Throughout the AWP Conference, we’re offering discounted prices at our table (1238). If you’re not able to attend this year’s conference in LA, we’ve still got you covered. You can get The Conium Review: Vol. 4 for just $10.00 (marked down from $12.00), and The Conium Review: Vol. 3 is only $5.00 (list price of $12.00). You can also pre-order Matt Tompkins’s Souvenirs and Other Stories for $10.00. There’s even free shipping for the duration of the conference! Get these great discounts through April 2nd in our online storefront.
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 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).
By now, hopefully you’ve heard about our AWP Conference panel, “What the Heck Does Innovative Fiction Actually Mean?: Authors Cut Through the Jargon,” taking place on Friday, April 1st at 3:00pm. The panel features Carmiel Banasky, Matt Bell, Ashley Farmer, and Manuel Gonzales. The Conium Review‘s managing editor, James R. Gapinski moderates.
The panelists have plenty of other events happening during AWP, and we hope you’ll attend a few other panelist readings, shindigs, etc.
Wednesday, March 30th, 2016 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. Shipwreck SF Presents: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a Literary Erotic Fanfiction Competition. Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90057
Thursday, March 31st, 2016 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. Why There Are Words visits LA. Continental Club, 116 West 4th St. Los Angeles 90013
Saturday, April 2nd, 2016 from 8:00pm to 10:00pm. Semiotext(e) and Friends. Los Angeles Contemporary Archive, 2245 E Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90021
Thursday, March 31, 2016 from 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm. ASU & HFR: A Celebratory Reading. Robert Muroff Bookfair Stage, LA Convention Center, Exhibit Hall Level One
Friday, April 1, 2016 at 7:30pm. Boss Fight Books Presents: HEART-POUNDING PANIC. Stories Books & Cafe, 1716 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90026
Saturday, April 2, 2016 from 10:30 am to 11:45 am. What I Did When What I Did Wasn’t Working: Teachers on Retooling Their Teaching. Gold Salon 2, JW Marriott LA, 1st Floor
Saturday, April 2nd, 7:30pm. Books & Booze. Los Angeles Center of Photography, 1515 Wilcox Ave, Los Angeles, California 90028.
Friday, April 1, 2016 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. AWP 2016 // LITERARY FOOLS RECEPTION: Solstice, Talking Writing, Juked, and Santa Monica Review. D’Vine Wine Cellar, 821 S Flower St, Los Angeles, California 90017
Friday, April 1, 2016 at 8:00pm. Two Dollar Radio, Civil Coping Mechanisms, Entropy, Action Books, and Writ Large Press @ These Days Gallery. Indian Alley, 118 Winston Pl, Los Angeles, California 90013
Saturday, April 2nd, 7:30pm. Books & Booze. Los Angeles Center of Photography, 1515 Wilcox Ave, Los Angeles, California 90028
Thursday, March 31, 2016 from 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm. It Ain’t What They Call You, It’s What You Answer To: Peeling Off Genre Labels. Room 502 B, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
Saturday, April 2, 2016 from 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm. Speculative Fiction: Defining the Rules of a Rule-Breaking Genre. Room 402 AB, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level.
The annual Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) conference is less than a month away, and we’re getting amped up for the obligatory tote bags. Our staff and contributors will be sharing their favorite AWP happenings on our blog over the coming weeks, and we hope to see you at the conference (stop by table #1238 and say “hello” to The Conium Review staff).
First up, Rita Bullwinkel (Vol. 4 contributor) shares her top ten panels.
Thursday, March 31, 2016, 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm
Room 403 B, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
(Lucy Corin, Maggie Nelson , Brian Evenson, Ben Weissman, Fred D’Aguiar)
This panel explores the various tones, reasons, genealogies, and methodologies writers might choose to employ when representing violence, cruelty, and bodies on the page. The writers on this panel have explored these issues in a variety of genres (fiction, scholarship, and poetry) and in a variety of registers (comedic, elegiac, outrageous, conceptual, documentary, and more), and are uniquely capable of discussing the aesthetic, political, and metabolic effects of such writing.
Thursday, March 31, 2016, 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm
Room 502 B, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
(Daniel Orozco, Doug Dorst, Maureen McHugh, Kelly Luce, Manuel Gonzales)
How does fantasy fiction (or sci-fi, or detective or horror fiction) become literary fiction? Who decides how/when the genre label gets affixed, or peeled off? Why is the move from genre to literary always somehow a narrative of progress, implying a lesser realm left behind? Hear firsthand as writers with varying affinities to genre fiction reflect on how they negotiate with (wrestle, embrace, sidestep) genre conventions in the creation of their work.
