Bret Anthony Johnston’s American Short Fiction story takes £30,000 award

Texas writer Bret Anthony Johnston (“Remember Me Like This” has won the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award for his story “Half of What Atlee Rouse Knows About Horses,” originally published last fall in Austin literary magazine American Short Fiction’s 25th anniversary issue.

The prestigious international prize is the richest for a single story in the English language, worth £30,000 (almost $39,000 in today’s exchange rate) to the winner.

Two recent ASF stories were selected for “Best American Short Stories 2017” and another for “Best American Nonrequired Reading 2017.”

You can read Johnston’s story in its entirety on the Story Award’s website.

The annual contest is judged by a panel of renowned editors, literary journalists, and writers. This year’s winner was chosen by Anne Enright, Mark Lawson, Neel Mukherjee, Rose Tremain, and Andrew Holgate. The judges praised it as a story “in which small details take on vast significance, and perceptions have the kick of a stallion.”

Johnston’s best-selling “Remember Me Like This” was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and the winner of the 2015 McLaughlin-Esstman-Stearns Prize.  Johnston teaches in the Bennington Writing Seminars and at Harvard University, where he is the Director of Creative Writing.

Here is Johnston at BookPeople in 2014.

Galactica’s crew reunites on the closing night of ATX Television fest

Adama, father and son. Starbuck. Baltar. Six.

All in the house.

Cast members of “Battlestar Galactica” — Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, James Callis, Tricia Helfer, Katee Sackhoff, Grace Park, Michael Trucco and Michael Hogan — will join creator/executive producer Ronald D. Moore (“Outlander”) for the closing night (June 10) of the ATX Television Festival.

ATX returns for a sixth year June 8 to 11.

The cast will also be featured in an “EW Reunites: Battlestar Galactica” special on the streaming People/Entertainment Weekly Network.

This year’s reunion is part of a multi-year partnership between EW and ATX, which kicked off last year with the “Ugly Betty” reunion presented by EW on closing night.

So, yeah, someone ask Moore about that whole “All Along the Watchtower” thing.


EXCLUSIVE: Austin director Jeff Nichols discusses genre and “Loving” in “On Story”

Jeff Nichols (photo: Joe Gross)

An interview with Austin filmmaker Jeff Nichols kicks off the seventh season of he Austin Film Festival series “On Story.” The season premiere airs 7:30 p.m. CT on KLRU-Q.

RELATED: Jeff Nichols discusses life after “Loving.”

Here is an exclusive clip of the show.

RELATED: Five takeaways from the AFF interview with Jeff Nichols


Austin cartoonist Jen Sorensen named Pulitzer Prize finalist

Jen Sorensen

Austin cartoonist Jen Sorensen is a Pulitzer Prize finalist in editorial cartooning, it was announced Monday.

The Pulitzer committee said she was so named “For a thoughtful and powerful selection of work appearing in a variety of U.S. publications and often challenging the viewer to look beyond the obvious.”

“I have to say I was completely surprised as it’s one of the most traditional of cartoon contests,” Sorensen said Tuesday from her South Austin home. “I guess I got lucky this year,”

Jim Morin of the Miami Herald won. Steve Sack of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune was the other finalist.

Sorensen, who is a freelancer, essentially nominated herself.

“You just submit online, Sorensen said. “Most of the people who win do have staff jobs at daily papers, so I think this is the exception to the rule to get this far in the process.”

She also notes that there might be a sea change for the form.

“As someone who works in a multi-panel format and might be best know in the digital realm,” Sorensen said, “there seems to be a broadening of what a political cartoon can be.”

Sorensen’s work currently appears locally in the Austin Chronicle. She has also appeared in The Progressive, The Nation, Politico, In These Times, and digital media outlets including AlterNet, Truthout, Daily Kos, and The Nib. She is also the comics editor for Fusion, the news site owned by Univision. Originally from Pennsylvania (the same region as the rock band Live, if you want some Sorensen trivia), she moved to Austin in 2012.

In 2015, she received an Inkpot Award for Achievement in Comic Arts from San Diego Comic-Con International.

Disclosure time: I have known Jen Sorensen since she was a black-choker-wearing freshman (well, there they say First Year) at the University of Virginia.

And to be perfectly honest, I was not surprised to see Sorensen as a Pultizer finalist. Quietly, methodically (“Slowpoke” was for a long time the catchall name she was using for her strips), she has become one of the most well-respected cartoonists in the business.

We last checked in with Sorensen back in 2014, when she became the first woman cartoonist to win the Herblock Prize.

The year before, she won the Robert F. Kennedy journalism award, the same year she picked up a Reuben, which is the cartoonist version of an Oscar.