Inside a fiction-writing class at Bryn Mawr, Zebbie Watson ’12 found her story. Now that story, “A Single Deliberate Thing,” has won two major awards for short fiction: a 2016 O. Henry Prize and a 2016 Pushcart Prize.
Watson had written poetry and taken several courses in it when she decided to try her hand at fiction in 2011. She enrolled in a class with guest professor Karen Russell, author of the Pulitzer-nominated novel Swamplandia!, and discovered that the two forms had more in common than she’d thought. “I realized that, for me, short fiction is more like a longer poem than a shorter novel,” she says.
At a semester-end critique, Russell encouraged Watson to submit one of the pieces she’d written for class, “A Single Deliberate Thing,” to literary journals.
Now pursuing a master’s in Spanish Literature at the University of Georgia, Watson says she’s still writing and submitting more short stories—but she plans to teach Spanish to high school students as her full-time gig.