Zach Falcon, 37, of Iowa City, earned the recognition for his story “The Malamute.” The honor came from the United Kingdom’s Bridport Prize, which will be announced today. The Press-Citizen received an embargoed copy of the announcement and originally posted it (this version has been edited for clarity):
“I was delighted. I know writers sometimes make too much of it being a lonely and solitary endeavor, so I don’t want to complain about it. Any sort of recognition is exciting,” Falcon said in a telephone interview.
The annual competition recognizes top submissions for stories and poetry. The contest is open internationally and received over 14,000 entries from more than 75 countries.
Falcon, who was born and raised in Alaska, is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, as well as the University of Michigan law school and Columbia University. After college, he returned to live in Alaska until he came to Iowa City to attend the Writers’ Workshop in 2007.
He graduated in May and stuck around to finish a collection of short stories and to work on a novel, he said.
“The Malamute” is set in his hometown of Kodiak, Alaska. The story explores the trials and tribulations of a small-town community.
“I was frankly surprised (the judge) selected it,” Falcon said. “It is a fairly grim story. It doesn’t have a lot of humor or levity. The (criterion) asked for something a little more lighthearted. I sent it anyway, and I am delighted she selected it.”
“The Malamute” will go into an anthology with the other winners, Falcon said. Falcon was pleased that the voice of an American, and more specifically an Alaskan, is being recognized in an international competition, he said.
“It’s a major award,” the local man said (no he didn’t)
Some comments from competition judge Ali Smith were included in press material about the prize.
“All good writing is about economy, edit, rhythm and precision; the short story form demonstrates this to the other literary forms. An end, when it comes, should always send you back to the beginning, because a good story, like any real art, demands revisitation. A good short story is lifelong,” Smith wrote.
Cheers to Randy Crow