2022 Readers Award Winners
We are proud to announce the winners of the
2022 EQMM Readers Award!
One of the signs that the world is moving on from the pandemic (whether it should be considered “over” or not) is that writers are beginning to incorporate experiences from the past three years in their fiction. Experiences that were too close to explore a year or two ago are now appearing in stories submitted to us. Your choice for first place for the 2022 Readers Award is an example. W. Edward Blain’s powerful story “The Secret Sharer” (July/August 2022) grew out of teaching high school English remotely during COVID-19. The skillful incorporation of the circumstances of distant interaction between students and teachers in his plot is truly memorable, and despite the remoteness of the circumstances depicted, the story manages to be moving and surprising.
Edward Blain’s first short story, “The Director’s Notes,” was published in EQMM in 1995, but by that time he already had two novels in print, the first of them, Passion Play, a nominee for the 1991 Edgar Allan Poe Award for best first novel. Since his EQMM debut, he’s contributed a half dozen other stories to our pages. For thirty-eight years he taught senior English at Woodberry Forest School in Virginia. The school and his position there obviously played a big role in the development of his short-story series featuring teacher Driscoll Henry—the series to which his winning story belongs. He has now retired to his hometown of Roanoke to write more fiction, so stay tuned!
Second place this year goes to a Readers Award veteran. Doug Allyn is a ten-time first-place winner of the award. He’s also a multiple Edgar Allan Poe Award winner in the short-story category. Like this year’s first-place story, Doug Allyn’s winning tale “Blind Baseball” (May/June 2022) deals with a major crisis and its consequences—in this case, the Iraq War and several of its wounded and traumatized veterans. One of the Michigan author’s most innovative works, it’s essentially a quest story that incorporates smaller crime and thriller tales along the way. The author himself served in the military before becoming first a professional rock musician and then a writer. His stories have been a popular mainstay of EQMM for thirty-five years!
A secondary-school English teacher as well as an author of young-adult fiction, short stories, and poetry published in the New Yorker and elsewhere, Anna Scotti’s first work for EQMM appeared in 2018. She has since contributed eight more stories to our pages, including several installments of her “librarian on the run” series. Last year an entry in that series took fifth place in the Readers Award voting. Your choice for third place this year was one of her nonseries stories, “Schrödinger, Cat” (March/April 2022). It’s a story that “spoke to” readers, possibly because to many of us it felt as if we’d entered into an alternate reality during the pandemic, and it is professed alternate realities that lie at the heart of this immensely clever tale!
Congratulations to all of our winners!
- “Lucky Stars” by Karen Harrington
- “Book Lovers” by Hollis Seamon
- “The Wedding Funeral” by David Dean, “Best Served Cold” by Alice Hatcher, and “Something Blue” by G.M. Malliet (tie)
- “The Death-Camp Angel” by Doug Allyn and “The Kindness of Strangers” by Twist Phelan (tie)
- “The King’s Ferret” by David Dean, “The Musgrave Ritual” by Terence Faherty, and “Archie Smith: International Spy” by Dave Zeltserman (tie)
- “Rise” by Ashley-Ruth M. Bernier, “Russian for Beginners” by Dominique Bibeau, “Cardigans” by Wendy Hornsby, “Serving Process” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and “We Are All Strangers Here” by Art Taylor (tie)
- “Sit. Stay. Die.” by Michael Bracken and Sandra Murphy, “Creative Vice” by Scott William Carter, and “Their Last Bow” by Josh Pachter (tie)