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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.

Introducing the Vol. 5 authors

The Conium Review: Vol. 5 comes out later this year. We’ve finalized the table of contents, and we’re pleased to introduce the authors and stories slated for this issue:

  • “Birth,” by Jessica Roeder
  • “Copy Machine,” by Samantha Duncan
  • “The Solitude of Fruit,” by Liz Kellebrew
  • “Ruby Goes In,” by Kate Gies
  • “Gazebo,” by Shane Jones
  • “The Mother,” by Kathryn Hill (winner of the 2016 Innovative Short Fiction Contest)
  • “United Parcel Service,” by Emily Koon
  • “Tiny Little Goat,” by Jasmine Sawers
  • “Once Upon a Time in an Orchard,” by Jasmine Sawers
  • “Rain Cloud,” by Ingrid Jendrzejewski
  • “Her Blood,” by Maryse Meijer

ABOUT THE CONIUM REVIEW: VOL. 5 AUTHORS

Jessica Roeder lives in Duluth, Minnesota, where she teaches writing and dance. Her work has appeared in Threepenny Review, Third Coast, American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. She has received a Pushcart Prize and a McKnight Artist Fellowship.

Samantha Duncan‘s latest poetry chapbook is The Birth Creatures (Agape Editions, 2016), and her fiction has appeared in Meridian, The Pinch, and Flapperhouse. She serves as Executive Editor for ELJ Publications and reads for Gigantic Sequins, and she lives in Houston.

Liz Kellebrew holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She lives in Seattle and writes fiction, poetry, literary essays, and creative nonfiction. Her work has appeared in The Coachella Review, Elohi Gadugi, Mount Island, Vine Leaves, Section 8, The Pitkin Review, and Beyond Parallax.

Kate Gies lives in Toronto, where she writes and teaches creative non-fiction at George Brown College. Her work has most recently appeared in Word Riot and Ascent Aspirations Magazine.

Shane Jones is the author of the novels Light Boxes (Penguin, 2010), Daniel Fights a Hurricane (Penguin, 2012), and Crystal Eaters (Two Dollar Radio, 2014). Fiction and non-fiction has been published by VICE, The Paris Review Daily, Washington Square Review, LIT, The Portland Review, The Believer Logger, Quarterly West, and DIAGRAM. He lives in upstate New York.

Kathryn Hill is an MFA candidate in fiction at Arizona State University where she also reads prose for Hayden’s Ferry Review. Her flash fiction has appeared or is forthcoming at AGNI Online, Gigantic Sequins, Monkeybicycle, Passages North, and elsewhere. She has creative nonfiction forthcoming in an anthology from Outpost19. Follow her on Twitter at @kathelizhill

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

Originally from Buffalo, New York, Jasmine Sawers now lives and writes in Lexington, Kentucky.

Ingrid Jendrzejewski likes cryptic crosswords, the game of go and the python programming language, among other things. Links to her work can be found at www.ingridj.com and she occasionally tweets from @LunchOnTuesday. Recently, she was awarded the A Room of Her Own Foundation’s Orlando Prize for Flash Fiction and the Bath Flash Fiction Award.

Maryse Meijer‘s work has appears in or at Joyland, Meridian, The Dallas Review, The Portland Review, St. Ann’s Review, 580 Split, and elsewhere. Her collection of stories, Heartbreaker, was published by FSG as part of their Paperback Originals series.

2016 AWP Panelist Events

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.

Carmiel Banasky

Carmiel Banasky photoWednesday, 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

Matt Bell

Matt BellThursday, 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.

Ashley Farmer

Ashley Farmer HeadshotFriday, 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

Manuel Gonzales

Manuel Gonzales headshotThursday, 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.

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.

James R. Gapinski’s AWP Bookfair table/booth picks

With over 700 presses and organizations represented at AWP, it’s difficult to see them all. Naturally, I need to start with a self-serving plug: your first stop should be Table #2025: The Conium Review.  After that, explore as many new presses and publishers as possible (that’s my gameplan). But it’s good to have a few specific tables in mind—beacons amid the storm.  Here are my top ten exhibitors (in order by table number):

  1. Table #226: Gold Line Press / Ricochet Editions
  2. Table #324: Small Beer Press
  3. Table #343: Fiction Collective 2
  4. Booth #415: NewPages.com
  5. Table #422: NANO Fiction
  6. Table #439: The Review Review
  7. Table #925: Juked
  8. Booth #1007: VIDA: Women in Literary Arts
  9. Table #1122: [PANK] / Tiny Hardcore Press
  10. Table #1837: Two Dollar Radio

So if you’re a bit lost, maybe use these tent-poles as your guide too.  But don’t get stuck on lists and favorites; the most interesting conversations often come from presses you’ve never heard of.

About the Author

James R. Gapinski is The Conium Review‘s managing editor. He holds an MFA in creative writing from Goddard College and teaches writing at Bunker Hill Community College. His work has appeared in theEEELNANO FictionHeavy Feather ReviewJukedAtticus Review, Word Riot, and elsewhere.