blackbirdonline journalFall 2015  Vol. 14 No. 2
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A joint venture of the Department of English at Virginia Commonwealth University and New Virginia Review, Inc.

Copyright © 2015 by Blackbird and the individual writers and artists

ISSN 1540-3068


Virginia Commission for the Arts

Culture Works


Announcing the Prize and Award Event

spacer Tarumoto
   Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto

Carrie Brown and Hiba Krisht are the 2016 winners of the Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto Short Fiction Prize for outstanding short fiction. Their stories, Brown’s “Funeral,” published in this issue, and Krisht’s “A Cocoon That Would Break,” from v14n1, were selected by the editors from fiction submitted to Blackbird over the previous two-year period.

Brown’s story demonstrates not only clear and elegant prose but also that the most satisfying fiction can arise from characters whose narrative arc consists of almost off-hand thoughts and decisions that combine to illustrate the immense importance of simple kindness. In contrast, Krisht’s characters inhabit a world where kindness seems to have lost all currency in the Lebanese civil war and a subsequent unraveling of family and faith.

Brown and Krisht will receive the award at Virginia Commonwealth University on February 11, 2016, and give a joint reading from their winning work. 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.

Currently, a prize of $2,000 is offered every other year for the best work of short fiction published by Blackbird during that period, with a particular emphasis on work by an emerging or underappreciated writer.

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 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, select 'other' and paste “Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto Short Fiction Prize” into the drop down box:  end of text