When Larry McMurtry agreed in 2011 to guest-judge The Texas Observer’s first short story contest, we at the magazine were thrilled: what better name to attach to a Texas-based writing competition than the man who authored Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show, and so many other memorable books?
What we didn’t expect was that so many people outside of Texas would match our excitement. Stories arrived from all 50 states and from Russia, Korea, Australia and Germany.
In the end, Mr. McMurtry kept the prize here in Texas, choosing McAllen’s Brian Allen Carr as the winner for his anti-cowboy myth story, “The First Henley.”
Last year a new guest judge, Heidi Durrow (author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, and winner of the 2008 Bellwether Prize for Fiction) selected Larina Lavergne’s “Water Birth” as the contest’s winner. Lavergne is a North Carolina native. As in 2011, stories came in from dozens of U.S. states and foreign countries—but the four runners-up were all Texas writers. Great writing can come from any corner of the globe, but Texans are natural-born storytellers, and our contest results reflect it.
We’re looking for more great writing this year. Short story eminence Dagoberto Gilb—no stranger to Texas letters—is judging our 2013 short story contest. The winning writer receives $1,000 and publication in our annual Books Issue and online. CLICK HERE for all the relevant information, and to SUBMIT.
Then send us your most artful fiction, your tallest tall tales, your most colorful characters, your cleverest plots, your wittiest and most touching anecdotes. Make us laugh. Make us cry. Make us proud to publish your story in our pages.