Seattle Culture

Abrupt Write Turn

Zachary Kellian’s decision to pursue a new career nets him recognition

By Rob Smith May 3, 2024

Zachary Kellian

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2024 issue of Seattle magazine.

Zachary Kellian ditched a career he loved, as he puts it, “to live out a dream.”

Kellian left his job as a nonprofit executive five years ago to pursue a literary career. Today, he is one of 17 finalists in an inaugural, national short story contest based around lived experiences with money. The contest, called “Money Chronicles: A Story Initiative,” is a new program from The Principal Financial Group Foundation, a Des Moines, Iowa-based grantmaking entity.

Kellian’s 1,200-word story, Scotch 80s, is about the hardscrabble upbringing of a 17-year-old boy in Nevada who robs an armored truck to provide a better life for himself and his girlfriend. Kellian and the other winners will receive a monetary prize and have their stories published through Principal Foundation’s network of Short Story Dispensers, one of which is inside Seattle’s Elliott Bay Book Co.

Kellian, a Seattle-based writer of short stories and flash fiction, is also the founder and co-editor of the Orca Literary Journal. He is working on his first novel.

As he writes on his website, he enjoys the challenge of “championing the beauty and complexity of language.”

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