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Emily Wortman-Wunder is the 2018 Innovative Short Fiction Contest winner

Maryse Meier has made her decision. Emily Wortman-Wunder‘s “Endangered Fish of the Colorado River” is this year’s Innovative Short Fiction Contest winner!

Emily Wortman-Wunder lives in Denver, Colorado. Her work has appeared in Vela, Nimrod, Terrain, High Country News, and many other places.

This year’s finalists were Suzanne Burns, Chelsea HarrisMarlene OlinN. Page, and Francine Witte. Maryse Meijer had this to say about the winning story:

“‘Endangered Fish of the Colorado River’ is a moving meditation on parental and ecological grief, an exceptionally accomplished examination of losses big and small. Restrained, precise, and wise, the author shows us how, in the attempt to save something, we risk losing everything.”

 
—Maryse Meijer, contest judge and author of Heartbreaker

Emily’s story will be published in The Conium Review: Vol. 7. She also receives a $500 prize, five contributor copies, and a copy of Maryse Meijer’s latest book.

Thanks to all who submitted to this year’s contest. We’ll be announcing next year’s judge soon. Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about these calls for submissions and news from The Conium Review and Conium Press.

“Dis/appearances” stories chosen by Matt Tompkins

Guest editor Matt Tompkins has chosen four pieces for publication as part of the “Dis/appearances” theme. Congratulations to the selected authors: Joe Buamann, Emily McKayJefferson Navicky, and Phillip Sterling. Competition was stiff, but these four stood out above the crowd. We’ll be posting the accepted stories from these four authors throughout the weekend of July 15th. This date also coincides with the release of the ebook version of the guest editor’s latest book, Souvenirs and Other Stories (the print version of Souvenirs was released in mid-June).

Thanks to all those who submitted to this theme! We hope that you’ll consider our next themed call for submissions, “Fragmented,” considering pieces now through July 15th, guest edited by Melissa Reddish.

Themed Call for Submissions: Dis/appearances

IMG_0604Matt Tompkins’s Souvenirs and Other Stories hits shelves on June 15th.

To celebrate the book’s release, Matt Tompkins will be guest editing a special call for submissions. From June 1st to June 15th, submit flash fiction (1,000 words or fewer) centered around the theme “Dis/appearances.”

In Matt’s forthcoming book, the title story involves a number of souvenirs spontaneously appearing and gradually filling the narrator’s apartment. This call for submissions plays off that idea, but you can interpret the theme broadly. Your submission doesn’t necessarily need to be about the appearance (or disappearance) of objects, but the piece should include some form of unexpected arrival or departure.

Full guidelines will be posted within the next week or so. Start brainstorming now, and see if you can come up with a story that’ll knock Matt’s socks off. Hey, maybe you can write about disappearing socks?

2016 AWP Panel: “What the Heck Does Innovative Fiction Actually Mean?”

The 2016 AWP Conference schedule is now available. The Conium Review is pleased to be presenting an informal talk on innovative fiction. The panel is called “What the Heck Does Innovative Fiction Actually Mean?: Authors Cut Through the Jargon.” It’s scheduled for Friday, April 1st at 3:00pm on the Scott James Bookfair Stage.

Panelists include Carmiel Banasky, Ashley Farmer, Lindsay Hunter, and Stephen Graham Jones. James R. Gapinski moderates.

Carmiel Banasky is a writer and teacher from Portland, OR. Her debut novel, The Suicide of Claire Bishop, confronts the portrayals of mental illness in art. After earning her MFA from Hunter College, Carmiel spent four years on the road at writing residencies. She now teaches creative writing in LA.

Ashley Farmer is the author of the short fiction collection Beside Myself and two forthcoming poetry collections: The Women and The Farmacist. A former editor forAtomica, Salt Hill, and other publications, she currently coedits Juked.

Lindsay Hunter is the author of the novel Ugly Girls, which the Huffington Post called “a story that hits a note that’s been missing from the chorus of existing feminist literature.” She is also the author of the flash fiction story collections Don’t Kiss Me and Daddy’s.

Stephen Graham Jones is the author of fifteen novels, five collections, and more than two hundred short stories. More forthcoming.

James R. Gapinski is managing editor of The Conium Review. His fiction has appeared in Lunch Ticket, NANO Fiction, Cheap Pop, Word Riot, and elsewhere.

Be sure to stop by The Conium Review‘s table during the 2016 AWP Conference too. We’ll have discounted books for sale, a free micro-chapbook, and other swag. We’re at table #1238. The full map and list of exhibitors is available here.

Book Review: Three Ways of the Saw

Three Ways of the Saw
Written by Matt Mullins
Atticus Books, 2012
ISBN 9780983208068

You know things are going to take a bad turn when a co-worker arrives at the company picnic with a pair of ATVs in tow. Three Ways of the Saw is, after all, a collection of short fiction in which nothing ever goes right for any of its protagonists. In the story in question, tellingly titled “The Braid,” all is going a little too well for a pair of would-be young lovers when the ATVs arrive like the second coming of Chekhov’s gun.

The carnage that ensues is gruesome and gut wrenching, but it also serves a larger purpose. Where a lesser writer might simply offer gore for the sake of gore, author Matt Mullins uses the opportunity to comment subtly and even sensitively upon the nature of adult relationships. Such relationships can be wonderful, he insists on every page of this collection, so full of potential, but also terrifyingly fragile.

Three Ways of the SawFor the most part, the stories in Three Ways of the Saw offer up characters who run the gamut from being adrift to circling the drain. There’s the boy who struggles with questions about his own sexuality in one story and watches his parents’ relationship crumble before his eyes on a road trip through the Great American West in another. There’s the creepy voyeur who trades places with his dog in order to get to know his shapely new neighbor. There’s the girl dreading the arrival of her first period as she reluctantly embarks upon a canoe trip led by an officious priest.

There are drunks, stoners, thieves, and ne’er-do-wells lurking in every corner of this collection, yet for all of the dead-ends they encounter, Mullins always offers his characters as well as his readers a ray of hope. We are, according to Three Ways of the Saw, a curious species—one wracked with all manner of pain, but also one capable of enduring it.

Review by Marc Schuster
© 2012, All Rights Reserved