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2018 Innovative Short Fiction Contest deadline extended!

The deadline has been extended for this year’s Innovative Short Fiction Contest, judged by Maryse Meijer, author of Heartbreaker (FSG, 2016) and Northwood (Black Balloon Publishing, forthcoming).

Originally slated to close on May 1st, you have two extra weeks to submit. The final deadline will be May 15th.

Full guidelines are located on our website.

You can upload your submission through our Submittable page.

“The Conium Review: Vol. 5” cover

The Conium Review: Vol. 5 is slated for release on December 15th. Here’s a mock-up of the new issue’s cover. Like the last couple issues, the front is rather minimal while a larger image wraps around the back. Any guesses what those scraggly lines are? Answer: broken chain-link fence. Pre-orders for The Conium Review: Vol. 5 will go on sale this weekend!

"The Conium Review: Vol. 5" cover

“The Conium Review: Vol. 5” cover

A brief interview with Lindsay Hunter

A brief interview with Lindsay Hunter

and a preview of our 2016 AWP Conference panel: “What the Heck Does Innovative Fiction Actually Mean?: Authors Cut Through the Jargon”

Lindsay Hunter was originally slated to be on our AWP Conference panel, “What the Heck Does Innovative Fiction Actually Mean?: Authors Cut Through the Jargon,” but she had to drop out and Manuel Gonzales will be replacing her as a panelist. Fortunately, Lindsay was still able to answer some panelist questions for us. This chat gives a preview of what you might expect at the panel on Friday, April 1st, and it also gives Lindsay a chance to chime in on the topic for our online readers.

[James R. Gapinski]: So I have to ask the central question: what does innovative fiction actually mean? It seems like some cheesy buzzword, but can we define innovative fiction?

[Lindsay Hunter]: I think innovative fiction is something that surprises its readers. You know that feeling you get when you’re reading something and you think, “Man, I could never do this.” And then you think, “Man, I’m gonna go sit down right now and try to do that, or try to write something that makes me feel like reading that made me feel.” That’s innovative. It generates a chain of inspiration and creation.

[JRG]: When you’re writing a piece like “Don’t Kiss Me,” do you begin with the intentional goal of doing something formally unconventional, or is that something that just happens organically as you write?

[LH]: It’s very organic for me. I sit down and write the first line knocking around in my head, and then I write the next one and the next one. It’s all about the voice, the word selection that nourishes that voice. I don’t think, “Okay, I gotta write something truly f*cked up, GIDDY UP HUNTER, LET’S DO IT.” I think, “Hmm I wanna write about a woman who’s obsessed with another woman at work.” I think it’s unconventional because I’m trying to reveal something in these marginalized, sometimes hyper-real characters that I love so much. I’m trying to unveil some humanity whenever I can.

[JRG]: You’re judging our short fiction contest. I’m sure those interested in submitting are itching to know: are there specific things you look for in a great piece of innovative writing?

[LH]: I always find myself looking for an interesting turn of phrase. A quickness, a deftness between word and image. Something that makes me jealous! I’m also a sucker for anything that makes me feel nostalgic – either the character’s nostalgia or something sparked inside me.

[JRG]: Could you share some authors or books that you find particularly risky or innovative?

[LH]: Gutshot by Amelia Gray is like an opus of innovation. I think it’s perfect. Catherine Lacey’s Nobody is Ever Missing is another one. And Maryse Meijer’s forthcoming Heartbreaker burns it ALL down. Full disclosure, we all have the same editor. But that editor is a master of seeking out innovative, weird stuff!

Lindsay Hunter headshotLindsay Hunter is the author of Ugly Girls (FSG Originals, 2014), which The Huffington Post called “a story that hits a note that’s been missing from the chorus of existing feminist literature.” Her next novel, working title Eat Only When You’re Hungry, is forthcoming from FSG. She is also the author of the flash fiction story collections Don’t Kiss Me (FSG Originals, 2013) and Daddy’s (Featherproof Books, 2010).

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).