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Sarah Gerard’s THE BUTTER HOUSE coming in 2023!

Coming in 2023 from Conium Press

The Butter House, by Sarah Gerard

Launch party at AWP Seattle in March, 2023.

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In early 2023, Conium Press is releasing The Butter House, a new chapbook from Sarah Gerard. This story follows a woman who moves from New York to a Florida bungalow with her boyfriend. She navigates contradictory landscapes of love and possession, nature and built-environment, empathy and sympathy. She becomes a surrogate caretaker for a colony of feral cats. She grows a garden. She interrogates what it means to care for somebody or something. This is a delicate story, but it choses deliberate moments to scratch and bite with the ferocity of a territorial alley cat.

Sarah Gerard is the author of the novels True Love and Binary Star and the essay collection Sunshine State. They are the recipient of a 2021 Lambda Literary Dr. James Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize. Sarah’s short stories, essays, and interviews have appeared in The New York Times, T Magazine, Granta, McSweeney’s, The Believer, Vice, Electric Literature, and the anthologies We Can’t Help It If We’re From Florida, One Small Blow Against Encroaching Totalitarianism, Tampa Bay Noir, Erase the Patriarchy, and I Know What’s Best For You: Stories on Reproductive Freedom. Learn more about Sarah Gerard’s work on their website.

Photograph of author Sarah Gerard

Advance Praise for The Butter House

“A couple moves into the titular Butter House, and soon find themselves mired in the project of cat care. Sarah Gerard writes beautifully and precisely about the visceral, secretive feline landscape, and the possibilities that emerge when this world intersects with the human realm—challenging the couple at the center of The Butter House to renegotiate their relationship to care and what it means to feel at home.”

—Laura van den Berg, author of The Third Hotel and I Hold a Wolf by the Ears

The Butter House is like a lithe and seductive feline, sinking its uncut claws into you. Sarah Gerard’s prose is quiet and contemplative and then chaotic in bursts, also not unlike a cat. The Butter House incisively considers the simultaneous care and cruelty of pet ownership, and Gerard is masterful in writing into all the nooks and crannies of a relationship. It’s the tale cat people deserve.”

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, author of Helen House

Interested in a Review Copy?

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Announcing the 2019 Innovative Short Fiction Contest Winner: Joe Aguirre

Sarah Gerard has finished deliberating, and we have a winner! Joe Aguirre is the 2019 Innovative Short Fiction Contest Winner with his short story “Three Riffs for the Devil.”

Joe Aguirre writes from Shrewsbury, MA. He’s driven a laundry truck, practiced maritime law, and sorted organs in a pathology lab. His work is forthcoming in Fugue. He will receive a $500 prize for his winning story, publication in The Conium Review: Vol. 8, copies of the issue, and a copy of Sarah Gerard’s latest book.

Here’s what the judge had to say about Joe’s winning story:

“‘Three Riffs for the Devil’ is a confident, pitch-perfect satire of getting what you ask for, with winking jewels of dark wisdom. Sharp and original, it pokes at the reader’s ribs, sticks its fingers into our weak points, asking, What’s your own vice? In what form will the devil come for you? Maybe he already has.”

~ Sarah Gerard, author of Sunshine State

This year’s finalists were Brittany Ackerman, Debbie Graber, Alison Foster, Jasmine Sawers, and Kate Simonian. Thanks to all those who submitted. As always, the decision was difficult, and we appreciate you trusting us with your work.

Sarah Gerard to judge the 2019 Innovative Short Fiction Contest

Sarah Gerard headshotThe sixth annual Innovative Short Fiction Contest opens for submissions in a couple months. We’re pleased to announce this year’s judge is Sarah Gerard, author of Sunshine State (Harper Perennial, 2017), Binary Star (Two Dollar Radio, 2015), and the forthcoming novel True Love (Harper Books, 2020). Sarah’s short stories, essays, interviews, and criticism have appeared in The New York Times, T Magazine, Granta, The Baffler, Vice, and anthologies.

The contest runs from April 1st to July 1st, 2019. The winner receives $500, publication, and a copy of the judge’s latest book. Full details and guidelines are available here.

James R. Gapinski’s favorite books of 2015

To wrap-up the year, our managing editor, James R. Gapinski, chimes in with his top five books of 2015. A few days ago, Melissa Reddish also shared her list.

Binary Star, by Sarah Gerard

If you want predictable syntax crammed into neat boxes, look elsewhere. Binary Star takes risks. Come for the inventive structure, stay for the characters who seem to be in a constant state or implosion and/or explosion.

Scrapper, by Matt Bell

Scrapper tells a riveting story set in a near-future version of Detroit, ravaged by climate change. Its unassuming blue collar protagonist has waaaaaaay more shit going on than first meets the eye. This book is its own masterclass in character development.

The Seven Good Years, by Etgar Keret (Translated by Sondra Silverston, Miriam Shlesinger, Jessica Cohen, and Anthony Berris)

Etgar Keret’s memoir explores the seven years between the birth of his son and the death of his father. Yes, the book builds toward a death, but it’s more about celebrating life. And it’s filled with the sense wonder and whimsy that have become a staple of Keret’s work.

Gutshot, by Amelia Gray

The stories in Gutshot have a visceral intensity to them. They rip open your perceptions of what a story is and can be. They scream at you and dare you to flinch. Yeah, you might bleed out by the end, but you’ll feel alive the whole goddamn time.

 Citizen, by Claudia Rankine

I’m not surprised that Citizen is also on Melissa’s top-five list as Book I Would Slip into Everyone’s Bag When They Weren’t Looking. I gave this book to my partner over the holidays—then she received a second copy from her sister. When you read this book, you want to share it. And you want to share it quickly. These pages have urgency. You’ll finish it in one sitting, and if you’re not already a proponent of #BlackLivesMatter, you will be. Read it. Now.