The Tishman Review is pleased to announce Valerie Fioravanti as the final judge of the 2019 Tillie Olsen Short Story Award. Fioravanti won the inaugural TOSSA contest as judged by the esteemed author Alice Mattison.
Valerie Fioravanti is the author of the linked collection of Brooklyn stories Garbage Night at the Opera from BkMk Press, which won the Chandra Prize for Short Fiction. Her fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in many literary journals, including North American Review, Cimarron Review, and Hunger Mountain. Her work has received eight Pushcart Prize nominations and a Fulbright Fellowship to Italy. A New York City native, she lives in Sacramento, where she teaches workshops and coaches writers privately. Tillie Olsen is one of her favorite writers.
Tillie Olsen’s iconic story “I Stand Here Ironing” ends with, “So all that is in her will not bloom, but in how many does it? There is still enough left to live by. Only help her to know—help make it so there is cause for her to know—that she is more than this dress on the ironing board, helpless before the iron.” There are moments when we all feel helpless before the iron—and whether that state is transitory, entrenched, or epiphanic—it’s rich storytelling soil. Let go of social media’s rosy gloss and reveal the complexity of imperfect, workaday circumstances. Show me the beauty in faded blooms or the gentle moments that grace hardscrabble lives. ~Valerie Fioravanti