Katie Umans Awarded Spring 2014 Orlando Short Fiction Prize
I think every writer has to have (or find) an unconditional love for the solitary work of writing.
However, the acknowledgment of publication pulls the writer briefly out of that seclusion, along with whatever insecurities or other distortions can grow there.
Congratulations to Katie Umans on the selection of her story, “The Banshee and the Chef,” for the Spring 2014 Orlando Short Fiction Prize! Her story plunges us into the world of a banshee whose work at a restaurant is intimately bound with growing powers of discernment, and calling as one who can “taste” impending death.
Katie’s winning story, “The Banshee and the Chef,” will be published in Issue No. 16 of the Los Angeles Review.
We asked Katie to talk about her story and to tell us what publication means to her. She replied:
When I started working on the “The Banshee and the Chef,” I just liked the imagistic and narrative potential of putting someone newly learning how to perform grief in a setting where there is death but it is routine and not really entangled with human emotion; I thought it would be interesting to see what I could do with that premise. But I think the story quickly became more about how any young woman struggles to find her vocation and her passions in the midst of competing interests – including the expectations of parents and the new and powerful romantic idealization of her by men.
…I try not to tie up my sense of any piece of writing’s value with getting it published, but having a poem or a story accepted means it now belongs not just to me, but also to an editor who has invested in it and to an audience, however big or small, that will interpret it and give it a life beyond me.
Katie Umans lives in New Hampshire with her husband and daughter. Her first collection of poems, Flock Book, was published by Black Lawrence Press in 2012, and her writing has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Crazyhorse, Columbia, Indiana Review, Barrow Street, and others. She has received support from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.