Sarah Gerard has finished deliberating, and we have a winner! Joe Aguirre is the 2019 Innovative Short Fiction Contest Winner with his short story “Three Riffs for the Devil.”

Joe Aguirre writes from Shrewsbury, MA. He’s driven a laundry truck, practiced maritime law, and sorted organs in a pathology lab. His work is forthcoming in Fugue. He will receive a $500 prize for his winning story, publication in The Conium Review: Vol. 8, copies of the issue, and a copy of Sarah Gerard’s latest book.

Here’s what the judge had to say about Joe’s winning story:

“‘Three Riffs for the Devil’ is a confident, pitch-perfect satire of getting what you ask for, with winking jewels of dark wisdom. Sharp and original, it pokes at the reader’s ribs, sticks its fingers into our weak points, asking, What’s your own vice? In what form will the devil come for you? Maybe he already has.”

~ Sarah Gerard, author of Sunshine State

This year’s finalists were Brittany Ackerman, Debbie Graber, Alison Foster, Jasmine Sawers, and Kate Simonian. Thanks to all those who submitted. As always, the decision was difficult, and we appreciate you trusting us with your work.