Announcing the winners of the Insider Prize

Insider Prize feature image by Maurice Chammah

Submissions to The Insider Prize—a writing contest for incarcerated writers in Texas, which we held for the first time this year—came to us in envelopes of many sizes. Most had been previously opened, with a red TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS stamp on the inside of the lip of the envelope that had been taped shut after an inspection. Some were composed on a typewriter. Others were handwritten. Like many literary journals, American Short Fiction accepts only electronic submissions. And while much of what I read comes from a screen, I often forget the human component to words, to the process of physically creating the letters and shapes that appear on a page. With these submissions, we felt the labor and work that had gone into the creation of words, and worlds. We physically held them in our hands. Receiving these submissions directly from the writers, I was reminded that literature is, at heart, epistolary. […]

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