Three-Minute Fiction Reading: 'Plum Baby'

Three-Minute Fiction Reading: 'Plum Baby'

7:47pm May 18, 2013

NPR's Susan Stamberg reads an excerpt of one of the best submissions for Round 11 of our short story contest. She reads Plum Baby by Carmiel Banasky of Portland, Ore. You can read the full story below and find other stories on our Three-Minute Fiction page or on Facebook.

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It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.


LYDEN: We're reading excerpts of some of the best submissions from our Three-Minute Fiction writing contest, and they were chosen with the help of grad students from schools across the country, including the University of Iowa, Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis.

The challenge, as issued by our judge, Karen Russell, was to write a story about a character who finds something they have no intention of returning. We got thousands of submissions, and here's one of the standouts about a family's coveted plum tree sold to a lumberyard.

SUSAN STAMBERG, BYLINE: (Reading) I pick up a stick and throw it straight up in the air, but it doesn't fall on me. Who needs lumber anymore? No one's building, Mama Lee says. I say: Do they own the plum tree now if they own the house? I told them, she says. I'm gonna take it, if it's all the same to you. She looks at me then. You going to dig it up with your bare hands, hmm?

There's a shovel not packed yet. Mama Lee's got a mean laugh. And what do you plan to do with a tree, hmm, when you got no yard? I pick up another stick and throw it up and hope it hits her head. But it sinks behind us.

LYDEN: That was Susan Stamberg reading an excerpt from the story "Plum Baby," written by Carmiel Banasky of Portland, Oregon. If you want to find out what happens next, you can read this story in its entirety at our website, That's Three-Minute Fiction all spelled out, no spaces. Be sure to tune in tomorrow to hear more excerpts from Round 11 of our contest.

(SOUNDBITE OF CLOCK TICKING) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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