I learned today that How to Die Young in Nebraska, my collection of short fiction, was a semi-finalist in the Iowa Short Fiction Award. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it is no longer in the running for the publication prize, as the book is not among the finalists. A previous version of the collection was also a semi-finalist in 2009.
According to the letter sent by the contest administrators, there were nearly 400 manuscripts entered, and How to Die Young placed among the final twenty. I think it’s a little dubious to glean too much from such statistics–as you can never really know the quality of the books you were up against–but this is one of the premier first book contests out there and it’s probably safe to say that the competition was strong. It’s disappointing to lose out, but the recognition is nice. Hopefully it’s a sign of good things to come.