Submission Opportunities (3)

I haven’t posted one of these in over a year and will try to be better about that. Some interesting theme issues with deadlines coming up soon, and one contest of note:

  • Tin House has three themed issues coming up, two with April 1 deadlines: ‘The Ecstatic’ will be their Fall 2011 issue, and ‘Beauty’ their Winter 2011 issue; and for their Spring 2012 issue (deadline Oct 1), ‘Weird Science’–click the link for more details.
  • Make, a very interesting magazine out of Chicago, has a ‘Neither/Nor’ theme (the website doesn’t expand on this, so just go ahead and have fun with it), deadline April 15.
  • Ecotone (a relatively new journal getting a lot of notice) has a ‘Happiness’ theme issue, deadline April 15.
  • Also with a deadline of April 15, Harpur Palate has a theme called ‘Underground.’
  • And, finally, a contest I didn’t see listed in Poets & Writers (usually the best way to stay on top of contests). BOMB is a terrific magazine built around interviews between artists from different fields. Their literary supplement, First Proof, publishes consistently challenging stuff–tending toward the experimental, but still accessible. They’re running a fiction contest judged by Rivka Galchen (Atmospheric Disturbances), deadline April 16.
Published in: on March 19, 2011 at 3:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Submission Opportunities (2)

First, a couple of promising-looking new journals gleaned from the latest Duotrope Weekly Wire (a free weekly newsletter on literary markets offered by the site Duotrope: an excellent resource–contribute a little if you can–though their info on simultaneous submissions is unreliable, so always confirm at the journal’s own site): Moon Milk Review (magical realism); Nashville Review (which pays).

And from Duotrope and other sources, a number of upcoming theme issues: The First Line (“Working for God is never easy” / deadline Feb 1–sorry for the late heads up on this one; other themes listed as well); subTerrain (“Signs” / Feb 15); Tin House (“Class in America” / May 1); Confrontation (“Transformation” / June 15); Other Voices Books (anthology, Men in Bed: Women Writers on the Male Sexual Experience / no deadline listed).

And finally, New Pages, a great resource which boasts listings for everything from literary magazines to contests to MFA programs, has a new Call for Submissions page, updated weekly.

Dylan Landis & Mary Otis

There are plenty of reasons to mention Dylan Landis and Mary Otis in the same breath. Both write wonderful short stories–dense with careful language, close observation, complex emotion, and a certain mystery. Both were mentored by much-loved teacher, writer, and Santa Monica Review founder Jim Krusoe. Both have connections to Tin House magazine: Mary’s 2007 collection Yes, Yes, Cherries was published by their book division; and the magazine was an early believer in Dylan’s work, publishing two of the stories from her recent collection, Normal People Don’t Live Like This. And the two will appear together, Thurs Nov. 19, 7pm at UCLA’s Hammer Museum.

I’ve been fortunate to become friends with both, and asked them to write a little about the other and throw in some choice quotes from the other’s work:

  • Dylan on Mary: The first thing I love about each story Mary Otis writes is that it breathes: her sentences have the same cadences, nervous laughs and tiny stunned silences as her characters–her inner ear is that finely tuned. A second thing I love is that her people get things wrong while trying to get them right; it can leave you weeping, especially in a story like “Unstruck.” A third thing I love is that whatever she describes, it’s always fabulously unfamiliar, as if you’ve never quite seen the world before.
  • A Mary Otis sampler: Then he kisses her and her insides unfurl, suddenly beautiful, like a lush bolt of fabric thrown out upon a table (from “Unstruck”). / A woman wearing a business suit hurried by, pulling a piece of luggage that was stamped Useless if Delayed (a passer-by at an airport, from “Triage”). / Iris pretends to wash the pavement with her hair (a frustrated child in “Five-Minute Hearts”).
  • Mary on Dylan: There are many things I love about Dylan Landis’ writing, but particularly the blend of elegance and danger. Emotion in her stories is always beneath the surface. Her prose causes me great delight–the beauty of her word choices, her unique and compelling character descriptions. Dylan once mentioned to me something about not starting to describe something until she can “see the grout in the tiles.” I love that, and it’s evident in her writing. Dylan looks long and deep at things, and the precision of her description floors me.
  • A Dylan Landis sampler: The Gospel of Angeline Yost is graven into desks with house keys and the blood of Bics; it is written in the glances of girls—low arcs of knowing that span the hallways and ping off the metal lockers (from “Rana Fegrina”). / She had the clipped walk of a person who pared herself to the essentials: muscle, bone, an eye for quality, calcium tablets for the nails, one pair of pumps, polished (from “Normal People Don’t Live Like This”). / Leah, home from school early, caught her mother in the act—fingers rustling in a Whitman’s Sampler, the box all bristly with pleated cups (from “Hate”).

