Fiction 101 Winner

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We've had many about inquiries about this year's Fiction 101 Contest winner, Jesus Jose Silveyra Tapia, who lives in Juarez, Mexico. Just how did someone living south of the border end up entering a writing contest in Idaho, and who is he?

We asked just those questions, and Tapia was kind enough to send us a little bio.

I was born in El Paso, Texas, in 1980, but raised in Juarez, Chihuahua, where I currently live. It’s bittersweet, to say the least, living in the most dangerous city in the world, so close to the safest place in America. The dividing Rio Grande sets the limits on opposite poles of life, like the Styx, only that here people pay the ferryman to take them to side of the living.

My experience in the creative field began here, south of the river, in 1990. For the longest part of my life I was a musician. I played rock 'n’ roll, punk, surf, you name it. But then, when things were getting good, the war commenced. Bars and restaurants were torched or shut down by frightened owners. The streets were no longer safe and in a matter of months they were empty. When the nightlife died, there was no use for rock bands. So in 2007 I turned to literature.

Surfing the web I stumbled upon Zoetrope, an online writing workshop. There’s a private office inside called The Flash Factory. That’s pretty much where I learned to write among a group of amazing and kind writers that have challenged and strengthened my abilities. That’s also where I met Boise’s own Sarah Witte.

Sarah is my Queen Midas. She published my first story in Bannock Street Books, the same story that received the National Short Story Award in Mexico last September. Then, in November, she reviewed and delivered "Radio Sound Designer" to Boise Weekly, and here we are. It’s strange that I’ve never been in Boise but that both my awards have stemmed from there, with the help of a woman I have yet to meet.

Back on this side of the river I hold a BA in Psychology, a MA in Literature and I work for the state’s institute of culture. I’m currently working on my first short-story collection, based on the duality of life at the border.

Whether he will be able to join us at our first-ever Fiction 101 Contest winners reading on First Thursday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. at Rediscovered Books has yet to be determined, so for now, we'll just keep enjoying his winning entry.