Matthew Cheney – Winner of the 2014 Hudson Prize!

Cheney Author PhotoWe are very pleased to announce that we have chosen a winner for the 2014 Hudson Prize. Congratulations to Matthew Cheney! His manuscript Blood: Stories will be published by Black Lawrence Press in January, 2016.

We offer this excerpt of the title story for your reading pleasure. “Blood” was originally published in One Story, along with an interview with Matthew in which he discusses violence in art, how playwriting informs his fiction, and the best writing advice he has ever received.

The man who (my mother said) cried at my birth was the same man who gave me a rifle for my first birthday, a .22 he had built himself. The man who taught me to shoot that rifle as soon as I was able to walk was also the man who taught me to tell deer tracks from bear tracks and bear tracks from moose tracks, to tell poplar from hemlock and oak from pine. The man who screamed at the television every night, as if the politicians and legislators could hear his rants, was the man who night after night through my childhood, and especially in the long cold of each winter, told me stories of good rabbits and bad foxes in the forests, with the good rabbits outwitting the foxes, and the owls overseeing it all.
During the nights now, I remember his stories. And I remember him sitting in a wooden chair in our front yard, shotgun across his lap, head held in his hands, saying to me as I sat beside him, my arm around his leg and my fingers in love with the roughness of his jeans, “I just want them all to leave me alone. It’s the only thing I want in the world.” He looked at me, he ran his giant hand through my hair, he kissed my forehead. I remember his lips were dry and sharp, and the long whiskers of his beard tickled my skin.

Matthew Cheney’s work has been published by One Story, Unstuck, Weird Tales, Black Static, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Rain Taxi, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere. He is the former series editor of the Best American Fantasy anthologies and is co-editor of the occasional online magazine The Revelator. After ten years as a high school teacher, he is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Literature at the University of New Hampshire.