Friday, April 1, 2016, 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
Room 402 AB, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
(Kyoko Yoshida , Forrest Gander , Sawako Nakayasu, Goro Takano, James Shea)
Beginning with a short reading, this panel of translators and writers explores the formal problems, aesthetic choices, and political implications of translating contemporary Japanese poetry. Panelists discuss the diversity of Japanese poetry and consider how the pleasures and challenges of translation animate their own writing. Poets under discussion include Takashi Hiraide, Sayumi Kamakura, Shirō Murano, Kiwao Nomura, and Gozo Yoshimasu.
Friday, April 1, 2016, 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm
Gold Salon 3, JW Marriott LA, 1st Floor
(Eunsong Kim, Johannes Goransson, Ji Yoon Lee, Don Mee Choi, Joyelle McSweeney)
South Korea’s contemporary history has been deeply impacted by US imperial policies. Yet its history remains relatively unknown: its war, dictatorships, and 47 Free Trade Agreements. We poets and translators discuss feminist Korean poets and propose poetry-as-activism and translation-as-resistance to colonizing power.
Friday, April 1, 2016, 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm
Scott James Bookfair Stage, LA Convention Center, Exhibit Hall Level One
(James R. Gapinski, Ashley Farmer, Manuel Gonzales, Matt Bell, Carmiel Banasky) Innovative fiction is fast becoming a literary buzzword. It’s often a placeholder term for experimental or avant-garde, but what does it really mean? It’s time for a down-to-earth chat that eschews all the labels and jargon. In this panel, presented by The Conium Review, several authors cut through the marketing ploys and hype for a candid talk on the strange, weird, and new in contemporary fiction.
Friday, April 1, 2016, 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm
Concourse Hall, LA Convention Center, Exhibit Hall Level One
(Emily St. John Mandel, Ruth Ozeki, Kelly Link)
This event brings together three brilliant contemporary female writers—Kelly Link, Emily St. John Mandel, and Ruth Ozeki—to read and discuss their craft and experiences as genre-bending authors. Kelly Link is the recipient of an NEA grant and is the author of Get in Trouble. Emily St. John Mandel is the author of Station Eleven, a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award. Ruth Ozeki is the author of A Tale for the Time Being, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
Saturday, April 2, 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
AWP Bookfair Stage, LA Convention Center, Exhibit Hall Level One
(Katharine Beutner, Sofia Samatar, Carmen Machado, Alice Sola Kim, Kelly Link)
This panel explores genres of fiction that juxtapose the real and the unreal in experimental ways: historical fiction, literary fantasy/science fiction, weird fiction, and satire. Where do we draw the line between a secondary world and a distorted reflection of our own world’s beauty, violence, and diversity? Can we discern a poetics of the unreal in contemporary fiction? How have the continual debates over generic boundaries—and/or their irrelevance—affected the ways contemporary writers work?
Saturday, April 2, 2016, 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
Room 402 AB, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
(CA Conrad, Joy Ladin, Ryka Aoki, Ian Ellasante, TC Tolbert)
Spirituality, like writing, hinges on transformation. Similarly, trans and genderqueer writers have unique experiences with transformation on and off the page. This dynamic panel explored the intersections between ritual, myth, magic, magical realism, and even end-rhyme as they shape our various embodiments and faiths. We don’t want to save you, but we hope you are ready to be changed.
Saturday, April 2, 2016, 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm
Room 510, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
(Peter Molin, Matt Gallagher, Andria Williams, Jesse Goolsby, Elliot Ackerman)
This panel features short readings and commentary by four first-time novelists in the burgeoning field of contemporary war literature. The authors’ novels, each published in either 2015 or 2016, highlight new possibilities for representing combat, war, and military culture in fiction. Building on recent critically acclaimed fiction depicting conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, the panel authors refine our understanding of the human dimensions of war overseas and on the home front.
Saturday, April 2, 2016, 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm
Concourse Hall, LA Convention Center, Exhibit Hall Level One
(Michael Wiegers, Richard Siken, Laura Kasischke, Roger Reeves)
Whatever the chosen form, making is a dominant force in any artist’s life. For writers, the creative material—language—is simultaneously precise and slippery, irreducible and expansive; metaphor is a lie that tells the truth, and image a construct made from the sound and meaning of language. This reading features three writers who practice various literary and artistic forms—fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and painting—and will be followed by a conversation moderated by their editor.
Rita Bullwinkel is a Conium Review Vol. 4 contributor. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee where she is a fiction MFA candidate at Vanderbilt University and the Fiction Editor of the Nashville Review. Her writing has appeared in several publications including VICE, NOON, Spork an
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).