blackbirdonline journalSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
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Founded in 2002 as a joint venture of the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of English and New Virginia Review, Inc.

Copyright © 2018 by Blackbird and the individual writers and artists

ISSN 1540-3068



Announcing the Prize and Award Event

spacer Tarumoto
   Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto

Adam Latham is the 2017 winner of the Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto Short Fiction Prize for outstanding short fiction. His story “The Lizard Man,” published in v15n2 in the fall of 2016, was selected by our editors from short fiction published by Blackbird over the previous two-year period.

Latham’s story employs clear, poignant prose to weave together the worlds of grief and the supernatural, a sort of monster hunt for solace, for absolution from guilt. “The Lizard Man” is masterful in its narrative arc and development, wielding heavy sentiments with ease, and presenting the pain its characters face as a monster in its own right.

Latham received the award at Virginia Commonwealth University on April 5, 2018, and read his award-winning work. Documentation of the event will appear in a future issue of Blackbird.

The Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto Short Fiction Prize is sponsored by the family of Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto in her memory to honor her devotion to the art of writing fiction, to expand the audience for outstanding short stories, and to encourage literary excellence among writers early in their careers.

Currently, a prize of $2,000 is offered every other year for the best work of short fiction published by Blackbird during that period, with a particular emphasis on work by an emerging or underappreciated writer.

Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto was born September 21, 1945 in Richmond, Virginia. She died in October of 2007 after being struck in a pedestrian crosswalk in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Her sustained interest in writing led to her fiction being published in a number of literary journals as well as winning several competitions, including the 1996 and 2000 Short Fiction contests sponsored by Richmond Magazine. She was a graduate of St. Gertrude’s High School in Richmond and of Virginia Commonwealth University (class of 1967), and in 1971 she received an MA in English from the University of Michigan.

Her husband, David H. Tarumoto, who established the award at VCU in 2010, resided in California and passed away in 2016 at the age of seventy-five.

While funding for the prize itself comes from David Tarumoto’s endowment, the Department of English welcomes contributions in support of the celebration. Anyone wishing to make a donation is invited to visit the secure online contributions page,, click on “Search” and type in “Tarumoto” to access the correct link.  end of text