Matt Bell has selected Emily Koon‘s We Are Still Here as the 2016 Conium Press Book & Chapbook Contest winner!
Yes, Emily Koon. The same Emily Koon who won our Innovative Short Fiction Contest in 2015, judged by Amelia Gray. As always, the judging process was 100% blind, and Matt Bell was instructed to recuse himself if he could identify the author. We’re surprised that her work anonymously bubbled to the top twice — but then again, not too surprised — she’s just a damn good writer.
The stories in We Are Still Here are an eclectic mix including fairy tales, ghosts, Lizzie Borden, and people living in a Sears. In the title story, a family visiting an amusement park flees after a fatal roller coaster accident, only to find the real horror is on the chairlifts. In “The People Who Live in the Sears,” a group of people who find the real world too painful to function in make new lives in their local Sears department store. In “The Ghosts of St. Louis,” two teenagers living in a futuristic North America attempt to make sense of a world marred by climate change. Characters in these stories wrestle with questions of death, loneliness, abandonment, and their capacity to love, be loved, and inflict pain on others.
Emily Koon is a fiction writer from North Carolina. She has work in Potomac Review, The Rumpus, The Conium Review, Portland Review, and other places. She can be found at twitter.com/thebookdress.
Emily’s manuscript will be published by Conium Press, and she will receive $1,000, ten author copies, and a copy of the judge’s latest book.
This year’s finalists are Tori Bond, Samantha Duncan, Claire Hopple, and Rachel Luria.
We’re grateful to all the authors who submitted, and we hope you’ll join us in congratulating Emily, singing her praise on social media, and buying/reading her kickass book when it hits shelves. We expect to release Emily’s collection in late 2017 or early 2018.
An excerpt from Melissa Reddish’s Girl & Flame: A Novella has been published at Fiction Advocate. The excerpt, “After the Fire,” contains the first three section from Melissa’s novella-in-flashes, out now from Conium Press. If you like what you read at Fiction Advocate, pick up a copy of Melissa’s book from our website or on Amazon.
Eric Andrew Newman at Necessary Fiction has reviewed Matt Tompkins’s Souvenirs and Other Stories (Conium Press, 2016).
He notes “In his book Souvenirs and Other Stories, Matt Tompkins is able to bring magic to the mundane . . . ” and he says the stories “all pack a narrative punch.” The reviewer goes on to compare Matt’s style to that of George Saunders and Manuel Gonzales.
Eric closes the review by saying “While every narrative in Souvenirs and Other Stories seems fairly simple on the surface, they ultimately have multiple layers and grapple with more complex issues than those seen at first glance. Not only do the stories wrestle with loss, but also companionship, family, reality, and sanity. Each of the stories deals with the kernel of a bigger issue, but never in a heavy-handed and always in an entertaining way.” Read the full review at Necessary Fiction‘s website.
Melissa Reddish’s novella, Girl & Flame, came out earlier this week. Through August 31st, we’ll be running a Goodreads Giveaway for her new book! As a special bonus, winners of the Goodreads Giveaway will also receive a complimentary copy of Brian Philip Whalen’s limited-run micro-chapbook, And It Will Be Called the Highway of Holiness.
Click here to enter for a chance to win one of five free copies available. Girl & Flame is an formally innovative novella that chronicle’s a woman’s search for self and understanding after her father, brother, and lover are consumed in a devastating fire. Sarah Rose Etter, author of Tongue Party, says “Reddish’s prose dazzles and burns. It’s a fire that’s impossible to ignore.” A reviewer for Sabotage Reviews calls the book “A daunting but dazzling blend of harsh reality and an eerie fantasy.”