Conjunctions, Harper's Magazine, The New Yorker and VQR are named finalists

NEW YORK, NY (January 30, 2018)—The American Society of Magazine Editors today announced the winners and finalists of the inaugural ASME Award for Fiction. Zoetrope: All-Story was named the winner of the award. The finalists included Conjunctions, Harper’s Magazine, The New Yorker and Virginia Quarterly Review.

“ASME is proud to recognize the achievements of these five publications,” said Sid Holt, chief executive of ASME. “Fiction has played a fundamental role in magazine making for three centuries. The work we honor today underscores the importance of fiction to the millions of Americans who rely on magazines not only for news and information but also for entertainment and insight.”

The ASME Award for Fiction—a newly designed medal—will be presented to Michael Ray, the editor of Zoetrope: All-Story, at the Ellie Awards Annual Luncheon on Tuesday, March 13, at Cipriani Wall Street in New York. The copper-colored medal bears the likeness of Alexander Calder’s stabile “Elephant,” the symbol of the National Magazine Awards and the reason the awards are known as the Ellies. The four finalists will each receive certificates of recognition.

Intended to celebrate the historic link between literary fiction and magazine journalism, the ASME Award for Fiction honors print magazines and magazine websites for overall excellence in fiction. An entry consists of three examples of short fiction.

The 2018 winner and finalists were chosen, subject to the approval of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Magazine Editors, by a jury chaired by Roger D. Hodge, Deputy Editor, The Intercept. The jury included Keith Gessen, George Delacorte Professor of Magazine Journalism, Columbia University; Donovan Hohn, Associate Professor, Wayne State University; Scott Stossel, Editor, Magazine, The Atlantic; and Karolina Waclawiak, Executive Editor, Culture, BuzzFeed.

ASME Award for Fiction 2018 Winner

Zoetrope: All-Story
Michael Ray, Editor

For “The Tornado Auction,” by Karen Russell, Summer; “Proof,” by Elizabeth McCracken, Fall; and “The Full Middle of Zero,” by Onyinye Ihezukwu, Fall

[Citation] These three stories exemplify what fiction can do to clarify our current moment. In each, characters search for ways to connect, often injuring themselves further. Russell’s innovation is unmatched as she follows a rancher who traps wild weather, trying to conjure crisis to avoid his own. McCracken navigates heartbreak and humor with the nimbleness that makes her one of the most exciting short story writers working today. Ihezukwu’s world, in which older men take advantage of young women, feels not only timely but, as described in her singular voice, startlingly new. For its commitment to inventive, adventurous storytelling, Zoetrope: All-Story is named the winner of the 2018 ASME Award for Fiction.

ASME Award for Fiction 2018 Finalists

Bradford Morrow, Editor

For “Euphoria,” by Can Xue, translated from Chinese by Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping, Spring; “Fractal,” by Joyce Carol Oates, Spring; and “My Uncle Dave Reads Spinoza as His Cookie Business Collapses Due to a Rise in the Price of Sugar in the Dominican Republic,” by Peter Orner, Fall

[Citation] In Conjunctions, the structure of the universe becomes a template for literary experimentation as Can Xue, Joyce Carol Oates and Peter Orner explore the boundaries of mind and body. Perception, memory and fantasy can be difficult to distinguish in these three stories, but the emotional impact on the reader is unmistakable.

Harper’s Magazine
James Marcus, Editor

For “My First Car,” by Joy Williams, May; “Bonebreaker,” by Nell Zink, June; and “The Mustache in 2010,” by Joseph O’Neill, July

[Citation] Harper’s Magazine gives us three powerfully troubling visions of 21st-century America. “My First Car” drifts, artfully, disorientingly, through a desolate Southwest. “Bonebreaker” is the bleakly humorous and wildly unpredictable story of two paranoid journalists. “The Mustache in 2010” slyly, sorrowfully ambushes readers. All three stories display formal daring, originality of style—and wit.

The New Yorker
David Remnick, Editor

For “A Love Story,” by Samantha Hunt, May 22; “As You Would Have Told It to Me (Sort Of) If We Had Known Each Other Before You Died,” by Jonas Hassen Khemiri, September 25; and “Cat Person,” by Kristen Roupenian, December 11

[Citation] These three pieces show The New Yorker on the cutting edge of storytelling. "Cat Person," the story of a flirtation conducted by text, which leads to a catastrophically bad date, became the most-read piece of short fiction this year. “As You Would Have Told It to Me (Sort Of) If We Had Known Each Other Before You Died” is high-concept metafiction that keeps readers questioning their every assumption. "A Love Story" is an excoriating yet lyrical take on our views of motherhood and marriage.

Virginia Quarterly Review
Paul Reyes, Editor

For “Backcountry,” by Maggie Shipstead, Winter; “Badlands,” by Christina Wood Martinez, Fall; and “Blue Rock,” by Nathaniel Rich, Fall

[Citation] These three stories from Virginia Quarterly Review are distinguished by their humor, dexterity and sense of dread. Nathaniel Rich unspools a yarn of danger and betrayal on the high seas; Christina Wood Martinez shows people lost in the labyrinth of history; and Maggie Shipstead describes the unforgiving passage of time, where loved ones turn up dead after the snows melt, or worse. No wonder VQR is considered a fiction powerhouse.

All publication dates 2017 unless otherwise indicated

About ASME

The American Society of Magazine Editors is the principal organization for magazine journalists in the United States. The members of ASME include the editorial leaders of most major consumer and business magazines published in print and on digital platforms. Founded in 1963, ASME works to defend the First Amendment, protect editorial independence and support the development of journalism. ASME sponsors the National Magazine Awards for Print and Digital Media in association with the Columbia Journalism School and publishes the ASME Guidelines for Editors and Publishers.


Sid Holt
[email protected]

Susan Russ
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