Winner 2020 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction

"Nimble, wired, savvy, unpredictable, playful and poignant, the slant-tellings and narrative short-circuitings that constitute Jen Fawkes’ TALES THE DEVIL TOLD ME remind us with every story that literature is ever passionately intertextual, every piece a kind of thank-you letter to all the others that have informed, reformed, and deformed it." —Lance Olsen, author of MY RED HEAVEN
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What if Captain Hook gave up marauding and took a gig at the Post Office? How did Hamlet's uncle Claudius become such a rat? What might happen if a plastic surgeon fell for Medusa? If Moby Dick could write a letter, what would he say to Ahab? The answers to these and many other questions can be found in Tales the Devil Told Me by Jen Fawkes - winner of the 2020 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction.


These twelve stories examine the possible lives of such classic literary villains as Professor Moriarty, Shere Khan, Rumpelstiltskin, Polyphemus, Mrs. Danvers and others, while illuminating the consumptive nature of love, the crushing weight of isolation, the false promise of beauty, and the power of storytelling itself.