The twenty writers presented here are by no means all the great new and emerging writers published during the past year in Narrative but well represent the strength and variety of upcoming talent today. Enjoy these twenty, and in the coming months look for more to come from these and other new writers in Narrative.
The phone never rings; those you’ve loved, long dead.
I eat what’s in front of me, as all great men do.
Karen was nothing, emptiness. She was oblivion.
I was a thing once. A coyote routing the timber.
PEN Open Book Award
Kate was like a connecting circuit lighting everything up.
All those feelings—you do not have them, they have you.
The future was ours to go in any direction we wanted.
She looked pretty, but he hadn’t told her so.
2011 PEN/O. Henry Prize
You’re not a soldier. You’re a dog, tail between his legs.
Don’t attract attention. Don’t be suspicious.
Our grandmothers were bakers, nurses, and traitors.
She imagines his clothes on the floor, arms around her.
He looks his high school crush full in the face.
You say this blackened smear is art. We do not see it.
All things are part of a good conspiracy.
Lily hated Ray’s cancer. She couldn’t see it or cure it.
Death is a lack, and love more so. But I will not falter.
War was about to begin, and the boys were in charge.