Lou Mathews wins our Tenth Anniversary Novella Contest for The Irish Septet

Lou Mathews has won our Tenth Anniversary Novella Contest for The Irish Septet. Chosen by a team of judges from nearly 900 contest entries, Septet tells the heartrending, poignant, ultimately redemptive story of an L.A. priest whose life is nearly destroyed when he stands up to the Church’s attempts to sweep its pedophilia scandal under the rug.

Mathews receives a $500 prize1 for his winning entry, which we'll serialize beginning October 12.

A master of understated language and rich characterizations, Mathews is a widely published fiction writer and journalist. His first novel, L.A. Breakdown, was a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 1999. A former contributing editor at L.A. Style, he teaches fiction writing and literature in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. Two of his stories have run on our site: “The Garlic Eater,” in early 2006, and “Huevos,” in the fall of 2008. "The Garlic Eater" earned a Pushcart Prize Special Mention.

Thanks to everyone else who sent us a novella - we very much enjoyed reading them! And if you haven't yet heard from us, in response to your submission, do hold tight for now. We are still considering a number of other entries for publication, and will be in touch with you soon.


1Wait! you're saying... We didn't charge a fee to enter our contest, yet we're giving our winner a sizable prize? How in the name of holy litmaggery can we do that?

Simple: we'll use a bit of the revenue we make by selling the ads that appear in the right sidebar of our site. And why don't other litmags, print and online, do something similar, when they run contests? We're not sure, but we wish they'd join us in the practice, and start looking at submissions as a way to find great fiction and poetry, rather than as a way to make money off writers. We predict that if they do so, they'll get far stronger entries to their contests. It's better, after all, to get submissions from people who don't have to pay editors to read their work. As a bonus, winning those contests will be far more meaningful than it is now.