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The Conium Review’s 2015 Pushcart Prize Nominees

Pushcart Cover 2016The Conium Review‘s annual Pushcart Prize nominees are:

  1. Emily Koon’s “The People Who Live in the Sears” (print)
  2. Sarah Mitchell-Jackson’s “Clown Boutique Fairy Tale” (online)
  3. Marina Petrova’s “Dictator in a Jar” (print)
  4. Zach Powers’s “The Eating Habits of Famous Actors” (print)
  5. Melody Sage’s “The Petrified Forest” (online)
  6. Tamara K. Walker’s “Camisole” (print)

Congrats to all six nominees!


About the nominees:

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.

Sarah Mitchell-Jackson is a writer of short and long works of fiction and has been known to pen the odd poem. She lives in Cambridge, UK, with her husband and son. You can find her online at smitchjack.wordpress.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.

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.

Melody Sage is a professional artist. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in The Best of Vine Leaves Literary Journal 2013, Quaint Magazine, Apeiron Review, and elsewhere. She is the 2014 recipient of the Scott Imes Award and currently resides in Duluth, MN.

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.

“The Petrified Forest,” by Melody Sage

Petrified Leaf Sketch

Upon entering, you are greeted by stone trees bent over sideways, their leaves paralyzed mid-wave despite the absence of a breeze. You pass a deer frozen leaping up with an arrow lodged in its veined granite neck. Drops of its dull blood are scattered on the ground like marbles. Solidified lichen particulates crunch under your boots. Locked in the pose of lowering his bow, the hunter looks mildly dismayed, even without pupils. You run your finger across the wrinkles incised in his cheeks, his stubble gritty to the touch like fine grade sandpaper, and tap your fingernail against his hard eyeball, making a satisfying series of clicks. Everything is colored in shades of white, black, and gray, variations on shadow casting shadows, flecked with subtle flakes of mica. The scent of dust makes the inside of your nostrils feel dry. You continue walking across a stream that has turned to glass, the trout trapped inside like chunks of suspended lead. Anything you accidentally run into will cut or bruise you, so you take your time, enjoying the unusual scenery.

You are here because you have heard stories about the forest, and you had to see it for yourself, the same way you had to touch the hot stove when you were a child, even though you knew it would burn. Occasionally you hear a crow, but otherwise nothing except your own footsteps, which resonate loudly, as if you were striding across a deserted bank lobby.

You finally find her in a cave, sitting with her arthritic hands folded in her lap, as if she were waiting for a bus and forgot to bring something to read. There are no albino pythons writhing around her face like you had expected, and for a moment you are disappointed. Her face is not ugly either. Her face is not a face at all. Her face is a mirror, polished and convex, barely reflective, as muted as pewter, crackled and rubbed bare in patches with the passage of centuries. She beckons to you. You have to come close to look inside, so close your moist breath fogs her skull. And you do.

About the Author:

Melody Sage is a professional artist. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in The Best of Vine Leaves Literary Journal 2013, Quaint Magazine, Apeiron Review, and elsewhere. She is the 2014 recipient of the Scott Imes Award and currently resides in Duluth, MN.

Special Note:

This story was a finalist in The Conium Review‘s 2014 Flash Fiction Contest, judged by Ashley Farmer.

This story was one of The Conium Review‘s nominations for the 2016 Pushcart Prize.

Image Credit: © incomible / Dollar Photo Club

John Englehardt is the 2014 Flash Fiction Contest Winner!

We’re pleased to announce the winner of the 2014 Flash Fiction Contest.  Congratulations to John Englehardt for his winning piece, “This Is Great But You Don’t Need It.” This year’s judge, Ashley Farmer, says “This story is a heart-breaker and a rule-breaker, a clear breath and a gut punch. It’s unorthodox in its point of view and risky in its sincerity. A full life and full world in three short pages, yet I’d stay there for longer if I could.”

John Englehardt’s stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Sycamore Review, The Stranger, Monkeybicycle, The Monarch Review, and Furlough Magazine. He’s a recent graduate of University of Arkansas’ MFA program, and now lives and works in Seattle. John will receive a $300 prize and a copy of Ashley Farmer’s latest book; his winning story will appear on The Conium Review Online Compendium, we’ll turn it into a handcrafted micro-chap for distribution at the AWP Conference, and John will be reading “This Is Great But You Don’t Need It” at an off-site reading at Eat My Words Books in Minneapolis, MN.

The 2014 Flash Fiction Contest finalists were Sarah Colwill-Brown, Ingrid Jendrzejewski, Melody Sage, Caitlin Scarano, Hsien Chong Tan, and Will Walawender.

The Conium Review editorial staff thanks everybody who submitted and supported this contest.  We look forward to announcing next year’s judge soon, and we hope many of you will consider submitting to the contest again in 2015.  In the meantime, remember that our general submission queue is currently open.  Furthermore, our Innovative Short Fiction Contest, judged by Amelia Gray, begins reading submissions on February 1st, 2015.