And the Results are in...

Congratulations to:


Love Songs for a Lost Continent

Winner of the 2016 Mary Roberts Rinehart Fiction Contest

"[This collection] invites the magical to ride up against the mundane, and we end up with very specific portraits that also have that magnetic universality the best literature has.…  As a poet and journalist, Felicelli exerts an impressive power over syntax and diction, and so this is one of those collections that I always crave: where dazzling style meets potent substance seamlessly.  This is a book we needed to read yesterday; this is a book we will still be reading tomorrow.”
Porochista Khakpour

Narratives of displacement serve as the platform for this semi-autobiographical collection inspired by the struggles and triumphs of second generation Tamil Americans. “I wanted to raise questions about how elements of identity like gender, caste, ethnicity, trauma, and species quicken or curb the capacity for reinvention,” Felicelli writes. “I’m an intense reader, but I’ve never encountered fiction that spoke directly to my own slippery life—a hybrid genre—somewhere between first and second generation Tamil American, intercaste, interfaith.  Many of these stories dramatize aspects of outsider/in-betweenness that I needed to see on the page.”  

Anita Felicelli is a critic, essayist, and ghostwriter living in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.  Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Juked, The Rumpus, The Normal School, New York Times, and Salon among other outlets.  She is the author of the poetry collection Letters to an Albatross (BlazeVox, 2010).  This is her first fiction book.  You can find her online at

Stillhouse Press would also like to give special recognition to:


What it Might Feel Like to Hope

"Dorene O'Brien's stories operate on a different plane and dimension of realism--flesh and blood yet dipped in a neon wash perhaps. At once a scientist of sensory details and a heartfelt observer of the intricacies of the human psyche, O'Brien's prose possesses a particular cinema that will not just stay in your mind but your gut as well."
Porochista Khakpour

Using a balance of subtle humor and bittersweet moments, O’Brien’s stories explore the importance of relationships and how they ultimately shape who we become. Her characters are eccentric, evocative, and enigmatic; they vary just as widely as the stories themselves. A mother and daughter fight over a chair at a funeral; a health addict befriends an alcoholic neighbor whose pet lizard changes her life; a hopeful writer pens a story for Tom Hanks. 

Honorable Mention:


Transcendent Guide to
Corporate America



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Porochista Khakpour is the author of two novels, Sons and Other Flammable Objects: A Novel (Grove Press, 2008), a New York Times “Editor’s Choice,” and The Last Illusion (Bloomsbury, 2014), which was named by NPR as one of the “Best Books of 2014.”  Born in Tehran in 1978 and raised in the Greater Los Angeles area, her work has been nominated for several Pushcart Prizes.  She has been awarded fellowships from the NEA, Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University, Sewanee, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Yaddo. Khakpour's essays and stories have appeared in or are forthcoming in Harper’s, The New York Times, The Paris Review Daily, Elle, Spin, Slate, Salon, Poets & Writers, The Rumpus, Guernica, Departures, Paper, Flaunt, Nylon, Bidoun, Alef, and Canteen, among others.  She is currently a Writer in Residence at Bard College in New York.