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  • Bibiana Ossai

Announcing The Long Story Winner & Finalists

We are delighted to announce the winner, runner-up, and finalists of our Iron Horse Literary Review Long Story competition. Iron Horse Literary Review’s annual The Long Story is an opportunity for writers to submit their fiction and nonfiction manuscripts that run between 20-40 pages. Each year we dedicate an e-single to the winner of the submission.

This time, we selected Leslie Pietrzyk’s “F-I-N-E” (Fiction) as the IHLR Long Story winner. Leslie Pietrzyk’s collection of linked stories set in DC, Admit This to No One, was published in 2021 by Unnamed Press. Her first collection of stories, This Angel on My Chest, won the 2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize. Short fiction and essays have appeared in, among others, Ploughshares, Story Magazine, Hudson Review, Southern Review, Gettysburg Review, Iowa Review, The Sun, Cincinnati Review, and The Washington Post Magazine. Awards include a Pushcart Prize in 2020. She is a member of the core faculty in Converse University’s low-residency MFA program, teaching fiction and creative nonfiction. More about the writer can be found here

Pietrzyk describes the story “F-I-N-E as one that “challenged me in a variety of ways, as evidenced by its 19 separate files on my computer. I cut and pasted, added and deleted scenes, slid lines from one paragraph to another—endlessly. I finally felt locked in when Mary-Margaret’s voice sharpened in file 11 or so, as she became less of a victim. Even with all that writing/rewriting, I started this story during prompt writing in a fiction workshop I was teaching, and those sections never once were cut. I suspected the piece would run long, but I focused on telling the story how it needed to be told, not worrying (much!) about questions like, “Who’s going to publish 8000 words?”

Leslie Pietrzyk, winner of the 2024 IHLR Long Story Contest

We chose Evan Morgan Williams’ “Kind Girl, Teacher, Sister, Whale” (Fiction) for the runner-up. Evan Morgan Williams is the author of three collections of short stories. His latest collection, Stories of the New West, was released in September 2021, by Main Street Rag Press. Williams’ first collection, Thorn: Short Stories, won the 2013 Chandra Prize at BkMk Press (University of Missouri-Kansas City). The book received several honors after publication, including a gold medal from the Independent Publishers Book Awards. The book was long listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Prize.

Congratulations to Leslie Pietrzyk, Evan Morgan Williams, finalists and all our semi-finalists!


Yvonne Conza, “F-stop” (Fiction)

Menasheh Fogel, “Cabin in the City” (Fiction)

JK Haman, “Whole Life” (Fiction)

Chad Koch, “Liquid” (Fiction)

Sarah Walker, “Back in My Body” (Fiction)


Rebecca Bernard, “An Overwhelming Loneliness” (Fiction)

Anna Chotlos, “Self Portrait as Betty Crocker (Nonfiction)

Sue Granzella, “Unbearable Cruelty, Spectacular Glory” (Nonfiction)

Jill Talbot, “My Mother’s Dresses (Nonfiction)

Erin Wood, “Athens, Revised” (Nonfiction)


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