Volume 6 pre-orders now available!

The Conium Review: Vol. 6 is now available for pre-order. We expect to ship in mid-December.

This volume of The Conium Review features nine new stories from Tamara K. Walker, Jay Vera Summer, Matt Kirkpatrick, Rebekah Bergman, Kevin Funicane, Stephanie Wang, Simone Person, Rachel Lyon, and J. L. Montavon. Readers will experience ghost detector apps, a sentient chalkboard, trippy art museum visits, and more. Throughout this volume, inventive prose, dark satire, and  compelling characters abound.

We’re still processing final copy edits and completing the layout, so page count is still up in the air, but it’ll be a similar length to other recent issues (around 100-ish). As usual, we have a wrap-around cover with just a hint of the main image peaking out. On back, there is a large tree stump gracing the volume.

Vol 6 - mock-up

“The Conium Review: Vol. 6” cover image mock-up

Announcing the Vol. 6 authors

The Conium Review: Vol. 6 comes out in December, 2017. We’ve finalized the table of contents, and we’re pleased to introduce the authors and stories slated for this issue:

  • “Ramune,” by Tamara K. Walker
  • “Holy Water,” by Jay Vera Summer
  • “Something Like Feeling,” by Matt Kirkpatrick
  • “A Hunger,” by Rebekah Bergman
  • “I Am Me,” by Kevin Funicane (winner of the 2017 Innovative Short Fiction Contest)
  • “Time Travel for Beginners,” by Stephanie Wang
  • “Maurice,” by Simone Person
  • “Naming Maura Maura,” by Rachel Lyon
  • “Extraterrestrial Science,” by J. L. Montavon

ABOUT THE CONIUM REVIEW: VOL. 6 AUTHORS

Tamara K. Walker resides in Colorado and writes short fiction and poetry, often of a surreal, irreal, magical realist, experimental, speculative or otherwise unusual nature. Her fiction has previously appeared in The Cafe Irreal, A cappella Zoo, Melusine, Peculiar Mormyrid, ink&coda, Three Minute Plastic, and others. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Star*Line, Lavender Review, Scifaikuest, and indefinite space, among others. Her short story, “Camisole”, which appeared in The Conium Review: Vol. 4, was a 2015 Pushcart Prize nominee. She may be found online at http://tamarakwalker.weebly.com

Jay Vera Summer is a Chicagoan living in Florida. She writes fiction and creative nonfiction, and co-founded weirderary, an online literary magazine, and First Draft, a monthly live literary event in Tampa. Her writing has been published in marieclaire.com, Proximity, LimeHawk, theEEEL, and Chicago Literati.

Matthew Kirkpatrick is the author of Diary of a Pennsylvania Farmer (Throwback Books, forthcoming), The Exiles (Ricochet Editions), and Light Without Heat (FC2). His fiction and essays have appeared in The Rumpus, The Common, Puerto del Sol, Denver Quarterly, Believer Logger, Notre Dame Review, and elsewhere. His audio collage and hypertext, “The Silent Numbers” is anthologized in the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 3, and was part of the “Shapeshifting Texts” exhibit at the University of Bremen. He is an assistant professor at Eastern Michigan University where he teaches fiction and new media writing.

Rebekah Bergman’s fiction has been published or is forthcoming in Hobart, Joyland, Passages North, Poor Claudia, Two Serious Ladies, and The Nashville Review, among other journals. She holds an MFA from The New School and is a contributing editor of NOON.

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.

Stephanie Wang is a Beijing-born Australian writer currently living in Melbourne. She can travel in time, but only in one direction. She is currently working on a novel.

Simone Person grew up in small Michigan towns and Toledo, Ohio. She is a dual MFA/MA in Fiction and African American and African Diaspora Studies at Indiana University. Her work has appeared in Queen Mob’s Teahouse and Puerto del Sol, among others, and has been anthologized in Crab Fat Magazine: Best of Year Three. Her chapbook is a semifinalist selection for Honeysuckle Press’s 2017 Chapbook Contest. She occasionally uses Twitter and Instagram at @princxporkchop.

Rachel Lyon‘s debut novel Self-Portrait with Boy is forthcoming from Scribner in February 2018. Her short work has appeared in Joyland, Iowa Review, McSweeney’s, and other publications. Rachel teaches for Sackett Street Writers Workshop, Catapult, and elsewhere and is a cofounder of the reading series Ditmas Lit in her native Brooklyn. Visit her at www.rachellyon.work.

