Announcing the 2017 Consequence Magazine Women Writing War Fiction Award Winner
Siobhan Fallon selected the winning story: “Hill 145” by Ruth Edgett.
About the selected story Siobhan Fallon wrote:
“How is it that our agony has been rendered so gracefully?” asks the narrator in “Hill 145” as he gazes up at a war memorial. And isn’t this both the question, and the answer, to all art about conflict? The experiences of those who have survived war take a violent, ugly thing and try to translate it into something the rest of us can comprehend. Art becomes a way to channel epiphany and empathy into those who are lucky enough to remain unscathed.
“Hill 145” brings us to 1936, to Canadian World War I veterans returning, nineteen years later, to the battleground in France that cost them 3,598 lives. The story is amazingly sophisticated, novelistic in scope and detail, yet intimately probes the guilt of a soldier who outlives all of the friends he swore to protect. On the surface, “Hill 145” paints a rosy picture, with green fields, grazing horses, and poppies in the distance, but the reader, with awful hindsight, knows that in a few short years the evils of the first world war will not only be repeated, but grossly intensified. Ruth Edgett’s “Hill 145” strikes a delicate balance of nostalgia and impending doom, brilliantly illuminating how Vets are ‘well-practiced at moving between worlds’ when reconciling their soldiering pasts and civilian presents.
Siobhan Fallon is the author of The Confusion of Languages (June 2017), and You Know When the Men Are Gone, which won the 2012 Pen Center USA Literary Award in Fiction, the Indies Choice Honor Award, and the Texas Institute of Letters Award for First Fiction. Theatrical productions of her stories have been staged in California, Colorado, Texas, and France. More of Siobhan’s essays and fiction have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Guernica, New Letters, Huffington Post, Washington Post Magazine, and Military Spouse Magazine. Siobhan and her family moved to Jordan in 2011 and they currently live in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.