my writing year.