Jen Fawkes and Cheryl Wilder
What if Captain Hook gave up marauding and took a gig at the Post Office? How did Hamlet's uncle Claudius become such a rat? What might happen if a plastic surgeon fell for Medusa? If Moby Dick could write a letter, what would he say to Ahab? The answers to these and many other questions can be found in Tales the Devil Told Me by Jen Fawkes - winner of the 2020 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction. These twelve stories examine the possible lives of classic literary villains as Professor Moriarty, Shere Khan, Rumpelstiltskin, Polyphemus, Mrs. Danvers and others, while illuminating the consumptive nature of love, the crushing weight of isolation, the false promise of beauty, and the power of storytelling itself.
Jen Fawkes is the author of Mannequin and Wife: Stories (2020 LSU Press). Her work has appeared in One Story, Lit Hub, Crazyhorse, The Iowa Review, The Rumpus, Best Small Fictions 2020 and other venues. Her fiction has won numerous prizes, from The Pinch, Salamander, Harpur Palate, Washington Square Review, and others. She lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with her husband and several imaginary friends. Her second story collection, Tales the Devil Told Me, won the 2020 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction.
At the age of twenty, Cheryl Wilder got behind the wheel when she was too drunk to drive. Her friend in the passenger seat ended up in a coma, and Wilder spent the night in jail. Anything That Happens follows Wilder's journey from a young adult consumed by shame to a woman learning to remake herself. Along the way, Wilder marries, has a son, divorces, and cares for her dying mother. Anything That Happens examines what it takes to reconcile a past grave mistake, a present role as caregiver to many, and a future that stretches into one long second chance.
Cheryl Wilder is the author of Anything That Happens, a Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection (Press 53, 2021), a collection that examines how to reconcile a past grave mistake and a future that stretches into one long second chance. Her chapbook What Binds Us (Finishing Line Press, 2017), explores the frailty and necessity of human connection. Her work appears in Barely South Review, Prime Number Magazine, Verse Daily, Cream City Review, Literary Mama, and Architects + Artisans, among other publications. Cheryl has served as writer-in-residence at SistaWRITE and was granted residency at Sundress Academy for the Arts. A founder and editor of Waterwheel Review, she earned her BFA from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts.