2016 “Bests”: Maurice Carlos Ruffin and L. Kasimu Harris

Two Peauxdunquians have work honored in compilations of “Best” writing from 2015. L. Kasimu Harris‘s essay, “Ya-ka-mein: Old Sober,” which originally appeared on Edible New Orleans, will be reprinted in Best Food Writing 2016, edited by Holly Hughes. And Maurice Carlos Ruffin‘s short story, “The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You,” which appeared originally in volume 44, no. 3 of the Iowa Review (and won the 2014 Iowa Review Fiction Prize), is noted on the list of “Notable Fiction” in Best American Short Stories 2016!

Maurice Carlos Ruffin wins the 2014 Iowa Review Award in fiction

Maurice with writer Carolyn Lucas at City Grocery bar

Maurice at City Grocery bar

We’ve been not keeping the secret very well over on Facebook, but for purposes of the official Internet we’ve waited for The Iowa Review to announce it themselves; so, finally, here’s the most excellent news from Peauxdunque: Maurice Carlos Ruffin is the 2014 winner of the Iowa Review Award for fiction, for his short story, “The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You,” selected by final judge Rachel Kushner. Ms. Kushner says, of Maurice’s story, “This story grabs and doesn’t let go. It telegraphs a host of conflicting sensations, and powerfully: boredom, violence, dreams, an innocence that is free of narrative cliche or any cliche.

The story is a relatively new one for Maurice, written last fall and finished in November, and illustrates a valuable precept about getting the work out into the world. Maurice notes that the story was rejected thirteen times since he began submitting it in late November, 2013. Some of the rejections were quick, including a seven-day rejection from one journal and an eleven-day rejection from another that Maurice has been trying to get into for a long time (and which he notes “has broken [his] peanut-brittle heart 1,000 times over the years”). From all this, Maurice reminds us, “The rule maintains. Submit often and brush the rejections from your shoulders.” Indeed.

Many congratulations, Meaux! Maurice’s story should appear in the final 2014 issue of The Iowa Review, in December.