Finalists Announced!

Congratulations to Bradley James Weber, winner of the 2012 Literary Honors Award for his story ‘Lorraine and the Alligator’! See below for the list of judges and excerpts from all 5 finalists.

The Judges

After the Naked Girls read every submission, the five finalists were sent to the following judges for a winner to be chosen.

Elizabeth McClellan – Winner, 2011 Naked Girls Reading Literary Honors.

Valya Dudycz Lupescu – Author of The Silence of Trees, 2011 Literary Honors Award finalist

JD Oxblood – Author, playwright, editor of

Tiffany Reisz – Author, The Siren

Melissa Bradshaw – Melissa Bradshaw is a faculty member in Loyola University Chicago’s English Department

The Finalists

The 2012 Naked Girls Reading Literary Honors finalists have been announced.  The awards ceremony will be in November.  As our judges make their final calls, feel free to read excerpts from the five top pieces below (in no particular order):

Dance Home – Erin K. Parker

The hot sweat on the back of my neck turn sharp and cool, and I am lifted by the soft ocean smell of Santa Monica on a summer night.

I carry with me the freedom of movement, the naked energy in the studio, the oranges and the tea, the candle wax in the windows.  I carry the sound of bare feet on wooden floors.  I carry warmth from the heat of the music.  I carry the spinning records and the tall windows overlooking the back alley.  I carry the touch of strangers that I held up as they held me, breathing together and finding our balance.

Triads – Mieke Paulsen Bahmer

The years often blurred together– he had sat at this work-table for decades, and his master before him, and his master’s master before that. Sometimes he felt as though all the craftsmen who had passed through this shop were gathered around, critiquing his work; sometimes he himself was the observer, watching his old master’s hands bring out the clear beauty from what looked like a plain stick of fire-wood. Then, someone would call him into supper, and he would realize with a start that it was his own hands he’d been watching.

Today, however, the years of his life stood out in perfect clarity, and each oaken shaving curled cleanly away from the board. He remembered his Marianne’s funeral, and the casket he’d made for her out of simple, carefully worked pine wood. That shaving peeled away, and beneath it were shavings from years of children’s toys, cradles, cabinets, chairs, tables, wagon wheels– anything anyone needed, he could provide, and did– with the help of a small horde of apprentices, all of whom were at times in love with one or more of his three daughters.

Blossoming in Beijing – Katrina Kemble

Beijing, ancient and mysterious Beijing, where secrets are seeped within the walls of the Forbidden City, where ghosts of concubines and empresses haunt palaces and dark halls, welcomed me back.  It was here that I learned about the healing powers of intimacy.

In the bath house I found myself naked once again and slipping into my own pool of rose petals, rose oil, milk, and warm water.  I soaked up the silky milk and roses.  I let the water flow over me.  It flowed over and caressed everywhere he had been.  Pink rose petals floated through the water and gently kissed each of my breasts.

Based on a True Story – Bradley James Weber

So, I wasn’t there to rob the place.  I was there to kill somebody.  I was there to kill my manager, John.

Lorraine and the Alligator – Bradley James Weber

It was another family reunion; something like one every three years they schedule these things – just long enough apart so that the swelling goes down and the scars fade from the brawls and the ass-kickings that happen when that many relatives get together in one place.  You’d think that after six or seven of these messes we’d learn that bad blood and strong drink…

Let me put it this way: when we play ‘rock, paper, scissors,’ we bring our own rocks.