Barry Pearce won the grand prize in the Chicago Tribune’s 2019 Nelson Algren Literary Awards. The nationally recognized annual competition honors original short fiction. Pearce’s short story, “Chez Whatever,” was chosen from among the more than 3,000 pieces submitted to the 2019 contest. The short story passed multiple rounds, and was finally selected over five other finalists by judges Mona Simpson, Jane Smiley, and Jennifer Acker.
“Chez Whatever” is the story of a young woman who, while struggling through a snowstorm to meet her lover, has a strange encounter at a valet stand that alters the course of the evening and, in ways she won’t appreciate for many years, the trajectory of her life.
It is part of a book in progress, a collection of linked stories called “The Plan of Chicago.” Pearce lives in Chicago, where he works as a ghostwriter.