National Short Story Month: Staff Selections | The Sun Magazine
Featured Selections

National Short Story Month: Staff Selections

May 14, 2020

For National Short Story Month, we hope you’ll enjoy these fiction selections from The Sun’s archive. We’ve lifted our paywall during this period of isolation, so please feel free to share them with others.

V.I.P. Tutoring


Starting in first grade, I’d had to get myself and my sister ready for the day. Grace would sit in my lap as I pulled on her socks. How complete I’d felt with her in my arms. But how different she turned out to be from me.

Selected by Molly House in celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Kids Today


I noticed no one was bothered that I was giving the girls chocolates. I was pretty sure that if I were a middle-aged man giving them chocolates, it would be a different story. Or maybe no one dared mention what the girls were or weren’t eating because of how things were with girls and how delicately you had to tiptoe around issues of food so as not to trigger any possible disorders.

But it seemed reading was, if you’ll pardon the pun, a whole other story. It seemed that reading books you found in the trash wasn’t OK.

Selected by Staci Kleinmaier. Read more from Lucie Britsch in our online archive.

Freedom From Delusion


Once we found ourselves alone, we were like a couple making up after a fight, although we hadn’t fought. We were sobered and chastened and on fire. The crew was full of inside jokes about how we never left the hotel room. But that wasn’t even the point. The point had to do with gratitude. What if we had lost all this?

Selected by Derek Askey.

The Hogs, The Sow, The Wind


Once there were two hogs and a sow who lived in a sturdy pen outside an old man’s hut. Then the old man died. That morning, no one brought food to the pen; the next morning, no one brought food to the pen. By evening the animals were panicked and ravenous, the bottom of the trough licked smooth as tile. “The man will come with food tomorrow,” one hog assured the rest. “He always comes with food.”

Selected by David Mahaffey. Read more from David Rutschman in our online archive.



It was not just that she laughed louder and longer than everyone else at things that were funny, though that was troubling enough. It was that she laughed when no one else was laughing. . . . If you asked her what she was laughing at, she’d tell you nothing, never mind, she couldn’t say. Or she’d tell you the pathetic truth: she didn’t know.

Selected by Anna Gazmarian in celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Sigrid Nunez was awarded a Pushcart Prize for her short story.

Ten Thousand Years


My grandmother appreciated the attention. I noticed in particular that she seemed to need to be touched. She would offer any excuse. One time she complained about her diamond earrings, which had been part of her dowry. She said they were weighing her down. When Thomas went to remove them, his fingers brushed her ear, and I sensed an electricity that traveled up and down her body and lit up her eyes. . . . Another time she took his hand, placed it on her forehead, and asked if she felt feverish. When he said no and tried to withdraw his hand, she said, "Leave it longer, to be sure." Thomas rested his hand on her forehead, gently stroking it until she fell asleep.

Selected by Holly McKinney in celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.


Death Or Glory


We went deeper into the ocean, cold water wrapping us, white foam clinging to our skin. I carried your soft, floppy body, your sweaty cheek resting against my shoulder, your right eye — the good one — wide and staring up at my face. I felt my way along the sandy bottom, trying to step lightly where there were stones, until finally, struggling with your weight, I began to kick so that we were both floating, heads bobbing above the waterline, beyond the waves to where the water grayed and frigid sea pulled us.

"W-w-w-we’re swimming?" you asked, suddenly afraid.

Close your eyes, Sister, I told you. Just float.

Selected by Rob Bowers in celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Sweethearts Of The Rodeo


The ponies bear witness to dozens of pacts and promises that we make in the grave light of late afternoon and have every intention of keeping. We cross our hearts and hope to die on the subject of horses, husbands, and each other.

Selected by Rachel J. Elliott. Lydia Peelle was awarded a Pushcart Prize for her short story.

In Case You Missed It. . .

We’ve recently published short stories by Kate Osterloh, Sam Ruddick, Maria Black, and many more. You can browse all of the fiction in our archive here.

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