meet the judges of the 2016 rachel funari prize for fiction: abigail ulman
What are you working on in 2016?
Trying to answer emails within five months of receiving them. Also, a novel.
What does “other” mean to you?
In the context of this prize, “other” means writers, characters, perspectives and voices we aren’t used to reading in fiction – points of view that have been historically, societally, artistically marginalised and have largely gone unvoiced. OR “other” can mean taking a story or point of view we’ve seen in fiction many times, and telling it in a new, different and fresh way.
In the spirit of other-ness, I would also like to encourage people to apply for this prize who don’t even usually think of themselves as writers. Maybe you’ve never taken a writing class or entered a writing competition before; maybe you don’t have aspirations for a writing career or know anyone who does. Please don’t let that stop you entering if you have some work you think is good, polished enough and worth reading. Likewise, if you know anyone who has some strong prose in the top drawer, please encourage them to send it in. This prize is for all the “others”.
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading Only the Animals by Ceridwen Dovey, Spinster by Kate Bolick and Bright Felon by Kazim Ali.
What’s on your To Be Read pile?
This New Republic article about Tumblr and the Ferrante four.
What do you read to feel inspired?
Why have you agreed to get involved with the judging of the 2016 Rachel Funari Prize for Fiction?
I was extremely upset when I read about Rachel Funari. I’m moved and inspired by the work she did, especially the founding of Lip Mag. I want to help support her vision; to help identify, reward and give an outlet to high quality work by women, female-identifying and non-binary writers. Early recognition – no matter how small – from teachers, editors, prize judges gave me hope and some confidence to continue. I’m very pleased to be on the other side of that process for this prize, to be able to offer an encouraging ‘your stuff is ace, keep going’ to talented writers.
What will you be looking for when judging the competition?
I was pondering that just now when I looked at my Instagram feed – just for like five seconds, don’t worry, I am totally focused on this interview – and the first thing I saw was a quote that answers this question perfectly. ‘Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.’ – Robert Bresson.
Whatever you do submit, I promise to read it with respect and curiosity. Also, please do a spellcheck frist!
For information on how to enter the 2016 Rachel Funari Prize for Fiction, please click here.