I haven't been writing long enough to have any rightful claim to
cynicism, yet when I hear about bookstore closings or read essays
announcing the death of this form or that form, no flourish of footwork
can keep me from stepping into a steaming mound of negativity. In fact,
I reckon most mornings are punctuated with some grand anguished
gesture: lying face down on the floor, shaking a fist at the sky. But
looking at the spread of stories this year I feel something altogether
different. Dare I call it optimism? (Yikes. Even the word makes me
shudder.) From when I joined this project two years ago, the number of
journals on my reading list has very nearly doubled. It seems for every
journal or press that folds, two more come in to replace it. More
impressive is how many of these newcomers leapfrog the customary
growing pains and emerge fully formed, publishing first-rate fiction
right out the gate. As a result, this year boasts a greater range of
journals than any previous list (besting last year's high-water mark).
And I continue to marvel at the new and innovative approaches writers
are bringing to the short form, the unexpected ways in which they
access the human heart. Very short fiction is as vital and restless as
ever, and not even in the most cynical of moods can I deny that simple
Included here are the stories that made us want to shout from the top
of a mountain (and by "mountain" I of course mean Twitter). So skim,
scan, browse, survey, peruse. Read one story or two stories or five
stories or all fifty. There's no wrong way to experience this list.
Thank you to Lily Hoang for somehow, miraculously, managing to contract
the longlist into a lean, mean fifty.
Thank you to Seamo
for tagging the main page.
Thank you to Scott Garson for all of his hard work these past four
years and for giving me the tremendous opportunity to emcee this year.
Now for the good news/bad news portion of this introduction. Which do
you want first? I'll begin with the bad. Scott has opted for a reduced
role in the construction of next year's longlist. (But if it means more
Garson writing gets out into the world, then I'm all for it.) The good
news: Laura Ellen Scott and Greg Gerke have kindly agreed to join the
Top 50 crew. Welcome aboard! To christen this sleek new editing vessel
I'll now smash a bottle a champagne against the side of my monitor.
Notes on Eligibility:
The Wigleaf Top 50 are chosen from a Longlist of 200 stories.
Stories have to be at or under 1000 words to be eligible, and must have
been posted sometime during the previous calendar year. Stories in
blogzines are not considered (unless the blog is part of a larger
journal with external hosting). Reprints are not considered. Stories
appearing in journals based outside the U.S. are not considered (unless
that journal's billing is explicitly international). Stories that are
not published and/or archived in HTML are not considered. Stories
without unique HTML urls are not considered, unless they are part of
sets by the same author. And stories written by Wigleaf editors or
appearing in Wigleaf itself are not considered. If you're an editor and
want to make sure that your mag's vsf is considered for the next
Wigleaf Top 50, please shoot us an email.
Ravi Mangla lives in Fairport, NY. His very short stories have appeared
in many online and print journals.
To link to this directly: http://wigleaf.com/11top50foreword.htm
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