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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).

Editor Update: Hillary Leftwich explores her writing journey for “Words in Place”

Hillary Leftwich headshot (02)Hillary Leftwich talks about her writing journey over at Gay Degani’s Words in Place blog. In her post, she discusses the impact of early books on her childhood; she talks about motherhood, school, and the joy of her first publication in NANO Fiction; she talks about new goals and uncertainties as an MFA student at Regis University. Read the entire blog post here! And be sure to follow Hillary on Twitter @HillaryLeftwich

Amelia Gray readings at AWP

Amelia Gray (current Innovative Short Fiction Contest Judge and future galactic overlord) will be reading on Friday and Saturday at the 2015 AWP Conference in Minneapolis, MN.

On Friday, April 10th, find Amelia at Lee’s Liquor Lounge (101 Glenwood Ave, Minneapolis, MN) from 5:00pm to 8:00pm. Other readers include Tarfia Faizullah, Janaka Stucky, Adrian Matejka, Monica McClure, Brian Foley, Lisa Ciccarello, Sampson Starkweather, and Sheila Squillante. Co-sponsored by Ninth Letter, Birds, LLC, Black Ocean, Hobart, Barrelhouse, and [PANK]. Find this event on Facebook.

On Saturday, April 11th, she’ll be reading again at Public Functionary (1400 12th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN). The reading celebrates Amelia’s new book, Gutshot (published by FSG Originals). The event is also co-sponsored by Paper Darts. Other readers are Brandi Wells, Dessa, John Brandon, John Jodzio, Lindsay Hunter, Laura van den Berg, Safy-Hallan Farah, and Simon Jacobs. $5 at the door. Find this event on Facebook and RSVP here.

AWP_Party_Flyer

“This Childhood, sponsored by Chanel,” by Eliza Tudor

Accordian

1. “What do we do before we eat?” Rhetorical. Don’t ever forget, my children.

“We take a picture,” the five of us muttered. Pim just pounded her tiny fist on the table while watching Mama. Mama was up the ladder, her eye obscured, exchanged for a larger one, a creature looking down at us.

One more breath.

“Now,” she called. Our hands reaching out for bread and butter. “Pause.” We stopped, hands hovering in place. “Go.” Berries. Our goat’s cheese. “Can you spread with your elbow down, Hal? Yes. Like that. Good. Freeze.” The sound of the click. Click click click. “Stop. Stop! Pause. Okay. That’s good. That’s enough. Enjoy everyone. Bon appetite.” Tired, she came down the steps of the ladder, both eyes her own.

2. “Life is about risk. Good food and good eating are about risk.”

“I want us to make a manifesto for our family.”

Yes. Okay.

“What do we think are important? I hate (‘Mama said the h-word!’)—Sorry!—I detest the word—laws—but if we had them—guidelines, rules,” she said, her upper lip a snarl. “What would they be? Our values. Our ethos.”

She took a drink. “We need a manifesto.”

I leaned against her and read aloud as she wrote: Stop Consuming. Eat good food. Play the banjo. Take a risk every day.

“We fight the isolation of parenthood, the isolation of ‘jobs’ and ‘suburban culture’ every day. We are warriors, my love. We are a new vision of what a ‘homemaker’ can be. A maker of the home, genderless. Radical stuff, my angel. And let’s say, several years from now, you want to build something for yourself. You, my love, will have a head start. A readership in place. So will Bette and Lev and Pim and Freya and Hal.”

3. An unsponsored life is not worth living. (or, The Emperor’s new clothes)

“If we didn’t accept sponsors, love, we might have to work for big corporate firms and then we’d be away from you all day,” Mama said. “This is better. This is a new world order.”

First, it was Timex, not Chanel. It was mid-level corporations. The fun we had at mail time. All the boxes, all the packing supplies; we used to make entire villages. Sure we had to wear the stuff in pictures, taste the snacks they sent, packaging forever font-forward.

“Sponsored posts help keep our family work going,” my mother reminded us.

But then Karl started reading Mama and he was doing a kind of Swedish-19th century-Japanese farmer-before-the-war look and that was her exactly. He flew us in. My mother in her headscarf and handmade sweater, her overalls setting off the security sensors; her clogs kicked off as we stood in front of her, waiting. I will never forget that flight.

“I love everything about all of you,” Karl said, when we arrived. “The family VonTrapp.”

“But modern,” the crowd beside him spoke.

“Yes, so modern.”

Papa played the banjo. Bette played mandolin, Lev on fiddle, Hal on accordion. I was on uke. And then, Freya began to sing and Mama joined on harmony (Pim peeking out from her sling, waving) and I can’t remember what happened next until the clapping started. Everyone stood; the mounds of hay that had been shipped into Paris, between us.

About the Author:

Eliza Tudor is a recent transplant from Silicon Valley to the south coast of England. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hobart, PANK, Annalemma, specs, Weave, Punchnel’s, Paper Darts, The Flyover Country Review, graze, and the anthology, Mythic Indy. You can find her through www.elizatudor.com.

Image Credit: © Kreatiw / Dollar Photo Club