J. L. Montavon was born and raised in Denver and lives in San Francisco. Her story “Recursions” was chosen by Joan Wickersham as the winner of the 2016 Salamander Fiction Prize.

Kevin Finucane is the 2017 Innovative Short Fiction Contest winner

Stephen Graham Jones has finished deliberating, and he selected Kevin Finucane‘s “I Am Me” as this year’s Innovative Short Fiction Contest winner!

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.

This year’s finalists were Andrew Campell, J. L. Montavon, Sarah Scarr, and Stephanie Wang. Honorable mention goes to Emily Grelle, Jen Knox, and Z. G. Watkins. Here’s what Stephen Graham Jones had to say about Kevin Finucane’s winning story:

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.”

—Stephen Graham Jones, contest judge and author of Mongrels

Kevin’s winning story will be published in The Conium Review: Vol. 6, due out later this year from Conium Press. He will also receive $500, five copies of the issue, and a copy of Stephen Graham Jone’s latest book.

Thanks to all who submitted to this year’s contest. We’ll be announcing next year’s judge soon. Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about these calls for submissions and news from The Conium Review and Conium Press.

Upcoming Event: “Adventures in Literary Readings”

Adventures Reading header

Join several of The Conium Review‘s editors/writers on Friday, April 14th to celebrate the release of Chelsea Werner-Jatzke‘s chapbook, Adventures in Property Management, out now from Sibling Rivalry Press.

Chelsea is outreach coordinator at The Conium Review, and we’re excited to see her come through Portland on her West Coast reading tour. The reading will also feature our James R. Gapinski (our managing editor), Rebecca Schiff (2017 flash contest judge), and Kate Garklavs (2016 flash contest winner). Also featuring readings from Robert Lashley and Dena Rash Guzman.

The reading starts at 7:00pm at Likewise, located at 3564 SE Hawthorne Blvd in Portland, Oregon. Hope to see some Conium Press readers, writers, and friends there! Find this event on Facebook.

“Rehearsal,” by Thomas Michael Duncan

Realistic reel of film, doodle style

Turns out there’s always work for a corpse. I’m talking movies, TV, emopunk music videos, texting-and-driving commercials, crime scene reenactments, all that jazz. If you’ve turned on your cable box in the last month, you’ve seen me dead. Most of my appearances are in the first two minutes of police dramas. Sometimes the script calls for me to be naked, washed up on a beach with seaweed in my hair. Sometimes I play a woman corpse; they position me facedown, shave my back, and put a red curly wig on my head. Open casket scenes are best because I wear a clean suit and coffins are lined with satin. More often I’m discovered in a dumpster, bloody with shackle bruises on my ankles and wrists, or bunched up and stuffed into a front loader at an abandoned laundromat. I get really into my parts. I can keep my eyes open for almost an hour without blinking. I can breathe for a whole day without expanding my chest cavity. When I’m dead, I think dead people thoughts, like what year is it? and where am I buried? and how many ounces in a pint? I block out my surroundings so well that I don’t always come back to life when the scene ends. If this happens, the production assistant dumps a glass of water over my head. That usually does the trick. Last fall I costarred with Dwayne Johnson. It was during his Dwayne Johnson phase. I played his dead brother. DJ cradled me in his gorilla arms and cried and shook like a paint can mixer at Home Depot. I acted dead. DJ didn’t stop crying until after lunch. My agent says I’m the most convincing corpse he’s ever seen, and he’s seen actual corpses. Auditions can be tough—the competition is stiff. Sorry. That’s an industry joke. But really, casting is uncomfortable. The directors shout at me, kick me, call me names, eat plates of linguine off my back. But I am dead as a dinosaur. They usually apologize after. My girlfriend decided we should try role playing, but she always wanted me to play the same part. We broke up. It was mutual. Now I have the apartment to myself so I can rehearse whenever I like. I play loud music and leave all the widows open and door unlocked and shower running in hopes that someone will discover me. That’s my one fantasy. It would be the absolute height of my career to be mistaken for a corpse by a pedestrian. I imagine being declared dead, fooling even the coroner. I would remain in character until the first shovel of dirt hit the mahogany.

