Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of overdogs. I like to root against the Goliaths of the world. Speak truth to power. Support the little guys.

That said, Laura Newman is the Tom Brady of our 95-word fiction contest. Year after year, she just keeps winning—even when you don’t expect it. And I love it. I love that someone has mastered the least glamorous literary form this side of the limerick: the RN&R 95-word story. Even though our contest attracts a couple of hundred entrants every year, she’s won or placed in the contest dozens of times.

Here’s the thing: The contest is judged by the RN&R editorial team, but when we read the stories, the authors’ names have been removed. (And props to RN&R office manager Lisa Ryan for compiling the stories and redacting the names for us.) We vote on our favorite stories without any idea who wrote them. And we all have different tastes—and, of course, the team itself has changed a lot over the years.

And yet somehow Laura Newman’s stories always rise to the top. I was genuinely surprised when Lisa gave me the names of this year’s winning authors. In the past, Newman’s stories have usually been eloquent and poignant, so I was surprised to see her name attached to such a laugh-out-loud entry. But a little twist of surprise is a hallmark of a lot of great fiction.

Overall, it’s a great crop of stories this year. Hope y’all enjoy reading them as much as we did. And big thanks to everyone who submitted stories! We appreciate the newcomers, even if our own tiny fiction giant can’t be beat.

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