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Introducing the Vol. 4 authors

The Conium Review: Volume 4 is currently slated for a mid-November, 2015 release. We’ve finalized the table of contents for this lean, mean fiction machine. Pre-orders for the paperback version go on sale soon, and we’ll unveil some sneak previews of this year’s collector’s edition as the release date nears.

This issue’s stories and authors are:

  • “The People Who Live in the Sears,” by Emily Koon (winner of the 2015 Innovative Short Fiction Contest)
  • “Butterbean,” by Emily Koon
  • “Camisole,” by Tamara K. Walker
  • “Passing,” by Rita Bullwinkel
  • “Dictator in a Jar,” by Marina Petrova
  • “Chiroptera,” by Kayla Pongrac
  • “Shampoo,” by Ingrid Jendrzejewski
  • “Apples,” by Theodora Ziolkowski
  • “The Eating Habits of Famous Actors,” by Zach Powers

About the Volume 4 Authors

Emily Koon is a fiction writer from North Carolina. She has work in Portland Review, Bayou, Atticus Review, and other places and can be found at twitter.com/thebookdress.

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.

Rita Bullwinkel lives in Nashville, Tennessee where she is a fiction MFA candidate at Vanderbilt University. Her writing has appeared in many places including NOON, Spork, Joyland,The Atlas Review, Paper Darts, and the book Gigantic Worlds: An Anthology of Science Flash Fiction. 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. Read more about her at ritabullwinkel.com.

Marina Petrova lives and writes in New York City. Her work has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Underwater New York, and Calliope Anthology. She received an MFA from The New School in May 2014.

Kayla Pongrac is an avid writer, reader, tea drinker, and record spinner. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Vinyl Poetry, Split Lip Magazine, Oblong, HOOT, KYSO Flash, and Nat. Brut, among others. Her first chapbook, a collection of flash fiction stories titled The Flexible Truth, is available for purchase from Anchor and Plume Press. To read more of Kayla’s work, visit www.kaylapongrac.com or follow her on Twitter @KP_the_Promisee.

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.

Theodora Ziolkowski’s poetry and prose have previously appeared or are forthcoming in Glimmer Train, Prairie Schooner, and Short FICTION (England), among other journals, anthologies, and exhibits. A chapbook of her poems, A Place Made Red, was published this year by Finishing Line Press. She is originally from Easton, Pennsylvania and currently lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Zach Powers lives and writes in Savannah, Georgia. His debut book, Gravity Changes, will be published in spring 2017 by BOA Editions. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, The Brooklyn Review, Forklift, Ohio, Phoebe, PANK, Caketrain, and elsewhere. He is the founder of the literary arts nonprofit Seersucker Live (SeersuckerLive.com). He leads the writers’ workshop at the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home, where he also serves on the board of directors. His writing for television won an Emmy. Get to know him at ZachPowers.com.


“Santa’s Christmas List,” by Kayla Pongrac

Santa Sketch

Dear All Grandparents Residing in America,

Santa Claus here (you know, the guy who has filled stockings and piled presents underneath your family’s Christmas trees for many, many decades). It’s been awhile since I’ve compiled a Christmas List of my own, which details what I think YOU should get ME for Christmas. All I do is give, give, give, give, give and this year is the year when I will take, take, take, take, take. Please note that this is a milestone for me, as I only take a year off every century.

None of you know what it’s like to fill the position of Santa Claus. None of you can say, “I so understand what Santa’s responsibilities are every year,” or “What a tough job Santa has!” Unfortunately, my job description failed to mention that the saints of yesterday bred the sinners of today, who have bred the devils of tomorrow. These kids (yes, your grandchildren!) just can’t get enough. The longest Christmas List I received last year was poster-sized and in 10-point Times New Roman font. C’mon now. You all must take responsibility for these monsters who think it’s charming to sit on my lap and scroll around on their iPads, pointing to every little toy that they added to their “Wish List” on their “favoritest” app.

Please understand that every year, I have to sit down and read millions of emails (that’s right—I don’t get letters anymore) from these little boys and little girls who don’t know how to spell or punctuate. These kids are lucky I don’t hit the “Reply” button because you know what I would give them? Grades. Bad grades. And then they could go write about me on “Rate My Santa” or whatever that tacky website is called.

You can’t possibly deny that your grandchildren want gadget this, gadget that. “Give me an iPad, Santa, or I won’t believe in you ever again!” “By the way, do be sure that my new iPhone is the yellow color!” Yeah, okay . . . you’re a kindergartner with an iPhone in your pocket and an iPad in your lap. Real sweet. All you’re missing is some headphones so you can walk around like all the rest of ‘em.

Honestly, folks, all I want for Christmas from each family this year is a huge keg of beer and some pretzels. If you all could just send these gifts to the North Pole addressed to me, (NOT Mrs. Claus—she and I may be getting divorced), that’d be fantastic. So, just to recap:

Santa’s Christmas List:

  1. One keg of beer
  2. Pretzels

See that? Simple. Now, if only you could teach your grandchildren to be more like Santa Claus because he asks for little and gives a lot. We’ll see ya’ll next year.

Tell your angry little snugglemuffins I said hello,

About the Author:

Kayla Pongrac is an avid writer, reader, tea drinker, and record spinner. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Vinyl Poetry, Split Lip Magazine, Oblong, HOOT, Right Hand Pointing, and Nat. Brut, among others. When she’s not writing creatively, she’s writing professionally—for two newspapers and a few magazines in her hometown of Johnstown, PA. To read more of Kayla’s work, visit www.kaylapongrac.com or follow her on Twitter @KP_the_Promisee.

Image Credit: © asmakar / Dollar Photo Club