THE BEST THAT YOU CAN DO
Winner of the Kimbilio Soft Skull Fiction Prize
A New Collection from Kimbilio Fellow Amina Gautier
The Best That You Can Do is a collection of very short fiction whose stories probe the frailty of human effort and intention, and which explore the myriad ways in which people engineer their own downfalls. Grouped into five thematic subsections, with stories ranging in time from the Civil Rights era to the present day, and set in such places as Brooklyn, Chicago, Lisbon, Menlo Park, Philadelphia, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere, these very short stories follow characters threading together culturally complex identities as they attempt to connect with absent or negligent relatives, offer nostalgic looks at black childhood, depict failed and imploded romantic and interpersonal relationships, explore the increased surveillance of and violence against black bodies, and capture the plight of those who live through urban blight.
KIMBILIO FELLOW AND AUTHOR
Amina Gautier is the author of four award-winning short story collections: The Best That You Can Do (2024), which won the inaugural Kimbilio-Soft Skull Publishing Prize; The Loss of All Lost Things (2016), which won the Elixir Press Award in Fiction and received The Phillis Wheatley Award, The International Latino Book Award, The National Indie Excellence Award, a Silver Medal “IPPY” Award in Northeast Fiction, and was a Finalist for the Paterson Prize, The John Gardner Award, The Hurston/Wright Award, and shortlisted for the William Saroyan Award, and The St. Francis College Literary Prize; Now We Will Be Happy (2014), which won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize, the International Latino Book Award, the Eric Hoffer Legacy Award, a Silver IPPY Award in Multicultural Fiction, and a Florida Authors and Publishers Association Award Gold Medal in Short Fiction; and At-Risk (2011), which won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and received an Eric Hoffer Legacy Award and a First Horizon Award. For her body of work, Gautier has received the Blackwell Prize, the Chicago Public Library Foundation’s 21st Century Award, and the PEN/MALAMUD AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE SHORT STORY. Gautier is the first African American woman to win the prestigious PEN/MALAMUD award since its inception in 1988.