The Tishman Review is very honored to announce that Alice Mattison has agreed to final judge our first Tillie Olsen Short Story Award.
Alice Mattison’s book about writing, The Kite and the String: How to Write with Spontaneity and Control—and Live to Tell the Tale, will be published by Viking in August, 2016. Alice Mattison is also the author of six novels, four collections of stories, and a book of poems. She teaches fiction in the MFA program in writing and literature at Bennington College, and lives in New Haven, CT.
“It’s a great honor to judge a contest named for Tillie Olsen, one of my favorite writers—though she didn’t write much: her only complete book of fiction, published in 1961, is Tell Me a Riddle. It consists of four stories about attempting to make connections to others and express love despite illness and old age, racial discrimination, poverty, and just the inborn difficulty of being human. Her fiercely progressive political stance is firmly grounded in ordinary life.
When I judge stories, I start reading each one full of optimism, expecting it to be true to what I understand of human psychology, to be free of clichés, and to be about events that matter. Every story is a winner until I don’t believe it, or it’s trite, or it’s boring, or I come to the end and nothing has happened. Choosing among the good ones is hard. I pick those that make the top of my head float off.”