With the awardance of our Short Story Summer prize package to Greenwood native David Hicks, whose entry was drawn blindly from a hat last week by our guest author Dan Chaon, summer has officially ended.
At the event last Wednesday, Mr. Hicks' victory was met with both applause and raised eyebrows. Many locals remembered him as "the voice of Turnrow" in a television commercial produced and aired last year, and his win suggested a possible conflict of interest. However, Mr. Chaon, who arrived from out of town in a rented Camaro, vouched for the contest's impartiality and quelled the crowd with a dramatic reading from his work before an angry division occurred.
Rather than favoritism, we feel certain it was Mr. Hicks' literary karma that earned him the coveted prize package — a bundle of reputable short story collections, including works by Raymond Carver, Barry Hannah, Flannery O'Connor and nearly a dozen more. A regular customer at Turnrow since our opening three years ago, Mr. Hicks reads on the cutting edge and is noted for taking chances on both unknown writers and intimidating classics alike. (He once called us from a Miami resort swimming pool, where he was reading Crime and Punishment as dance hall electronica throbbed in the background.)
Mr. Hicks became eligible for our summer reading contest by purchasing a copy of Richard Ford's collection Rock Springs, but he is no stranger to short fiction. His interest in the short form developed a few years ago after reading The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books. He noticed repeated references to the stories of Anton Chekhov and Flannery O'Connor, so he bought and sampled respective collections, including, coincidentally, a collection of Chekhov stories edited by Richard Ford, a cosmic decision that may have sealed his fate as our summer prize-winner.
The form suits his leisure reading, Mr. Hicks admits, whether he's lounging by the pool or waiting for the missus to finish her shopping. Among his favorite recent collections, purchased on our recommendation, is Wells Tower's Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, a book that has repaid him many times over in laughter and insights into the peculiar nature of humanity.
Stop in Turnrow some time and you'll be lucky to find David browsing the tables, or perhaps on our backporch, in his favorite rocker (pictured above), escaping his worries and expanding his mind. You'd do well to sit and hear his stories, which are also some of our favorites.