Short Listed: January 2023

January 2023

Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.

Mother Teresa

friends smiling while holding holiday sparklers

Short Story Fest 2023 will be held this year in Baltimore, Maryland, with some events streamed live for online viewers. If you are an author or vendor who would like to participate, please complete and submit an application to join us.

What To Read

hollowed by lucy zhang


by Lucy Zhang

Hollowed is an interesting collection of short stories that reminds me of a number of pregnancy-related zines. But in this set, the protagonist does not give birth. It’s just one of myriad reasons she always feels empty. Good thing she loves to eat; food seems to be one thing that fulfills her.

Mozart and Leadbelly cover

Mozart and Leadbelly

by Ernest J. Gaines

What inspires an author to do his best work? Gaines shares his own inspirations in this collection of personal essays and engaging short stories. Several of the author’s published works are the source of film adaptations, including A Lesson Before Dying, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, A Gathering of Old Men, and The Sky Is Gray.

What To Watch

Alice in Borderland

Based on the graphic novel series by Haro Aso, Alice in Borderland follows Arisu and his friends through a strange, gamified wonderland where every turn takes leads them to a new adventure. Think Jumanji meets Squid Game where the highest stake of every real life game is life itself. (Netflix)


Billed as a suspenseful horror flick, Master gets less scary at the end once someone says the quiet part out loud. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is the symbolic backdrop of this film about race, microaggression, and subtext set at an ivy league university. Fans of Jordan Peele’s Get Out will find similarities in this film. (Amazon)

Where To Go

chewbacca parade banner

Chewbacca Parade

Head to New Orleans for Mardi Gras this year, but remember to include the Krewe of Chewbacchus parade in your carnival activities. Inspired by Chewbacca from Star Wars, this parade is for everyone who loves everything sci-fi and beyond. (January 28)

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

If you love a good Western or stories about people raising cattle (Western romance, anyone?), then mosey on out to Elko, Nevada, for the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. This event has music, film screenings, art shows, gold mine tours, and more, including writers’ workshops, talks, and story time at the library for young children. (January 30-February 4)

Reproductive Writes banner

Reproductive Writes

Highlighting book bans targeting issues of importance to women, intersex people, and the LGBT community, this event gives voice to conversations about reproductive rights and body independence through the art of literary expression. It will host authors Meredith Blevins and Michelle Beaver and feature discussions with local thought leaders about the present political climate. (January 21)

Bob Huggins Fish Fry

Still not a role model, bestselling author and former NBA player turned sports analyst Charles Barkley headlines this year’s fundraiser for the 2023 Bob Huggins Fish Fry. Proceeds benefit the Norma Mae Huggins Endowment at the WVU Cancer Institute and the Remember the Miners Flagship Scholars Program. (January 27)

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