Home Stories The 2024 Halifax Ranch Prize Winners

The 2024 Halifax Ranch Prize Winners


We are thrilled to announce the winners of this year’s Halifax Ranch Fiction Prize, judged by Kelly Link. We consider it our privilege to have spent time with so many terrific submissions—thank you for giving us the opportunity to read your work. Congratulations to the winners!


First-Place Prize:

“A Place Where Sadness Cannot Go” by Laura Grothaus

Judge Kelly Link writes, “While every single story I read from the long list had something to recommend it—I can’t say how thrilling it is to see so many excellent short stories— ‘A Place Where Sadness Cannot Go’ seemed to say something true and vital about the world we live in right now, in all of its confusion, its messiness, its uncomfortable and unavoidable jostling up against the unevenly distributed future, in which tenderness can be both an artificial commodity and an uneasy gift. I loved these characters, their accommodations and their struggles, and I loved the crisp, wry, still-hopeful point of view.”

Originally from Cincinnati, Laura Grothaus now lives in Baltimore, the land of the Susquehannock and Piscataway-Conoy. Interested in the politics of magic and memory, she’s at work on a novel and collection of poems. Her writing has been featured by BUST, Strange Horizons, The Cincinnati Review, Ninth Letter, Pleiades, and Fairytale Review. Her collaborations with musicians, activists, performers, and visual artists have spawned theatre about desire, workshops about memory maps, and more. You can find her online at www.LauraGrothaus.com.


Second-Place Prize:

“Harmony” by Matthew Lawrence Garcia

And of Matthew Lawrence Garcia’s story, Kelly Link says, “‘Harmony’ is a generous, leisurely exploration of its narrator’s world, his friends and his interests and his antenna for wrongness. It’s rare that a short story can feel so slow and yet so inexorable, as if we’ve taken the scenic route to a place where everything then shifts into a clear and terrible focus.”

Matthew Lawrence Garcia is from Albuquerque, NM and currently lives in Düsseldorf, Germany. He holds an MA in Literature and Translation from University College London, was a Fulbright scholar in Spain, and is a scholarship recipient at the Napa Valley Writer’s Conference. His work has most recently been published or is forthcoming in Gulf CoastCopper Nickel, and The Santa Monica Review. He has a literature podcast called Doggerel Diaries.   


Photo: Sharona Jacobs Photography

Kelly Link’s latest collection, White Cat, Black Dog, is a national bestseller. She is the author of Get in Trouble, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, Magic for BeginnersStranger Things Happen, and Pretty Monsters. Her short stories have been published in The Best American Short Stories and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. She is a MacArthur Fellow and has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is the co-founder of Small Beer Press and co-edits the occasional zine Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. She is also the co-owner of Book Moon, an independent bookstore in Easthampton, Massachusetts.




Our deepest thanks to Kelly Link for judging, to The Burdine Johnson Foundation and the Tasajillo Residency for their generous support of this contest, and to all of you for submitting your stories. And congrats to the winners! Look out for the winning stories in an upcoming issue of American Short Fiction!


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