Mason’s Road, the literary magazine associated with Fairfield University’s MFA in Creative Writing program, is rising as a leader in the publishing world. Its second issue was just released, featuring the winner of its first writing prize C. Joseph Jordan, who will be awarded $500 for his short story “A Way in the Wilderness.”

The story follows the narrator through the wild landscape of the northwestern United States as he searches for his missing dog. His quest brings forth issues of loss, death, missed opportunities and redemption.

Fiction Co-Editor Chris Belden explained that the story was selected because of the theme for the magazine’s issue and the way Jordan crafts the setting.

“‘A Way in the Wilderness’ features an unforgettable landscape, beautifully realized by the author,” Belden said. “The cold, snowy eastern hills are vividly rendered in Jordan’s story. Jordan’s use of language calls to mind the best of Cormac McCarthy in its depiction of the inner and outer landscape.”

Lisa Calderone, founding editor of Mason’s Road, agreed with Belden. She said, “The story is well-written…and was selected for the first writing prize because of the way it exemplifies both voice and setting.”

Jordan’s piece joins the writing of 27 other talented writers in the latest Mason’s Road publication. Some notable pieces include poetry from Pulitzer Prize winner Philip Schultz and an audio interview with best-selling memoirist Da Chen. Also included are theme-focused craft essays and writing exercises.

Each issue of the magazine has a theme relating to a particular element of writing. The inaugural issue focused on voice, the second issue paid particular attention to setting, and the third issue will look for arc, the rise and fall of dramatic action. When pieces are selected for publication, students and editors look to see how well they fit the theme.

Mason’s Road is sponsored by Fairfield’s graduate creative writing program and is run chiefly by the students under guidance of faculty advisors and MFA alumni. Fairfield will celebrate the one-year anniversary of Mason’s Road on April 1. At that event, Jordan will receive his award and read portions from his writing. Other contributors to the magazine will also attend and have the opportunity to read from their work, honoring all the magazine strives to achieve.

“Contributions to Mason’s Road come in through a blind, open submissions policy,” said Calderone. “They are screened by Fairfield graduate students and through solicitations managed by the editors and/or faculty advisor.”

“If a piece is extraordinary, we don’t care if it fits the theme,” said Belden. “We want to snatch it up for publication.”

The magazine accepts a variety of genres for publication, said Calderone. He said, “All submissions must be in English. The magazine accepts work in fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, drama for the stage or screen, art, craft essays, and audio from both emerging and established writers and artists. MFA students in writing programs across the country are targeted, although no current Fairfield students or faculty are eligible to submit.”

More than anything, Mason’s Road seeks “writing that has been polished through hard labor and industrious practice – writing that is honest, and earnest, and strong,” as the mission statement explains. Editors search for writing that “ultimately teaches us the basics and the subtleties of our craft.”

“I’ve been associated with literary journals for over 20 years,” MFA Director Michael White told The Fairfield Sun. “Mason’s Road is not only one of the very best journals I’ve worked with, but its dual vision is unique, combining great literature and teaching the craft of writing.”

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