In early 2017, we announced Emily Koon’s We Are Still Here as the winner of our Book & Chapbook Contest, judged by Matt Bell. Two years later, a couple revisions, a half-dozen cover mock-ups, and we’re finally ready to bring this beast of a book to market. It’s slated for release this July. We’ll have printed galleys on display at this year’s AWP Conference in Portland. If you’re a reviewer interested in receiving an advance copy, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We Are Still Here contains thirteen short stories and a novella. Throughout this stellar debut, discover a surreal band of mall dwellers, a fairy tale featuring goblins and ghosts, a “go wherever” story in which Lizzie Borden is fully prepared to give her mother forty whacks, and more.
Matt Bell, author of Scrapper, says “Emily Koon’s We Are Still Here is a smart and surprising debut, with each story alive to the many absurdities of life—as well as the joys and the heartbreaks those absurdities contain. Funny and inventive, this book will thrill fans of Amelia Gray, Lindsay Hunter, or Laura van den Berg, while introducing readers to Koon’s own exciting talent.“
Pre-order your copy of Emily Koon’s debut collection here.
We’ve got a swanky flyer for our upcoming AWP Conference panel. Show your love for The Conium Review by making a gazillion copies and distributing them to every single person you meet. Get a printable PDF version of the flyer here.
“What the Heck Does Innovative Fiction Mean?: Authors Cut Through the Jargon” is organized by The Conium Review, and it will feature a down-to-earth chat with Carmiel Banasky, Matt Bell, Ashley Farmer, and Manuel Gonzales. Our managing editor, James R. Gapinski, moderates. The panel is from 3:00 to 4:15 on Friday, April 1st. Join us at the Scott James Bookfair Stage for a riveting discussion and Q&A on innovative fiction. Directly after this panel, Carmiel Banasky will be signing copies of The Suicide of Claire Bishop at our table (#1238). We hope to see you there!
As we continue to ramp up book and chapbook projects, we’re excited to offer a new annual contest with a $1,000 prize plus publication of the winning title! The Conium Press Book & Chapbook Contest opens for submissions on June 1st and closes on September 1st. The contest is open to manuscripts of any length; Conium Press doesn’t get hung up on “publishable” word counts. Chapbooks and full-length books are both considered.
The inaugural judge is Matt Bell, author of Scrapper, Baldur’s Gate II, In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods, Cataclysm Baby, and How They Were Found.
This contest is open to fiction-only, but our definition of fiction includes hybridized writing (as a litmus test, see if you can keep a straight face while claiming that the piece has elements of fiction—yes?—okay, then it’s eligible). Full guidelines are now available here.
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.