Issue #11 |

Summer 2021

I am incredibly proud to feature the winner of our 2nd annual Story Foundation Prize, Karl Taro Greenfield, who’s remarkable story “Womanly Words” opens our summer issue. Set in imperial Japan, the young protagonist is the fifth and youngest son, and in a time of growing nationalism, he struggles with issues of masculinity, strength, and culture. I don’t want to give too much away, but the restraint in which he states his suffering and brutality are described make them all the more haunting, and the dynamics between siblings is unforgettable.

I’m also thrilled to feature two Story Foundation Prize finalists: “Diedrick Dodge” by Eric Roe and “Story Problem Problem” by Heather Aronson. Recently, I was grumbling to my wife about something with Story—reading, editing, promoting, I don’t remember (one of the many -ing things that goes into publishing . . .)—and she asked, you are still enjoying this, right? Everyone needs to vent, but I was a little embarrassed that, of late, she had only heard me complain. The next question, unspoken, seemed reasonable: why bother?

Here’s why. One of the nicest things I have recently heard about Story was from a recent contributor. She said that one of the reasons she was happy to be published in Story was that we are a literary magazine she actually reads (though she phrased it better than I just paraphrased it). I laughed because I knew exactly what she meant. When I was a graduate student learning about literary magazines, I would often just pick one up, frown at the cover, and then read the table of contents just to see who was published there and if it meant I had a chance to be published there (Note: I did not). It wasn’t until I started working at River Styx that I began to actually read other literary magazines and finally appreciate the new and exciting stories in their pages.

I still get a thrill when our staff finds a story we want to publish, and I still get a thrill when I read a terrific story in another literary magazine. To me, as a reader, there is nothing better than a great short story. I hope you, whoever you are, find that rush in one of the many terrific stories in this issue.

Photo courtesy of the editor and his handheld parallelogram.

michael nye

Michael Nye is the editor of Story. He is the author of three books of fiction: the story collection Strategies Against Extinction, the novel All the Castles Burned, and the story collection Until We Have Faces (Turner Publishing, 2020). His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in American Literary Review, Boulevard, Cincinnati Review, Crab Orchard Review, …

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