Philadelphia Stories honored Alison Alsup, winner of the second annual Marguerite McGlinn National Prize for Fiction, at an awards ceremony held on the campus of Rosemont College this past October, the evening before the Push to Publish conference.
Alsup traveled from her home in New Orleans to accept the $2,000 prize and read a selection from her story winning story, "East of the Sierra," which illustrates the journey of a man emigrating from China to San Francisco three times over the course of his life, the last time with his son. The story is published in this issue.
Editorial board members of Philadelphia Stories narrowed the selection down to seven finalists, then judge Ru Freeman chose the final winning story. Freeman said that Alsup’s story “captures the experience of many Toisanese who, during the mid-eighteen hundreds, formed the bulk of labor migration to San Francisco, while also alluding to the ways in which their departures, returns and, too often, deaths, affected the families left behind. To do all this in less than five thousand words points to an author with a pitch-perfect command over both material and audience."
Philadelphia native Katherine Hill, whose story “The Work Boyfriend” won the prize last year, also read a selection from her work at the event.
The prize honors Marguerite McGlinn, who served as essay editor of Philadelphia Stories until her passing in 2008. Alsup thanked Freeman and the staff of Philadelphia Stories, as well as McGlinn’s husband, Tom, and her own husband Gavin, saying, “It’s very fitting that I should be given an award from a husband to a wife because Gavin has worked and made the income that allows me to write. I just want to give my deepest thanks to those of you who support writing.”
The national contest opens this year on January 1, and closes on June 1. For more information about the 2011 Marguerite McGlinn National Prize for Fiction, please visit www.philadelphiastories.org