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Book signings at The Conium Review’s AWP Conference table

The Conium Review will be exhibiting at the 2016 AWP Conference, and we’re featuring three signings at our table. We’re located at table number 1238, and we hope you’ll swing by to meet these talented authors. Please share the details invite others to the Facebook event pages for each event. We hope to see you there!

Caitlin Scarano — Thursday, March 31st, 2016, 3:00pm to 4:00pm

Caitlin will be signing copies of her Conium Press micro-chapbook, Pitcher of Cream. This story won our 2015 flash fiction contest, judged by Laura Ellen Joyce, author of The Luminol Reels and The Museum of Atheism. Pitcher of Cream is also scheduled to be anthologized in the Best Small Fictions 2016 (forthcoming from Queens Ferry Press). Laura Ellen Joyce calls Pitcher of Cream “haunting and beautiful.” Copies of this micro-chapbook are free during the signing! We’ve done a limited-run of just 50 copies, so be sure to snag one for free while supplies last. Find this event on Facebook.

Carmiel Banasky — Friday, April 1st, 2016, 4:15 to 5:00pm

Carmiel Banasky will be signing her Dzanc Books novel, The Suicide of Claire Bishop, directly after The Conium Review‘s innovative fiction panel. Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin and TransAtlantic, calls Carmiel’s book “Daring, precise, and linguistically acrobatic,” and Publishers Weekly says The Suicide of Claire Bishop is “A memorable, intricate, and inventive debut. . . . both an intellectual tour de force and a moving reflection on the ways we try to save ourselves and others.” Find this event on Facebook.

William VanDenBerg — Saturday, April 2nd, 2016, 2:00pm to 3:00pm

William VanDenBerg will be signing copies of Lake of Earth (Caketrain Press) and Apostle Islands (Solar Luxuriance). Brandon Hobson, author of Deep Ellum, says Lake of Earth is “a terrific and daring book, and Michael Kimball, author of Big Ray, says “William VanDenBerg writes so much story into so few lines that it’s easy to get lost in these bright fictions.” Find this event on Facebook.

Rita Bullwinkel’s Top Ten AWP 2016 Panels

The annual Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) conference is less than a month away, and we’re getting amped up for the obligatory tote bags. Our staff and contributors will be sharing their favorite AWP happenings on our blog over the coming weeks, and we hope to see you at the conference (stop by table #1238 and say “hello” to The Conium Review staff).

First up, Rita Bullwinkel (Vol. 4 contributor) shares her top ten panels.


“The Violence of the Page”

Thursday, March 31, 2016, 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Room 403 B, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

(Lucy Corin, Maggie Nelson , Brian Evenson, Ben Weissman, Fred D’Aguiar)

This panel explores the various tones, reasons, genealogies, and methodologies writers might choose to employ when representing violence, cruelty, and bodies on the page. The writers on this panel have explored these issues in a variety of genres (fiction, scholarship, and poetry) and in a variety of registers (comedic, elegiac, outrageous, conceptual, documentary, and more), and are uniquely capable of discussing the aesthetic, political, and metabolic effects of such writing.

“It Ain’t What They Call You, It’s What You Answer To: Peeling Off Genre Labels”

Thursday, March 31, 2016, 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

Room 502 B, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

(Daniel Orozco, Doug Dorst, Maureen McHugh, Kelly Luce, Manuel Gonzales)

How does fantasy fiction (or sci-fi, or detective or horror fiction) become literary fiction? Who decides how/when the genre label gets affixed, or peeled off? Why is the move from genre to literary always somehow a narrative of progress, implying a lesser realm left behind? Hear firsthand as writers with varying affinities to genre fiction reflect on how they negotiate with (wrestle, embrace, sidestep) genre conventions in the creation of their work.

“Translation as Animation: New Poetry from Japan”

Friday, April 1, 2016, 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

Room 402 AB, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

(Kyoko Yoshida , Forrest Gander , Sawako Nakayasu, Goro Takano, James Shea)

Beginning with a short reading, this panel of translators and writers explores the formal problems, aesthetic choices, and political implications of translating contemporary Japanese poetry. Panelists discuss the diversity of Japanese poetry and consider how the pleasures and challenges of translation animate their own writing. Poets under discussion include Takashi Hiraide, Sayumi Kamakura, Shirō Murano, Kiwao Nomura, and Gozo Yoshimasu.

“Korean Feminist Poetics and Translation”

Friday, April 1, 2016, 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Gold Salon 3, JW Marriott LA, 1st Floor

(Eunsong Kim, Johannes Goransson, Ji Yoon Lee, Don Mee Choi, Joyelle McSweeney)

South Korea’s contemporary history has been deeply impacted by US imperial policies. Yet its history remains relatively unknown: its war, dictatorships, and 47 Free Trade Agreements. We poets and translators discuss feminist Korean poets and propose poetry-as-activism and translation-as-resistance to colonizing power.

