I Come from the World

  • By Rafael Alvarez
  • August 21, 2017

A new literary journal offers a $500 prize


               

 

 

 

 

“Encourage aspiring writers to continue writing when things are going against them, when it feels hard…”

 – Patrick Modiano, 2014 Nobel Laureate

In pursuit of both “truth and storytelling,” a new Connecticut-based literary journal is seeking submissions for a $500 prize, the winner of which will be announced in January 2018.

The journal (which began publishing online earlier this summer) is called I Come from the World. The title is a response to a question the editors found especially caustic in the land of E Pluribus Unum: “Where are you from?”

The founding editors are the writer Lisa Calderone and her husband, Frank Perrelli Jr., owner of a landscaping company. The couple believes that a journal carrying an egalitarian name might help “move the conversation” about goodwill toward men (as opposed to its opposite, so prevalent in 2017 politics).

Like all beautiful dreams, it is quixotic and reasonable.

The annual ICFTW award is somewhat different from other literary contests in that all genres are thrown into a single pot — short fiction, poetry, nonfiction — and the winner is whatever manuscript is deemed superior.

The judges for the current contest are Eric Lehman, who will handle prose submissions, and Amy Nawrocki for poetry. Both are on the creative-writing faculty at the University of Bridgeport, where Calderone works in the Office of Communications.

This is the second ICFTW literary contest; Calderone and Perrelli first held one last year, prior to the journal’s launch. The inaugural winner was Vyasar Mamta Ganesan, 27, a writer based in San Marcos, Texas. Ganesan submitted “VMG,” an essay that explored his South Indian heritage.

Upon the announcement of his good fortune, Ganesan said that his winning essay “is as much me as I can put on the page without writing in blood.”

A graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program, Ganesan said he is using the prize money to do what so many other artists have done in years past with an unexpected windfall: He’s going to France.

May the spirits of Colette and Proust and Queneau guide his steps as he retraces theirs.

Information about the current ICFTW contest, along with guidelines for other submissions, and the trove of stories and poetry they have published, can be found here.

Rafael Alvarez is the author of Basilio Boullosa Stars in the Fountain of Highlandtown, released in 2017. He can be reached via orlo.leini@gmail.com.

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