|Garrett Theige, winner of the 2017 Danahy Fiction Prize|
Garrett Theige, of Andover, Massachusetts, has been selected as the winner of the eleventh annual Danahy Fiction Prize by the editors of Tampa Review. He receives a cash award of $1,000 and his winning short story, “Blast Radius,” will be published in the forthcoming Fall/Winter issue of Tampa Review.
This will be a first fiction publication for Theige, who has substantial work in print as a journalist and teaches English at the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.
Theige grew up in the suburbs of Detroit and graduated from the University of Missouri with degrees in magazine journalism and English. His previous writing experience includes work as a sports reporter and freelance magazine writer in Missouri, two summers as a newspaper reporter in Michigan, and work as a reporter in Grand Forks, North Dakota, before moving to Andover to teach.
“Blast Radius,” while set within the confines of a central character’s apartment, has its origins from a global perspective. The story gradually reveals the frightening awareness of an approaching worldwide destruction.
“I wrote a much shorter version of ‘Blast Radius’ in 2013 while studying in Pamplona, Spain,” Theige says. “My roommate and most of my friends were vacationing in other countries, which left me with an unusually quiet apartment and an entire week to myself. Pamplona itself also felt pretty hushed that week, as if the blankets of clouds were muffling the normal sounds of the city. I'm somewhat of a classic extrovert, so I usually cope with silence by doing a lot of writing. That first version of the story reflected a lot of that week—Jerry [the central character] wandered around his apartment while wondering about the outside world in the face of a looming apocalypse.”
“I put the story away for three years until I returned to it this past fall to expand it,“ Theige said.
Tampa Review judges praised Theige for his use of vivid and original detail, controlled pacing of his plot, and a clear and evocative prose style.
“Garrett's story was unusual in the best ways,” said one of the judges, fiction editor Yuly Restrepo. “Its dystopian, apocalyptic setting is immediately engaging, but what makes it a winner is the humanity at its core.”
This year judges also named two runners-up for the Danahy Prize: Alicia Fuhrman of Northampton, Massachusetts, for “Salvage,” and Ron MacLean of Roslindale, Massachusetts, for “Lesser Escape Artists.”
“It was a real surprise to discover the coincidence that these top three writers are all living in Massachusetts,” said Richard Mathews, editor of Tampa Review. “That’s never happened before. But when we contacted Garrett Theige to tell him he’d won, we found out he’d moved out of Fargo, North Dakota, where he lived when he submitted his story, and he now lives in Massachusetts. It’s definitely a literary state!”
The Danahy Fiction Prize was established by Paul and Georgia Danahy as an annual award for a previously unpublished work of short fiction judged by the editors of Tampa Review, the faculty-edited literary journal of the University of Tampa, published twice yearly in a distinctive hardback format. Subscriptions are $25 annually, and subscriptions received by the end of August will begin with the issue featuring Theige’s prize-winning story.
The Danahy Fiction Prize is open to both new and widely published writers, with an annual postmark deadline of December 31. The $20 entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Tampa Review, and all entries submitted are considered for publication.
Complete guidelines are available on the Web at www.ut.edu/tampareview or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to The Danahy Fiction Prize, University of Tampa Press, 401 West Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, FL 33606.