The Write Outlook 

Sometimes it's easy to forget the reach Boise Weekly has and the impact of what is published in these pages. But there is no such confusion when it comes to the annual Fiction 101 issue.

After 11 years, our short-fiction writing contest has garnered a fervent following, not just among writers, but those who love reading good fiction. It seems like every time the subject of Fiction 101 comes up, someone turns to me, eyes wide with excitement, and says, "I love that issue."

None of us at BW would ever argue with them because it's one of our favorites as well--although I admit I was rather surprised when I learned that groups of local writers get together regularly for the express purpose of working on their Fiction 101 entries.

Each fall, we receive more than 100 entries, and it's my job to assemble a panel of judges whose experience, talent and passion bring a high level of credibility to the contest. Occasionally, as I moderate a judging session, I am struck by the assembly of literati seated around the table, and I geek out a bit.

It's never too hard to get a full slate of volunteers, despite the hours it takes to read and review every entry. Though BW does provide some lovely snacks for the final round of judging, each judge tackles the task because he or she truly wants to support local writers. And, luckily, Boise is home to an incredible amount of talent.

While we love being able to publish the cream of the crop each year, we also like being able to give our winning authors just a little more of the limelight they deserve. Luckily, the crew at Rediscovered Bookshop feels the same.

For the third year we will be heading to Rediscovered for a Fiction 101 reading and question-and-answer session with nearly all of our 2013 winning authors as part of First Thursday, Jan. 3. The event is free and open to the public and gives everyone not only the chance to hear each writer read his or her story, but to learn about the motivation or process behind the tale.

The reading begins at 7 p.m., but come early to snag a seat and maybe raise a glass of wine with the winners.

It's somehow fitting that Fiction 101 is always the first issue of the year, because what better way for a newspaper to herald in a new year than by celebrating great writing?

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