City College of New York creative writing professor and author Emily Raboteau is the winner of the fourth International Flash Fiction competition. Her 100-word short story, “Oysters,” is adjudged the best from more than 35,000 submissions from 149 countries this year.
The American Book Award-winning author of Searching for Zion (Grove Press, 2013), Raboteau will receive a $20,000 first prize in Madrid, Spain, on Nov. 23. The prize money makes it the best paid writing contest in the world, at $200 per word.
“I was very surprised to learn that I had won, because I barely remembered entering the contest at all,” said Raboteau, a resident of Washington Heights in upper Manhattan. “I’m very happy.”
Her story is about a woman remembering a child she lost while watching a young mother handling her infant in the Oyster Bar at Grand Central Terminal.
The goal of the Flash Fiction contest is to convey that words transcend borders. It is open to writing in Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish and English, and is judged by a jury of 20 ambassadors based in Madrid. The Cesar Egido Serrano Foundation is the competition’s sponsor. The prize is administered through Museo de las Palabras (Museum of Words) in Madrid.
Raboteau has been the recipient of other writing honors. These include the Pushcart Prize, the Nelson Algren Award from the Chicago Tribune and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts.