Runaway: an Anthology

Edited by Luanne Smith, Michael Gills, and Lee Zacharias

978-1-948692-26-7 paper 22.95
978-1-948692-27-4 ebook 9.99
6×9, 300 pp.
Fiction anthology
March 2020

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Excerpt from the Forward

What follows in this anthology is a collection of stories, real or imagined, that have been carefully crafted into works of art on the theme of running away. . . . In many of them absence becomes presence—the absences created for those left behind or the absences created within those who leave, or even think about leaving, others behind. In every one of these stories something is missing, a parent, a feeling, or some essential part of the self.

It is no surprise that many of these stories are motivated by abuse. . . . In one case a teen mother sacrifices herself by returning to an abusive father to let her baby daughter go for what she hopes is essential medical care. Not many of us know where—or even how—to run, and though a few characters run to, most of them run from. But to or from, one thing comes clear to them and to the reader: you can run from yourself, but no one ever completely escapes.

The two prize-winning stories both involve rituals, one mysteriously invented, the other ill-conceived. And though both of the honorable mentions begin with young women barely into adolescence hanging out with friends, the tone and atmosphere of those tales diverge. That these are all such different stories should give everyone heart. . . . No one’s running away story is quite like anyone else’s. Perhaps no one’s circumstances are quite like anyone else’s. Memory and imagination never spin exactly the same way. More importantly, the art one creates from such circumstances, or the circumstances imagination creates, is unique. These fully realized stories speak in diverse ways to a nearly universal desire. Who has never wanted to run away from something? Every one of these stories has been selected because it contributes to a larger narrative. Every one of them speaks to the questions that belong to that larger narrative. Who are we if we refuse to be shaped by our pasts? Who are we if we choose no longer to be ourselves? Who are we, whether we are left behind or gone?

from the forward by Lee Zacharias

Praise for <cite>Runaway</cite>

Roseville to Kansas City, Jamaica Plains to Lubbock, the characters in Runaway find new lives. These exciting stories find transformation via spirit, heart, loss, hope and emptiness. Luanne Smith, Michael Gills, and Lee Zacharias have crafted a collection that is at once devastating and utterly magical. This is a collection to be read and re-read, shared in writing workshops and savored.

Karen Salyer McElmurray, Wanting Radiance


  • “Neighbor Boys and Cousins” by Jodi Angel
  • “Kansas” by Emily Chiles
  • “Ritual” by Albert Aden
  • “Running Toward Away” by Richard Jay Goldstein
  • “If That Isn’t a Sign From God, Then I Don’t Know What Is” by Philen Bradford
  • “Sugar” by Misty Skaggs
  • “The Whiskey Monkey” by Maureen O’Brien
  • “Vivian Delmar” by Louise Marberg
  • “Nothing to Light Our Way” by Emily Hoover
  • “Daphne: The Aspen Version” by Erica Olsen
  • “Reapers” by Jeffrey Byrem
  • “Reading Herzog” by Michael Simpson
  • “Iris with Mermaids” by Deborah Johnstone
  • “Sioux Falls, South Dakota” by Marisol Cortez
  • “Sever” by K.B. Carle
  • “Lubbock 1974” by Bobby Horecka
  • “Running in Circles” by Merrill Gray
  • “Under the Grapefruit Tree” by Shelbi Carpenter
  • “Willie’s Crucifixion” by Rick Campbell
  • “The Thing” by Lou Morrison
  • “The Anchor Song” by Maurice Ruffin
  • “After We’re Gone” by Brett Riley
  • “Xmas, Jamaica Plain” by Melanie Rae Thon
  • “The House of Unintelligible Omens” by Randall Watson
  • “The Fishing Dog” by Bonnie Jo Campbell


Luanne Smith lives in New Jersey and works in Pennsylvania, but she is a born Kentuckian. For nearly 30 years, she taught creative writing and film at West Chester University outside of Philadelphia. Her work, usually short fiction, has appeared in Puerto del Sol, The Oxford Review, The Texas Review and other literary journals.

Michael Gills is the author of eight books of fiction and nonfiction, including the novel West (Raw Dog Screaming Press, March 2019) and the forthcoming visionary memoir, Finisterre. His short story collection The House Across From The Deaf School (Texas Review Press, 2016) was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Prize for Fiction. Gills is Professor of Writing for the Honors College at the University of Utah, where he lives in the foothills with his wife, Jill.

Lee Zacharias is the author of a collection of short stories, Helping Muriel Make It Through the Night; three novels, Across the Great Lake, Lessons, and At Random; and a collection of personal essays, The Only Sounds We Make. She has received fellowships from the NEA and the North Carolina Arts Council, North Carolina’s Sir Walter Raleigh Award, Southern Humanities Review‘s Theodore Christian Hoepfner Award, Prairie Schooner‘s Glenna Luschei Award, and a Silver Medal in Creative Nonfiction from the IPPYs. At Random was a finalist in literary fiction for the 2013 International Book Awards, the National Indie Lit Awards, and the USA Best Book Awards, and Across the Great Lake has been named a 2019 Notable Michigan Book. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous journals. Ten times her essays have been named Notable Essays of the Year by The Best American Essays. For a decade she served as editor of The Greensboro Review.


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