Denyse Woods has published five novels that have been translated into six languages.
But she said she was still surprised — and elated — when she learned that she had won the first Florida Keys Flash Fiction contest. Especially when she read the praise for her story from contest judge Karen Russell, author of "Swamplandia."
"I had to lie down for a few minutes," Woods said. "When somebody like that writes about your work in that way ... You need to take three deep breaths and pinch yourself. A lot."
Woods is in Key West for the month of July to collect her prize — a residency at The Studios of Key West and the opportunity to write in Ernest Hemingway's studio at the Hemingway Home & Museum.
"It'll take me awhile to settle. I'll have to do a lot of thinking in here. Somebody said writing is 90 percent thinking. So I'll do a lot of thinking in here as well and just absorbing," Woods said. "It's kind of overwhelming in a way, that Hemingway wrote in here. So it'll take a few days to work out how it affects how I work."
Woods is scheduled to read on July 20 as part of the annual Hemingway Days festival, and she also won a fishing trip as part of a marlin tournament.