• Wednesday, May 7, Stony Brook University: Program in Writing Reading Series Free
  • Thursday, May 15th, KGB Lit Bar 85 East 4th Street, New York NY 10003 7pm Free
  • Wednesday, June 11, BookCourt 163 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11201 7pm Free
  • Thursday, June 26th, 10:00am Epoch Assisted Living at Brewster Place 855 Harwich Road, Brewster, MA. 02631 Free
  • Tuesday, September 30, Prairie Lights Bookstore 15 South Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52240
We champion the weird, the unwieldy, and the unclassifiable.


The Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize is an award for a previously-completed manuscript that comes with $5,000 and a Black Balloon Publishing book deal. This contest has no reading fee and is open to anyone who has previously completed an unpublished original work of fiction of over 50,000 words.

Announcing the winner of the first annual HORATIO NELSON FICTION PRIZE:

Mike Meginnis, for his profoundly original novel Fat Man and Little Boy.

Personifying the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan near the end of World War II, Meginnis has crafted a book unlike anything else we have read. As the brothers attempt to cope with the enormity of their pasts, and the reality that those pasts cannot be escaped, these symbols of death and destruction become beacons of longing, attracting an astounding array of characters, from Japanese farmers to black-market peddlers, an unhappy French wife, an American war widow, and a fortune teller, to name but a few.

Grounded in history but glowing with the patina of magical realism, the brothers' adventures carry them through three continents as they search for the meaning behind their births.

Read an excerpt of Fat Man and Little Boy at The Airship.


Author Mike Meginnis has published stories in Best American Short Stories 2012, The Collagist, PANK, and many others. He contributes regularly to HTML Giant and Kill Screen, and plays collaborative text adventures at exitsare.com. Meginnis earned his MFA at New Mexico State University, where he served as a managing editor of Puerto del Sol for two years. He is now the prose editor of Noemi Press and coedits Uncanny Valley with his wife, Tracy Rae Bowling. Meginnis lives and works in Iowa City. He has never seen the ocean.

Fat Man and Little Boy will be released by Black Balloon Publishing in October of 2014. For all media-related inquiries, please contact Jennifer Abel Kovitz at jennifer@45th-parallel.com.


We dedicate this prize to Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, a man who defied convention at every turn. A one-eyed, one armed lunatic genius who never gave up, he began his military career fully intact, but eventually lost his right eye (Corsica, 1793) and his right arm (the Canary Islands, 1797) in battle. He refused to wear an eye patch over the wound and used it to deliberately ignore a direct order from a superior officer during the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801, coining the phrase “turning a blind eye.” When egomaniac and noted short stack Napoleon attempted to use our beloved balloons for evil during the 1798 Battle of Aboukir with a “military balloon corps,” Nelson immediately destroyed the approaching objects, putting a permanent stop to the short-lived European militarization of these symbols of wonder. Our hero.

Like Nelson, we believe in relentless creativity and perseverance against all odds.

Are you the next literary Horatio Nelson we're looking for?

The second annual Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize will be announced in 2014.