“A great story pulls the twin threads of plot and theme taut from first word to last, and ‘They Look Like Angels’ makes this tautness seem effortless. The spare, simple, straightforward language both impressed and affected me with its restraint. The anguish of the grieving narrator, packed so carefully inside her actions, is almost never seen but emerges in devastating stages as the experience behind those actions is revealed.”
—Aimee Liu, Spring 2015 Orlando Short Fiction Finalist Judge
Congratulations to Anna Scotti on the selection of her story, “They Look Like Angels” for the Spring 2015 Orlando Short Fiction Prize! “They Look Like Angels” will be published in Issue No. 18 of the Los Angeles Review.
We asked Anna to talk about her story and to tell us what publication means to her. She replied:
I had two goals in writing “They Look Like Angels.” I wanted to portray an unsympathetic character sympathetically; I wanted the reader to cross that border between “them” and “us.” That was the artistic goal. Then there was a political goal: I wanted to show that while young men who become school shooters are very sick indeed, probably irredeemably so, the society that allows them easy access to guns is at least as troubled.
Publication—and by, extension, prizes—provide validation for a writer. Writing is the most personal of endeavors, yet what’s the point if the product is not read? Publication means someone knowledgeable, someone who cares about words and ideas, connected with what I wrote. In my case, I am fortunate to have the incredibly insightful and sensitive commentary provided by Aimee Liu—what a validation indeed for a writer to have every inch of a story examined, assessed and understood! I am completely delighted and thrilled to be the recipient of AROHO’s Orlando Prize for Short Fiction. It’s an inspirational experience.
Anna Scotti teaches middle school English at a French International school in Los Angeles, and is a working poet who has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize several times. She has also been the recipient of, or a finalist for, poetry prizes offered by Yemassee, The Crab Creek Review, The Comstock Review, and other literary magazines, and her work appears frequently in Chautauqua. Before embarking on a teaching career, Scotti was a widely published journalist, writing columns for InStyle and the late, great, Buzz magazine, as well as features for nationals from Redbook to Traveling in Style. Scotti is writing a YA novel about a girl and a dog who rescue each other in an unexpected way. Find her poetry and a few short fiction pieces at www.annakscotti.com.