Amy Lawrence has been named the grand-prize winner of the 2013 Memphis Magazine Fiction Contest for her story "To Be Happy," which will be published in the magazine's June 2013 Culture Issue.
Lawrence fell in love with writing and majored in English during her years attending Rhodes College. She credits her past teachers and professors for encouraging her to tirelessly write, revise, edit, and learn her craft. After college, she was a junior copywriter at Thompson & Company. She currently teaches 8th-grade English at Hutchison School, where she has worked for the past 13 years.
She and her husband, Justin Fox Burks, are co-authors of The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook, published May 2013 by Thomas Nelson. They created the recipe blog thechubbyvegetarian.com in 2008. The blog has been awarded Blog of Note by blogger.com, and their recipes have been featured on The New York Times Well blog.
Lawrence is a second-time grand-prize winner of this contest; her story "The Pact" placed first in 2003. She also has had work published in Seventeen and in Edible Memphis.
Receiving an honorable mention in our contest is Tom Bennitt. He holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Mississippi, where he held a Grisham Fellowship and studied with Chris Offutt, Barry Hannah, and Richard Ford. His work has appeared in several journals, including Burnt Bridge, Monongahela Review, and River Walk Journal. Among his honors and awards are a Pushcart Prize nomination, The Culver Short Fiction Prize, Glimmer Train's Very Short Fiction Award, and a residency fellowship at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. He currently lives in Oxford, where he teaches writing at Ole Miss. In the fall, he'll pursue a PhD in English at the University of Nebraska.
Also receiving an honorable mention is Abe Gaustad, who moved to Memphis at age 4 and holds degrees from the University of Memphis and The University of Tennessee. His story "The Torso" was the grand-prize winner in our 2006 contest. Gaustad's fiction has appeared in such publications as Glimmer Train, Camera Obscura, and Smokelong Quarterly. Currently he's working on a novel and a collection of stories.
We congratulate these three winners, and we appreciate all writers who entered the contest. We also extend a big thank you to our longtime contest cosponsors, Booksellers at Laurelwood and Burke's Book Store.