“What the Heck Does Innovative Fiction Actually Mean?: Authors Cut Through the Jargon”

Friday, April 1, 2016, 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

Scott James Bookfair Stage, LA Convention Center, Exhibit Hall Level One

(James R. Gapinski, Ashley Farmer, Manuel Gonzales, Matt Bell, Carmiel Banasky) Innovative fiction is fast becoming a literary buzzword. It’s often a placeholder term for experimental or avant-garde, but what does it really mean? It’s time for a down-to-earth chat that eschews all the labels and jargon. In this panel, presented by The Conium Review, several authors cut through the marketing ploys and hype for a candid talk on the strange, weird, and new in contemporary fiction.

“Kelly Link, Emily St. John Mandel, and Ruth Ozeki: A Reading and Conversation, Sponsored by Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau”

Friday, April 1, 2016, 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

Concourse Hall, LA Convention Center, Exhibit Hall Level One

(Emily St. John Mandel, Ruth Ozeki, Kelly Link)

This event brings together three brilliant contemporary female writers—Kelly Link, Emily St. John Mandel, and Ruth Ozeki—to read and discuss their craft and experiences as genre-bending authors. Kelly Link is the recipient of an NEA grant and is the author of Get in Trouble. Emily St. John Mandel is the author of Station Eleven, a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award. Ruth Ozeki is the author of A Tale for the Time Being, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

“In the Realms of the Real and the Unreal”

Saturday, April 2, 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

AWP Bookfair Stage, LA Convention Center, Exhibit Hall Level One

(Katharine Beutner, Sofia Samatar, Carmen Machado, Alice Sola Kim, Kelly Link)

This panel explores genres of fiction that juxtapose the real and the unreal in experimental ways: historical fiction, literary fantasy/science fiction, weird fiction, and satire. Where do we draw the line between a secondary world and a distorted reflection of our own world’s beauty, violence, and diversity? Can we discern a poetics of the unreal in contemporary fiction? How have the continual debates over generic boundaries—and/or their irrelevance—affected the ways contemporary writers work?

“In Whose Image: Trans and Genderqueer Writers on Magic, Spirituality, and (the Bodies of) G-d”

Saturday, April 2, 2016, 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

Room 402 AB, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

(CA Conrad, Joy Ladin, Ryka Aoki, Ian Ellasante, TC Tolbert)

Spirituality, like writing, hinges on transformation. Similarly, trans and genderqueer writers have unique experiences with transformation on and off the page. This dynamic panel explored the intersections between ritual, myth, magic, magical realism, and even end-rhyme as they shape our various embodiments and faiths. We don’t want to save you, but we hope you are ready to be changed.

“New Directions in Contemporary War Fiction”

Saturday, April 2, 2016, 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Room 510, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

(Peter Molin, Matt Gallagher, Andria Williams, Jesse Goolsby, Elliot Ackerman)

This panel features short readings and commentary by four first-time novelists in the burgeoning field of contemporary war literature. The authors’ novels, each published in either 2015 or 2016, highlight new possibilities for representing combat, war, and military culture in fiction. Building on recent critically acclaimed fiction depicting conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, the panel authors refine our understanding of the human dimensions of war overseas and on the home front.

“Fables, Fibs, and Flat-Out Lies: The Material of Making, Sponsored by Copper Canyon Press”

Saturday, April 2, 2016, 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

Concourse Hall, LA Convention Center, Exhibit Hall Level One

(Michael Wiegers, Richard Siken, Laura Kasischke, Roger Reeves)

Whatever the chosen form, making is a dominant force in any artist’s life. For writers, the creative material—language—is simultaneously precise and slippery, irreducible and expansive; metaphor is a lie that tells the truth, and image a construct made from the sound and meaning of language. This reading features three writers who practice various literary and artistic forms—fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and painting—and will be followed by a conversation moderated by their editor.


Rita Bullwinkel is a Conium Review Vol. 4 contributor. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee where she is a fiction MFA candidate at Vanderbilt University and the Fiction Editor of the Nashville Review. Her writing has appeared in several publications including VICENOONSpork anHayden’s Ferry Review. She is a graduate of Brown University, a Vanderbilt Commons Writer in Residence, a Sewanee Writers’ Conference Tennessee Williams Scholarship Award winner, and a Helene Wurlitzer Foundation grantee. Her story “In the South the Sand Winds are Our Greatest Enemy” was selected by Joyland Magazine as one of their top five favorite stories published in 2015. The Nashville Review will be exhibiting at AWP at booth #1500.

Our 2016 Flash Fiction Contest judge is Leesa Cross-Smith

Last year’s flash contest was judged by Laura Ellen Joyce, and she chose Caitlin Scarano as the winner. We’re looking forward to unveiling the micro-chap for Caitlin Scarano’s winning story, “Pitcher of Cream,” at the upcoming AWP Conference in Los Angeles.

