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CCUs Jason Ockert wins international short story contest

February 22, 2011

Jason Ockert, associate professor of English and associate dean for communication and the arts at Coastal Carolina University, was recently selected out of nearly 300 contestants as winner of the international 2010 Dzanc Books Short Story Collection Contest.

It feels both relieving, because Ive been working on this second collection for some time, says Ockert, and humbling because of the incredible competition.

Ockerts award-winning manuscript, Neighbors of Nothing, a collection of 10 stories, will be published in October 2013 and available at all major book distributors. Each character is trying to overcome some form of absence and loss from job status to a family member. The collection attempts to offer new ways of recasting this familiar theme of people struggling against that which threatens to overwhelm them, says Ockert. It sounds depressing, but I always try to include humor in my writing, too.

Ockert has won several national fiction awards and has been published in journals such as The Oxford American, Indiana Review, Mid-American Review and McSweeneys. His work has also appeared in the anthologies New Stories from the South and Best American Mystery Stories. His first short story collection is titled Rabbit Punches.

Dzanc Books, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., was established in 2006. The nonprofit organization publishes literary fiction, including novels and short story collections, and the monthly online literary journal, The Collagist.

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