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Elle Nash selected Ted Hayden ad the 2021 Innovative Short Fiction Contest winner for his story, “The Sky Saw.”

Elle said, “In ‘The Sky Saw Us,’ all the loss of one’s life becomes stored inside the body, where one reflects on it forever.”

Ted Hayden‘s stories have appeared in literary publications including Newfound Journal and genre publications including Nature: Futures.

This year’s finalists were Alexandra Blogier, Aimee Herman, Kaleena Madruga, Jerome Newson, K. W. Oxnard, and Pascale Potvin.


2021 Innovative Short Fiction Contest

Contest Judge: Elle Nash

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

and a copy of the judge’s book

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.

The 2021 contest judge is Elle Nash. Elle is the author of Nudes (SF/LD, forthcoming in 2021), Animals Eat Each Other (Dzanc, 2018), AVOKA (Ghost City Press, 2017), and I Can Remember the Meaning of Every Tarot Card but I Can’t Remember What I Texted You Last Night (Nostrovia! Press, 2016). She is also a co-author of the chapbook Elizabeth & Mary & Elle (Sad Spell Press, 2019). 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 March 1st, 2021 and June 1st, 2021. All submissions must include a $15.00 entry fee. The winner will be announced on or around August 15th, 2021.

Submission Guidelines

All manuscripts must be submitted through our Submittable page between March 1st, 2021 and June 1st, 2021. 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 she will recuse herself 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 2021 Contest Judge

Elle Nash is the author of Animals Eat Each Other and Nudes, forthcoming from SF/LD Books in 2021. Her short stories and essays appear in Guernica, The Nervous Breakdown, Literary Hub, New York Tyrant and elsewhere. She is a founding editor of Witch Craft Magazine and teaches a fiction workshop called Textures. You can find her on Twitter @saderotica.

Praise for Animals Eat Each Other

  • “Elle Nash’s Animals East Each Other is a desire map, a cartography of eros . . . Mirrorings, doublings, triplings, and reproductions bring the right questions to the surface: who are we when we enter into love stories? Does anyone know? A heartbomb.” —Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan

  • “Nash’s subtly spare prose renders matter-of-fact what we’re so often afraid to articulate to ourselves, let alone to the people we give ourselves over to.” —Sarah Gerard, author of Sunshine State

  • “Elle Nash has written a novel you can’t put down, even if the Satanic Bible or a deck of Tarot cards is within your reach.” —Elizabeth Ellen, author of Person/a

  • “If Holden Caulfield was the face of adolescence during Salinger’s era, then Nash’s Lilith represents the face of today’s youth as they struggle to come-of-age in a world where people are increasingly more and more alienated.” —Sarah Elizabeth Schantz, author of Fig

  • “Nash writes with psychological precision, capturing Lilith’s volatile shifts between directionless frustration, self-destructiveness, ambivalence, and vulnerable need. A complex, impressive exploration of obsession and desire.” —Publishers Weekly starred review

  • “A scintillating work of literary erotica…the way [Lilith] elucidates and wrestles with her sexuality and identity is perceptive and raw.” —Book Riot

  • “The first page of Animals Eat Each Other knocked me on my ass…Elle writes with an incredible amount of intensity and emotional honesty and, damn it, just read this book.” —Lit Reactor

  • “Electric, sensual, and brutally human, Nash explores the boundaries (or lack thereof) when it comes to sexual desire. It is an exquisitely crafted work where every sentence feels so important, so real that it stings the skin. … A supremely gripping work….a remarkable novel that crackles from beginning to end.” —Medium

  • “Raw, moving, and utterly original.” —Popsugar

  • “An unsettling work in the tradition of books delving into the emotionally ragged connections that form in the least likely places.” —Vol. 1 Brooklyn

  • “Nash is an acute observer of human appetites, and Animals Eat Each Other establishes her as a voice on the rise.” —The Masters Review

  • “A mélange of sex and violence and drug use and teenage ennui . . . a devastating first book.” —The Fanzine

  • “A hair-raising tale of sex and drugs and self-harm and self-hatred well outside the safe boundaries of New York Lit” —3 AM

Archived Contest Pages