Twelve years ago, with the support of Emily Hammond and Steven Schwartz, now Colorado Review’s fiction editor, we founded the Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction as a way to honor the memory of Liza Nelligan, a dear friend and Colorado State University English Department alumna. Nelligan passed away in 2003, and the Prize seeks to celebrate her life, work, and love of creative writing by awarding an honorarium and publication each year to the author of an outstanding short story. This year’s winner, featured in this issue, is Luke Dani Blue’s “Bad Things That Happen to Girls,” selected by Lauren Groff, who says of this story,

The magic in this story is subtle and slow-building and so unprepossessing that, while reading it, I understood I was holding my breath only when the story started to swim before me. Poor Birdie, poor Tricia! This story’s wisdom resides in the complicated web of emotion between mother and daughter, the gnarl of tenderness and fury and frustration and embarrassment, of primal loss and of overwhelming love. It’s a story that aches with truth and desperation, and I marvel at the way Blue ratchets up the motion, breath by breath, to the story’s logical but stunning end.

Also in the fiction section, we have Robyn Carter’s “Orphan Girl Mine,” in which a woman meets the brother she never knew she had as they attend to the remains of the father who abandoned them both. Christopher Torockio joins us with “Township,” the story of two people who form a decades-long bond over the death of a stranger. And in Melissa Yancy’s “Hounds,” a reconstructive-surgery program coordinator and the former patient with whom she’s had an affair have an uncomfortable reunion.

In nonfiction, Jan Becker finds solace in The Tibetan Book of the Dead as she works through her grief in “Inside the Chönyid Bardo.” Dionisia Morales contemplates the meaning of home as she and her husband consider moving to Germany. And Ira Sukrungruang recalls his first visit, as a very young boy, to Thailand in “Eat.”

It’s an issue packed, as usual, with compelling stories, essays, and poems. Please join us, as the chill begins to creep into the air, and wrap yourself in these pages.
—Stephanie G’Schwind

Featured in This Issue

Rae Armantrout, Jan Becker, Anna Lena Phillips Bell, Chad Bennett, Luke Dani Blue, Robyn Carter, Brittany Cavallaro, Richard Deming, Wayne Dodd, Brenda Iijima, Megan Kaminski, Karla Kelsey, Christopher Kempf, Spencer Lenfield, Giacomo Leopardi, Lucretius, Nathaniel Mackey, Kyle McCord, Rachel Mennies, Martin Monahan, Dionisia Morales, Jesse Morse, Simon Neely, Katherine Painter, Brittany Perham, Ben Purkert, Rachel Rinehart, Ira Sadoff, Auesta Safi, Jonathan Skinner, Jennifer Sperry Steinorth, Ira Sukrungruang, Jane Syersak, Tom Thompson, Christopher Torockio, Melissa Yancy

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