2024 TWFest Very Short Fiction Finalists

Congratulations to our 2024 Very Short Fiction Contest Finalists. Thanks to our very short fiction judge, Tara Lynn Masih, and our contest coordinator, James Giltenan.

Pictured above from the top, left to right, our finalists are:

Stacey Balkun is the author of Sweetbitter and co-editor of Fiolet & Wing. Winner of the 2019 New South Writing Contest, her work has appeared in Best New Poets, Mississippi Review, Pleiades, and several other anthologies and journals. Stacey holds an MFA from Fresno State and teaches online at The Poetry Barn and The Loft. She lives and writes in New Orleans.

RUNNER-UP: Trevor Crown is a writer from Thousand Oaks, California. He holds a BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an MFA from the University of Florida. His work has appeared in The Threepenny Review, Two Hawks Quarterly, and Glimmer Train. Starting in Spring of 2024, he’ll be developing writing workshops for 826LA, a nonprofit that empowers students by strengthening their creative writing skills. He lives in Atwater Village, Los Angeles with his wife and their two cats.

Rob Doughten is an unpublished writer residing in New Orleans. He’s a public servant who has lived extensively overseas in Estonia, Russia, Mozambique, Romania, and India. He grew up in Eastern Montana.

RUNNER-UP:Ronan Fenton is an Irish writer living in London.  He writes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama and art criticism.  His work has been published in Poetry Ireland Review, Trampset, Minor Literatures, Mercurius, and The Citron Review, amongst others. 

Giselle Gerbrecht is a writer and photographer. A proud Jersey Girl, she is intrigued by matrilineal bloodlines and the relationship between memory and pictures. Her work has been published in the New Flash Fiction Review. She is currently at work on her debut novel. She lives in the American West and at gisellegerbrecht.com. 

WINNER: Rachel Kerger (she, her) is currently a third year MFA fiction candidate at Georgia College & State University. Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, Rachel’s writing features stories about the Midwest and being endlessly homesick in your own skin. Her first published piece of prose was featured in the spring 2023 collection for the Rathalla Review.

Elianna Miranda is an emerging southern Colombian writer who resides in Georgia. She is the only daughter of Colombian immigrants who settled in the south after her father retired from the Army close to 40 years ago. Her 9-5 is consulting work, primarily in the fields of project management and communications but her passion is in fiction writing… mainly in the genres of familial dysfunction and cultural religious mysticism. She is currently working on a collection of short stories centered on generational trauma and the intertwined magic embedded between American therapies and Hispanic healing practices.

Tochukwu Okafor is an MFA candidate at Emerson College and holds a master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University. He is a 2022 Kurt Brown Prize winner for Fiction. He has received scholarships, grants, and fellowships from PEN America, Elizabeth George Foundation, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Oxbelly, Iceland Writers Retreat, Ucross Foundation, Lighthouse Writers’ Workshop, Kimbilio, GrubStreet, Aspen Words, Vermont Studio Center, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts. His work has appeared in the 2023 Latino Book Review Magazine, the 2019 Best Small Fictions, and the 2018 Best of the Net. He is at work on a novel and a story collection. He lives in Massachusetts, USA.

Lou Storey is a retired psychotherapist and visual artist whose writing progressed from academic into something more personal. His publications include The New Yorker, New York Times Tiny Love Stories, Burningword Journal, River Teeth’s Beautiful Things, Blue Mountain Literary Review, Multiplicity Magazine, Beyond Queer Words Anthology, Short Story Competition Winner, WriteTime Magazine, Tin Can Literary Review, Foundation Theology Journal, and he was a featured artist in Marcia Butler’s 2019 documentary film The Creative Imperative. Lou lives in Savannah Georgia, with Steve, his steadfast husband of thirty-five years.  

Helen Valenta is a Chicago playwright whose work has appeared in many small theatres around town. Her radio play, We are all Foreigners Here, was on the BBC’s Commended list. Her play about Bob Hull, founder of the Mattachine Society, was a finalist for the Arch and Bruce Brown Award. She has an MA in writing.