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2017 Innovative Short Fiction Contest

Contest Judge: Stephen Graham Jones

Prize: $500, publication, copies of the issue,

and a copy of the judge’s latest book

Stephen Graham Jones selected Kevin Finucane as the 2017 Innovative Short Fiction Contest winner for his short story, “I Am Me.”

Stephen said “Life moves pretty fast in the here and now, and ‘I Am Me’ gets it on the page with enough terror and comedy and longing that we can’t help but see ourselves there. It’s a scary, twisted reflection, but it’s a lot more helpful than the nice easy lies we usually get told.”

Kevin Finucane was awarded a bronze Solas Award by Travelers’ Tales in creative nonfiction in 2009 and was named a finalist for the Faulkner-Wisdom Competition in the novella category for 2010. Kevin will receive a $500 prize, copies of the issue, a copy of Mongrels, and the winning story will be published in the next issue of The Conium Review, due out later in 2017.

This year’s finalists were Andrew CampellJ. L. MontavonSarah Scarr, and Stephanie Wang. Honorable mention goes to Emily GrelleJen Knox, and Z. G. Watkins.

About the Contest

The winning story will be published in The Conium Review‘s next issue. The winning author will receive $500, five copies of the issue, and a copy of the judge’s latest book.

Innovative short fiction should take risks that pay off. Don’t tell us a story we’ve already heard before. Show us something new with your subject, style, or characters. Make sure your writing has a “wow” factor.

The 2017 contest judge is Stephen Graham Jones. Stephen is the author of over twenty books, including Mongrels (William Morrow, 2016), After the People Lights Have Gone Off (Dark House Press, 2014), The Last Final Girl (Lazy Fascist Press, 2012), and Demon Theory (MacAdam/Cage, 2006). If you are a family member, coworker, or student of the judge, you are ineligible for this contest.

Contest Deadlines

Submissions must be received between February 1st, 2017 and May 1st, 2017. All submissions must include a $15.00 entry fee. The winner will be announced by July 15th, 2017.

Submission Guidelines

All manuscripts must be submitted through our Submittable page between February 1st, 2017 and May 1st, 2017. Your submission may include any combination of flash fictions or short stories up to 7,500 total words. Upload your submission as a single manuscript file. Your name should not appear anywhere on the manuscript. The judge reads blind, and he will recuse himself from considering any manuscript where the writer is identifiable. In the unlikely event that the judge is unable to select a winner, The Conium Review editorial staff will make the final decision.

In the “Biography Statement” field, please include a two or three sentence third-person bio. This bio will not be viewable by the contest judge. If you win the contest, your bio appears inside the published issue of The Conium Review along with the winning story.

Submissions must be unpublished, original work. Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but you must withdraw your story immediately if it is accepted elsewhere. If you withdraw your submission, the entry fee is not returned.

This contest abides by the Council of Literary Magazines & Presses code of ethics.  Thank you for submitting!

About the 2017 Contest Judge

Stephen Graham Jones is the author of over twenty books, including Mongrels (William Morrow), After the People Lights Have Gone Off (Dark House Press), The Last Final Girl (Lazy Fascist Press), and Demon Theory (MacAdam/Cage).

Born and raised in Texas, Stephen Graham Jones now lives in Boulder, Colorado. He has received a Texas Institute of Letters Award and a National Endowment for the Arts fellow in fiction. He teaches at the University of Colorado.

Praise for Mongrels

  • “Lyrical . . . The narrator’s voice is heartfelt and absorbing . . . an often moving portrait of a family struggling to survive.” —Publishers Weekly
  • Mongrels exists somewhere in the borderlands of literary and genre fiction, full of horror and humor and heart, at once a nightmarish road trip and a moving story about a broken family leashed together by their fierce love and loyalty. A bloody great read.” –Benjamin Percy, author of The Dead Lands, Red Moon, and The Wilding
  • “Stephen Graham Jones is as powerful as the monsters herein.” –Josh Malerman, author of Bird Box)
  • Mongrels isn’t just a coming-of-age story or a horror story. It looks at the world through a disturbing, uncomfortable lens, and offers up a brutal mythology of werewolves. I’ve never seen anything quite like it and I won’t forget it anytime soon.” –Carrie Vaughn, New York Times bestselling author of the Kitty Norville series
  • “With lupine tongue tucked well into cheek, Mongrels is at once an adolescent romp through the tangled woods of family history and a rich compendium of werewolf lore old and new.” –Christopher Buehlman, author of Those Across the River and The Lesser Dead
  • “A love letter to the American South . . . Jones’ portrayals of rural American ring true in many ways. Horror enthusiasts will also dig the graphic mythology . . . A Holden Caulfield analogue dropped into an old horror movie with a soundtrack by Warren Zevon.” —Kirkus Reviews