blackbirdonline journalSpring 2011  Vol. 10  No. 1
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A joint venture of the Department of English at Virginia Commonwealth University and New Virginia Review, Inc.


Announcing the Prize and Inaugural Award Event

spacer Tarumoto
   Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto

Kelly Cherry is the inaugural winner of the Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto Short Fiction Prize for outstanding short fiction. Her story, “On Familiar Terms,” was selected by the editors from fiction published in Blackbird in 2011. The story demanded our attention for innumerable reasons; a subtle narrative voice, a masterful compression of time, and an affectionate portrayal of character only lead the list.

Cherry will receive the award at VCU on March 28, 2012, and give a joint reading with fiction writer Ron Carlson. Documentation of the event will appear in a future issue of Blackbird.

The Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto Short Fiction Prize is sponsored by the family of Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto in her memory to honor her devotion to the art of writing fiction, to expand the audience for outstanding short stories, and to encourage literary excellence among writers early in their careers.

$2,000 will be awarded periodically to the best work of short fiction published by Blackbird, with a particular emphasis on work by an emerging or underappreciated writer.

No application form or fee is required; all short fiction submitted to the journal is eligible.

Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto was born September 21, 1945 in Richmond, Virginia. She died in October of 2007 after being struck in a pedestrian crosswalk in Carmel by the Sea, California. Her sustained interest in writing led to her fiction being published in a number of literary journals as well as winning several competitions, including the 1996 and 2000 Short Fiction contests sponsored by Richmond Magazine. She was a graduate of St. Gertrude’s High School in Richmond and of Virginia Commonwealth University(class of 1967), and in 1971 she received an MA in English from the University of Michigan.

While funding for the prize itself comes from an endowment established at VCU by her husband, David Tarumoto, the Department of English welcomes contributions in support of the inaugural celebration event as well as the outreach activities of the Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto Prize, which will include visits by the winning writers with high school and elementary students at Richmond area schools. Anyone wishing to make a donation is invited to visit the secure online contributions page:  end of text