Leesa Cross-Smith headshot 2 (683x1024)So we don’t want to completely steal Caitlin’s glory here, but we’ve be aching to tell you that Leesa Cross-Smith will be the 2016 Flash Fiction Contest judge!

Leesa is the author of Every Kiss a War, and she’s co-editor of WhiskeyPaper. Her work has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Little Fiction, Hobart, NANO FictionMonkeybicycle, JukedWord Riot, Sundog Lit, The Rumpus, and tons of other places. Check out Leesa’s website for more information on her work.

The Conium Review 2016 Flash Fiction Contest is open for submissions from October 1st to December 1st. The winner receives $300, online publication, publication as a broadside or micro-chap, and a copy of the judge’s book. Full guidelines are already available here.

We’re glad to have Leesa Cross-Smith as the judge, and we hope you’ll submit some fantastic flash to this contest. If you want to stay informed about this and other opportunities at The Conium Review, you can sign up for our e-mail newsletter here (we don’t spam you; just one e-mail per month with an easy unsubscribe link at the bottom).

Manuel Gonzales and Matt Bell join our AWP 2016 panel!

The Conium Review is presenting a panel at the 2016 AWP Conference in Los Angeles: “What the Heck Does Innovative Fiction Actually Mean?: Authors Cut Through the Jargon,” scheduled for Friday, April 1st at 3:00pm on the Scott James Bookfair Stage.

Unfortunately, two of the original panelists—Stephen Graham Jones and Lindsay Hunter—are no longer able to attend the conference in LA.

But we’ve arranged and confirmed some fantastic alternate panelists! Manuel Gonzales and Matt Bell will be joining the rest of the panelists in a lively discussion of innovative fiction, and we’re super duper excited to welcome them aboard.

Manuel Gonzales is the author of the collection, The Miniature Wife and Other Stories, and the forthcoming novel, The Regional Office Is Under Attack! He teaches creative writing at the University of Kentucky in Lexington and at the low-residency MFA program at IAIA.

Matt Bell is the author of the novels Scrapper and In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods, a finalist for the Young Lions Fiction Award and an Indies Choice Adult Debut Book of the Year Honor Recipient. He teaches creative writing in the MFA program at Arizona State University.

We’re excited to have Manuel and Matt on-board, and looking forward to seeing many of our readers and contributors at the panel. Come loaded with questions for the Q&A portion (but let’s avoid trying to covertly pitch your novel in the form of a panelist question—it doesn’t actually work).

Congrats to Our Best Small Fictions 2016 Nominees

Best Small Fictions coverLast week, we mailed off our nominees for the Queen’s Ferry Press anthology, Best Small Fiction 2016. We’re proud to officially announce our selections. There were so many good stories to choose from. Congratulations to the five nominees:

About the Nominees:

Caitlin Scarano is a poet in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee PhD creative writing program. She was a finalist for the 2014 Best of the Net Anthology and the winner of the 2015 Indiana Review Poetry Prize, judged by Eduardo Corral. She has two poetry chapbooks. This winter, she will be an artist in residence at the Hinge Arts Residency program in Fergus Falls and the Artsmith’s 2016 Artist Residency on Orcas Island.

Tamara K. Walker dreams of irrealities among typewriter ribbons, stuffed animals and duct tape flower barrettes. She resides near Boulder, Colorado with her wife/life partner and blogs irregularly about writing and literature at http://tamarakwalker.wordpress.com. She may also be found online at http://about.me/tamara.kwalker. Her writing has previously appeared or is forthcoming in The Cafe Irreal, A cappella Zoo, Melusine, Apocrypha and Abstractions, Gay Flash Fiction, Identity Theory, a handful of poetry zines, and several themed print anthologies published by Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Ingrid Jendrzejewski studied creative writing and English literature at the University of Evansville before going on to study physics at the University of Cambridge. She has soft spots for go, cryptic crosswords, and the python programming language, but these days spends most of her time trying to keep up with a delightfully energetic toddler. Once in a very great while, she adds a tiny something to www.ingridj.com and tweets at @LunchOnTuesday.

Sarah Mitchell-Jackson is a novelist and a short story writer. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in The Critical Pass Review and Really System. Her debut novel, Ashes, will be out this year published by Blue Moon Publishers. You can read more of her work at www.smitchjack.wordpress.com.

John Englehardt’s stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Sycamore Review, The Stranger, Monkeybicycle, The Monarch Review, and Furlough Magazine. He won the 2014 Wabash Prize in Fiction, as well as The Stranger‘s A&P fiction contest. He’s a recent graduate of University of Arkansas’ MFA program, and now lives and works in Seattle.