Thanks for This Riot

Winner of the 2023 Book Prize in Fiction

The winner of the 2023 Raz-Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction is Janelle Bassett for her manuscript “Thanks for This Riot,” chosen by guest judges Cecily Wong and De’Shawn Charles Winslow with Kwame Dawes, Glenna Luschei Editor-in-Chief of Prairie Schooner. She will receive a $3,000 award and publication by the University of Nebraska Press.

Wong praised Bassett’s stories, noting that her “writing is energetic, hilarious and sharp-witted. The manuscript felt like a voyeuristic peek into the mind of someone who, hard as they try, cannot tame their rowdy opinions—like trailing a loveable friend that can’t be trusted in public.”

Bassett’s writing has appeared in The Rumpus, New Delta Review, Smokelong Quarterly, American Literary Review, The Offing, Washington Square Review, Wigleaf and Best Microfiction. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and is a fiction editor at Split Lip Magazine.

About the Book

Winner of the Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, Thanks for This Riot explores the limits of kindness, the weight of being needed, and the fear of being misunderstood. A group counselor is taunted by a truth-divining piano bench, a voice actor shouts her abortion at the state capitol, a tired caregiver tangles with a pair of stand-up comics, a small-town newspaper office shelters an otherworldly tattletale, a backwoods acupuncturist leans on her least-exciting offspring, a girl in a strapless bra takes a vengeful go-kart ride, and a woman gets surgery to lower her expectations (she thinks it went “okay”). Grouped by types of riot—external riots, internal riots, and laugh riots—Thanks for This Riot is a poignant and mordantly funny collection with a distinctly feminist viewpoint.


“Janelle Bassett’s voice is one I can’t get enough of. The stories in Thanks for This Riot are fresh and unique and wickedly off-kilter but also burn with a wry, age-old, ironic wisdom. This collection is bitingly funny but sincerely so, with little lies and harmless untruths taking on an edge and inflicting irresistible damage.”—Timothy Schaffert, author of The Perfume Thief and The Titanic Survivors Book Club

About the Author

Janelle Bassett’s writing appears or is forthcoming in the RumpusIndiana ReviewSmokelong QuarterlyAmerican Literary Review, the OffingWashington Square ReviewWigleaf, and Best Microfiction 2023. She lives in Saint Louis and is a fiction editor at Split Lip Magazine.