Sponsored by the American Society of Magazine Editors

THE ASME AWARD


FOR FICTION 2019

Intended to celebrate the historic link between literary fiction and magazine journalism, the ASME Award for Fiction honors print magazines and magazine websites for overall excellence in fiction. An entry consists of three examples of short fiction written by one or more writers. Special weight is given to formally or thematically adventurous fiction. The winner receives a medal bearing the likeness of “Elephant,” the symbol of the National Magazine Awards.

The 2019 winner and finalists were chosen, subject to the approval of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Magazine Editors, by a jury chaired by Karolina Waclawiak, Executive Editor, Culture, BuzzFeed News. The jury also included Keith Gessen, George T. Delacorte Professor of Magazine Journalism, Columbia Journalism School, and Koa Beck, who serves on the board of directors of Nat.Brut and is a Joan Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School.


ASME AWARD FOR FICTION 2019 WINNER

Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern

Claire Boyle, Managing Editor

For “Skinned,” by Lesley Nneka Arimah, “Vinegar on the Lips of Girls,” by Julia Dixon Evans, and “Unsound,” by Maria Reva

Judges’ Citation
In these short stories, young women find the fortitude to liberate themselves from communities that are hostile to them. With crisp dialogue, melodic sentences and nimbly immersive world building, “Skinned,” “Vinegar on the Lips of Girls” and “Unsound,” deftly explore the imprisonment of young women by social convention and the peculiar and specific longing of girls. For its assured spirit—and its commitment to surprise—Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern is named the winner of the 2019 ASME Award for Fiction.


ASME AWARD FOR FICTION 2019 FINALISTS

Conjunctions

Bradford Morrow, Editor

For “What the River Saw,” by Diane Ackerman, “Why Brother Stayed Away,” by Ann Beattie, and “Transfer,” by Laura van den Berg

Judges’ Citation
In 2018, Conjunctions delivered three strong narratives with unique, resonating voices. From Laura van den Berg’s “Transfer,” which distills grief and detachment from an incisive, commanding first person, to “What the River Saw,” in which Diane Ackerman writes from the point of view of a river, the selections are nuanced and detailed, with clear windows into the characters—each story with a very different style. Such is the breadth of contemporary fiction.


The Georgia Review

Stephen Corey, Editor

For "These Things Happen Here, at This Time of Night," by Blair Hurley, "Toba Khedoori's Untitled (Table and Chair) (1999)," by Yxta Maya Murray, and "An Escalation," by Kelsey Norris

Judges’ Citation
Whether it was the grim corridors of a community college in “These Things Happen Here, at This Time of Night,” or a fashionable living room where a conceptual artist begs her girlfriend to film her dying in “Toba Khedooori’s Untitled (Table and Chair) (1999),” or a dystopian future where women are offered up as war loot in “An Escalation,” this year The Georgia Review used fiction to reveal the world we inhabit: dark and forbidding, with the possibility of grace.


The New Yorker

David Remnick, Editor

For “Under the Wave,” by Lauren Groff, “Omakase,” by Weike Wang, and "Chaunt," by Joy Williams

Judges’ Citation
Weike Wang’s hilarious story of an interracial date that goes on too long and reveals too much, Joy Williams’s haunting tale of a woman who has lost her child and cannot relinquish her guilt and Lauren Groff’s gut-wrenching near-fable about an America increasingly racked by climate change, and refusing to face the truth, show that The New Yorker remains a home for fiction both strange and familiar, and always profoundly of the moment.


Oxford American

Eliza Borné, Editor

For “Resurrection Hardware; Or, Lard & Promises,” by Randall Kenan, “Eggs,” by Mary Miller, and “The Stephanies,” by Thomas Pierce

Judges’ Citation
Each of these stories is wildly different, but all share a stylish and thoroughly modern understanding of relationships. “Resurrection Hardware; Or, Lard & Promises” plays with form and convention—at once a love story, a ghost story and a satirical romp. In “Eggs,” a despondent narrator sees herself wafting backward as the lives of others move forward. “The Stephanies” is a hilariously dark look at what it would look like if we were sifted into another world.