Archive Page - 08/16/13 41 years, 2,178 covers and 55,102 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Rosie O'Donnell Files for Divorce from Michelle Rounds
- The Style Top 5: Cara Delevingne Gets Handsy With Her BFFs, Kim Kardashian's Unique Way of Thanking Her Fans and More
- This Talented Teen's Song About Inner Beauty Will Lift Your Mood
- Slender Man Suspect on Stabbing Friend: 'It Felt Weird'
- Anonymous Stranger Buys Wedding Dress for Cash-Strapped Bride-to-Be
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- June 19, 1989
- Vol. 31
- No. 24
Laurie Berry's 252-Word Story May Seem An Under-a-Cheever, but It Ended Up a Big Winner
From that idyllic beginning, her story about a yuppie couple's life in a Houston barrio moves quickly along—very quickly along. Peter and Rachel talk, drink vodka, have doubts, have dinner, have sex with the windows open. And then, as all good stories must, it ends. It ends, in fact, after a mere 252 words, and it has just beaten more than 1,600 entries from every state and about every nation in the English-speaking world in the annual World's Best Short Short Story contest, sponsored by Florida State University.
Jerome Stern, 50, an English professor at FSU, began the contest four years ago. It is not, he insists, a gimmick. "It gets people writing instead of watching TV," he says. "You don't have to wait until you retire to write the novel you're never going to write." As for the truncated form, Stern cites such illustrious forebears as Aesop's fables, the Parables and the Grimms' fairy tales. "If you only have one page," he says, "there's no room to miss; every word has to count."
Berry, 32, a divorcée and an English lecturer at the University of Houston, says she didn't even write her story, titled "Mockingbird," with the short short story contest in mind. In fact it was originally eight pages long. Then she began revising it, and it kept getting shorter. "I looked at it and thought it was a really nice, lyric piece of work, and it'll be in the bottom of my drawer and nobody will ever see it because it's so short." Then she heard about the contest and began cutting some more. In the end she met the contest rule that the entire story not exceed one double-spaced typewritten page of "about 250 words."
For her minimum opus, Berry became the recipient of some coveted prizes—a $100 check and a box of Florida oranges, to be delivered after the harvest in November. "Mockingbird" will also get a page in Sundog, FSU's literary magazine. There's no talk of movie rights.
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!