Narrowing down the field of entries this year has been a Herculean feat, one I can't take credit for at all. This year's judge, Paola Fornari, has had her work cut out for her. The quality of writing this year has been stunning. Many many thanks to Paola for all the time she has put into reading and judging this competition. I know decisions have been hard. Since there is no theme besides "travel" for this competition, we have received a rainbow palette of styles, from humor to academic research, from poetry to write-ups worthy of Lonely Planet. In many cases it has been a matter of comparing apples and antelopes.
Since we're getting down to the wire, I'd like to take a few minutes to explain where we'll go from here. If the title of your entry isn't on the list below, this sadly means the road ends here for you. Congratulations again if you were on the longlist! If you are out of the running, why not stick around and read the top entries when they are published in a few weeks? Doing so will help you prepare for next year's contest--and I hope you'll participate. We love hearing about your adventures.
Shortlist Entrants: Congratulations! You are on this list because your writing is exceptional. Out of 647 entries, you're among the top thirty. If your entry is chosen to be in the I Must Be Off! Top Entries of 2016, your piece will be published sometime between mid-August and mid-September, one entry every other day. The Readers' Choice Award will be based on the number of unique hits divided by the number of days live at I Must Be Off! Comments at I Must Be Off! and on the Facebook page for I Must Be Off! will be taken into consideration as well. Only the number of comments, regardless of whether they are positive or negative, will matter. The first and second place winners as well as the Readers' Choice Award will be announced on September 30.
Also, please remember that blind judging is still in progress. While sharing your achievement with family and friends is of course fine, please refrain from announcing this on social media.
A Day Out on the Death Railway
A Glimpse of the Future Coming from Behind
A Kiss of Oranges and Myrtle on Crete
A Mountainous Garden of Blossoming Delights
A Thousand Cranes
A Very Cuban Lesson in Kindness
David and the Girl
On the Edge of Green Island
Out of Place
Shakespeare Slipped through my Fingers
Shooting the Old Men of Durres
Swimming with Julius
The Bakalarities of Summer
The Fairies of Faerie Glen
The Good Times Roll
The Great Out-There
The Heart of What Matters
The Seven Headless Dwarfs
This is Jalala
To See Anew
Turtle Watch in Culebra
Again, congratulations to our shortlisters!
I must be off,
Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Juked, Eclectica Magazine's 20th-Anniversary Speculative anthology, Indiana Review, Night Train, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, and over a hundred other great places. Read his book reviews in [PANK], Necessary Fiction, Word Riot, The Lit Pub, and others. His creative non-fiction has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Bootsnall Travel, and lots of other fine places. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net, the storySouth Million Writers Award, and the Pushcart Prize. He is the 2015 recipient of Ginosko Literary Journal's award for flash fiction and in 2016 took third place in the K. Margaret Grossman fiction award given by Literal Latté. Allen is the managing editor of SmokeLong Quarterly.