VCU is proud to host the inaugural winner of the Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto Short Fiction Prize for outstanding short fiction, author Kelly Cherry. The event will take place on March 28, 2012 at the VCU Scott House at 8PM. The prize is sponsored by the family of Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto in her memory to honor her devotion to the art of writing fiction, to expand the audience for outstanding short stories. Cherry will receive the award and give a joint reading with acclaimed short story writer, Ron Carlson.
Cherry’s award wining story, “On Familiar Terms,” was selected by the editors from fiction published in Blackbird in 2011. The story demanded our attention for innumerable reasons; a subtle narrative voice, a masterful compression of time, and an affectionate portrayal of character only lead the list. You can read the story at:
Kelly Cherry is the author of twenty books of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction; eight chapbooks; and translations of two classical plays. Her recent titles include a collection of short stories titled The Woman Who (Boson Books, 2010), a memoir titled Girl in a Library: On Women Writers & the Writing Life (BkMk Press, 2009), and The Retreats of Thought: Poems (Louisiana State University Press, 2009). Cherry is the current Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Other honors include the Hanes Prize for Poetry from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, fellowships from the NEA and the Rockefeller Foundation, and a USIS Speaker Award to the Philippines.
Ron Carlson’s most recent book is the novel The Signal from Viking. His short stories have appeared in Esquire, Harpers, The New Yorker, and other journals, as well as The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize series, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction and other anthologies. Ron Carlson Writes a Story, his book on writing, is taught widely. He has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Cohen Prize at Ploughshares, the McGinnis Award at the Iowa Review, the Aspen Literary Award. His novel Five Skies was One Book Rhode Island in 2009. He is Director of the Graduate Program in Fiction at the University of California, Irvine.
The Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto Short Fiction Prize is sponsored by the family of Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto in her memory to honor her devotion to the art of writing fiction, to expand the audience for outstanding short stories, and to encourage literary excellence among writers early in their careers. $2,000 will be awarded periodically to the best work of short fiction published by Blackbird, with a particular emphasis on work by an emerging or underappreciated writer.
No application form or fee is required; all short fiction submitted to the journal is eligible. For more information, please see:
Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto was born September 21, 1945 in Richmond, Virginia. She died in October of 2007 after being struck in a pedestrian crosswalk in Carmel by the Sea, California. Her sustained interest in writing led to her fiction being published in a number of literary journals as well as winning several competitions, including the 1996 and 2000 Short Fiction contests sponsored by Richmond Magazine. She was a graduate of St. Gertrude’s High School in Richmond and of Virginia Commonwealth University(class of 1967), and in 1971 she received an MA in English from the University of Michigan.
While funding for the prize itself comes from an endowment established at VCU by her husband, David Tarumoto, the Department of English welcomes contributions in support of the inaugural celebration event as well as the outreach activities of the Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto Prize. Anyone wishing to make a donation is invited to visit the secure online contributions page: