Culture in brief: Montclair’s Benjamin Selesnick wins runner-up Stony Brook Short Fiction Prize
Benjamin Selesnick of Montclair is a runner-up for the 2017 Stony Brook Short Fiction Prize for his story “Davidson Park.” This year, Amy Hempel served as the judge for the contest.
Hempel is author of four short story collections, including “At the Gates of Animal Kingdom,” “Tumble Home,” and “The Dog of Marriage.” Her first collection, “Reasons to Live,” contains one of the most anthologized stories of the last quarter century, “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried.”
Of Selesnick’s story, Hempel writes: “Who is one person to confront another’s source of comfort, especially as the comfort comes to a teenaged girl who says that her dead father still speaks to her? The girl’s religious beliefs serve her at the same time that her insistence on hearing her dead father alienates an ex-boyfriend who is late in showing up to offer condolences. This is a powerful and credible look at the deepest feelings, with an understated and affecting ending.”
Selesnick is a student at Northeastern University, where he studies English, creative writing, and theology. His work has appeared in Literary Orphans, The Cantabrigian, and Spectrum.
Selesnick was one of three runners-up; the winner was Madeline Hernstrom-Hill of Allegheny College.
Now in its 27th year, the Stony Brook Short Fiction Prize awards $1,000 to a story by an undergraduate. The winning story is also considered for publication in The Southampton Review, the literary journal published by the Stony Brook Southampton MFA program in writing and literature.