About the Author:

Thomas Michael Duncan writes fact, fiction, and the occasional bit of nonsense. He lives in Columbia, South Carolina.

Special Note:

This story was a finalist in The Conium Review‘s 2016 Flash Fiction Contest, judged by Leesa Cross-Smith.

Image Credit: © Handini_Atmodiwiryo – stock.adobe.com

Contributor Update: 2017 “Best Small Fictions” winners and finalists

The 2017 Best Small Fictions lineup has been announced. We nominated five stories for the anthology. We’re pleased to report that “Gazebo,” by Shane Jones was selected as a finalist. This story originally appeared in The Conium Review: Vol. 5.

Several previous contributors also appear on the list of finalists and winners for stories published in other literary magazines, including Jen Knox (contributor to The Conium Review Vol. 1, No. 1), Ingrid Jendrzejewski (contributor to our website, Vol. 4, and Vol. 5), Philip Sterling (contributor to The Conium Review Online Compendium).

Our 2017 Flash Fiction Contest judge, Rebecca Schiff, has also been selected for the anthology. Additionally, our 2016 Flash Fiction Contest judge, Leesa Cross-Smith, was selected as a finalist.

Congrats to all the other authors who made the short- and long-list for Best Small Fictions! View the full list here.

Sneak peak at AWP micro-chapbook: “In Memoriam: Lot 69097”

We’re giving away 50 copies of Kate Garklavs’s micro-chapbook, In Memoriam: Lot 69097, at the 2017 AWP Conference in Washington, DC. Kate’s story was the winner of our most recent flash fiction contest, judged by Leesa Cross-Smith. Each of these 50 copies will be numbered and signed by the author. Stop by table 548-T to get yours. We expect them to be gone fast, so show up early if you want to snag one!

ACLU donations at our AWP table

The 2017 AWP Conference is just a couple days away. We’ll be exhibiting at table 548-T, and we’re co-hosting an off-site event on Thursday, February 9th.

This year’s conference is in Washington, DC. Meanwhile, a few blocks from the convention center, a misygonistic xenophone sits in the white house. Consequently, this year’s AWP must be about more than schmoozing and afterparties.

We’re a socially responsible publisher, and we typically donate copies of our print-runs to charities like Housing Works Bookstore Cafe and Open Books. At this year’s AWP Conference, we’re going a step further. We are donating 10% of all AWP sales to the American Civil Liberties Union. Just a couple weeks into the Trump presidency, and the ACLU has already challenged the Trump administration’s actions in court. The ACLU has along history of demanding equal rights and fighting for our basic feedoms, and we’re proud to offer whatever support we can.

On a related note, we hope you’ll consider attending Saturday’s Candlelight Vigil for Free Speech. The vigil will take place at Lafayette Park, directly across from the White House. It is just a short walk from the convention center. The vigil starts at 6:15pm. Hand-held signs only and no large bags allowed (leave that AWP tote bag in your hotel room). Speakers include Kazim Ali, Gabrielle Bellot, Melissa Febos, Carolyn Forché, Ross Gay, Luis J. Rodriguez, and Eric Sasson.

If you know of any other vigils, protests, or other political events taking place during the AWP Conference, please e-mail us with the details.

Rebecca Schiff to judge The Conium Review 2017 Flash Fiction Contest

Rebecca Schiff headshotWe’re pleased to announce our next Flash Fiction Contest judge: Rebecca Schiff.

The winner of the 2017 Flash Fiction Contest will receive $300, online publication, publication as a limited-run micro-chapbook or broadside, and a copy of the judge’s latest book. Submissions open October 1st, 2017. Full guidelines are available here.

Rebecca Schiff is the author of The Bed Moved (Knopf, 2016). She graduated from Columbia University’s MFA program, where she received a Henfield Prize. Her stories have appeared in n+1, Electric Literature, The American Reader, Guernica, The Guardian, and Lenny Letter. She lives in Brooklyn.

If you’d like to get a taste of the judge’s style, you can read some of Rebecca’s work on Buzzfeed and The Guardian. (Of course, you could also just go buy her book).

You can also read last year’s winning flash fiction, selected by Leesa Cross-Smith, on our website. Or stop by our AWP table (548-T) to get a copy of the free micro-chap.