2014 Creative Loafing Fiction Contest 

Finding the myriad meanings in this year's theme, "Race"

The pleasures of a short story should be multifaceted. Rather than just plot or just characters or just language, a story should become something larger than the sum of its parts when read. As it unfolds, we should find those parts to be interwoven in a way that is both myriad and whole.

When deciding on a theme for the fiction contest this year, we wanted to find a word that would allow for a wide range of interpretations and inspirations. We hoped that writers would find the various meanings of the word "race" both fascinating and challenging. Thankfully, they did.

As judge Jamie Quatro noted after reading this year's finalists, the three winning stories each engage "race" in a different way. D.C. Hodgens' subtle story of work and ambition, "With Apologies to Gene Fowler," gives us the pressures of a sibling rat race as well as another, more dangerous race of sorts. Kate Sweeney's "The Pain Study," gives an evocative glimpse in the life a woman as she trains for a marathon. Alex Gallo-Brown's "Surfaces" gives us a sharp, jagged glimpse into the way that appearance and race divides people every day.

Be sure to download the second volume of our Fiction Contest ebook, which includes this year's winners as well as stories reaching all the way back to our 2010 contest.

— Wyatt Williams


With Apologies to Gene Fowler

First Place


The Pain Study

Second Place



Third Place



Jamie Quatro is the author of the story collection I Want to Show You More, a 2013 New York Times Notable Book. She lives with her family in Lookout Mountain, Ga.


Dr. John Holman is the author of a short story collection, Squabble and Other Stories, and a novel, Luminous Mysteries. He serves as co-director of the Creative Writing Program at Georgia State University.

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