The winner of the 2016 Story of the Year, along with the $50 prize and enshrinement in the Hall of Fame, is:
Aunt Peg by Jennifer L. Freed
Death is one of the more common themes on this site. In fact, death was part of the theme of the 2015 story of the year, as well. But I’ve never seen death explored as subtly, meaningfully, or personally as Jennifer did here. Aunt Peg doesn’t jump out at the reader. It doesn’t assert itself or demand that you read it over and over. And yet it stays with you somehow. After the words and sentences have faded, the idea and the character remain. I still haven’t gotten over it six months later. It’s brilliant work, and I’m proud to have given Jennifer a venue to share this story.
Honourable mentions to the excellent Five minutes until ‘I do’ by Mark Farley and Palindrome by Pontius Paiva, which is the most technically impressive 50-word story I’ve ever read. This is the second consecutive year Mark Farley has appeared as a runner up for story of the year.