If for some reason you can’t catch this must-attend reading, Dylan is doing two other readings this week: Tues 11/17 7pm at Cal State Long Beach (click on her name above for info); and then Sun 11/22 4pm at Village Books in Pacific Palisades (which includes a discussion on mother/daughter issues such as eating disorders, divorce, and teenage sex).

Published in: on November 15, 2009 at 7:39 pm  Comments (2)  
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Dylan Landis

Last night I went to a wonderful reading at Diesel Bookstore in Brentwood: Dylan Landis, reading from her new novel-in-stories, Normal People Don’t Live Like This. As a writer working on a novel-in-stories myself, one also centered on a difficult and complicated female character, and who’s been exposed to some of Dylan’s work, I have been keenly awaiting the arrival of this book.

Dylan read from the story “Underwater,” which revolves around, among other things, a charged friendship between the main character, teen-aged Leah, and her bad-girl friend Angeline. When Angeline brags to other girls how smart Leah is, “Leah glows as if Angeline has put a match to her.” They have one kind of dynamic in a group: “but when they are alone together Angeline is a knife under folds of silk and Leah can’t look away.”

More on Normal People Don’t Live Like This after I’ve had a chance to read the book cover to cover. Some of the stories have been previously published in journals like Tin House, Bomb, Night Train, Santa Monica Review, and St. Petersburg Review. The book has been praised by writers like Janet Fitch (White Oleander) and Elizabeth Strout (the Pulitzer-winning Olive Kitteridge).

Inside the Tin House Summer Writers Workshop

I’ve raved here before about the Tin House Summer Writers Workshop (I just attended my fourth). This video gives you a glimpse of what goes on at the conference–and at Aimee Bender‘s mean croquet form.

Published in: on August 11, 2009 at 5:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Live from Tin House

The week-long Tin House Summer Writers Workshop is wrapping up, and I wanted to file a brief report before heading out on a hiking trip. It’s my fourth year here, each more than well worth it.

At the online discussion board established so students can download each other’s work and introduce themselves, the conference coordinator dubs each workshop leader with a title. I studied this year with Dorothy Allison. Her title, the Shepard, could not have been more fitting. She is tough, but it’s out of love: love for you, for the characters, for story. She’s a keen reader with an eye both for detail and for what I can only call a larger cosmic vision of where writing fits in the larger scheme.

The week juggles morning workshops with afternoon seminars and evening readings–and then all the informal stuff that makes such a conference so valuable. Highlights included, as in past years, Charles D’Ambrosio packing more challenging thoughts into one hour than many teachers might in a whole week (more on this later, sometime); Bret Anthony Johnston introducing writing exercises from his fine book Naming the World; a very good panel on beginnings (“the beginning is a question for which everything that follows is some kind of answer”); a talk by Aimee Bender on “fructification”; and a party marking the magazine’s 10th anniversary (a lifetime in litmag years) where, among other things, Steve Almond treated us to a tour-de-force deconstruction of the Toto song “Africa.”

Literary LA This Weekend

  • Pale House Press presents their first literary event in over a year, dubbed Medicine Show, at Taix, 1911 West Sunset in Echo Park, Friday Oct 24 10pm. The events features Michael Stock, Rachel Williams, and Barnaby Slater, with live music by the Titans. Pale House is a local indie press that has produced a short story collection and the litmag Society. Past events have featured writer and indie film director Allison Anders, and writers such as Larry Fondation and Rachel Resnick. No cover.
  • Tongue & Groove, Conrad Romo’s hapnin’ literary gathering at the Hotel Cafe, 1623 1/2 N. Cahuenga in Hollywood. On Sunday Oct 26 6pm, the show features Lou Mathews (author of LA Breakdown, with credits that include Tin House, Black Clock and many others); Mary Otis (author of Yes, Yes, Cherries, one of my favorite recent story collections); as well as Susan Hayden, Lisa Orkin, and musical guest Logan Heftel. $6 cover.
Published in: on October 22, 2008 at 10:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Tin House Friends Who Done Good

One of the reasons I’ve gone to the Tin House Summer Writers Conference three years running is for the community. Having chosen not to pursue an MFA, I get my community mainly from Tin House and from the UCLA Extension Writers Program. Two classmates from my 2007 workshop with Aimee Bender recently reported some good news–and a third has a book out (more on that in a future post).

Liz Prato has a terrific story in the new Iron Horse Literary Review called “The Adventures of a Maya Queen.” (Click HERE for an order form: you can order the issue, Summer 2008–a good one, with features on the short-short and on travel writing–for only $5. And ignore the fact that their website is woefully out of date; it’s a solid journal.) Liz has an impressive list of credits which include:

She has a story forthcoming in the fall issue of Cream City Review, and next year in the anthology Who’s Your Mama? on Soft Skull Press. She teaches writing classes at The Attic in Portland, Oregon. Liz is constantly writing, re-writing, sending stuff out. That’s why she’s a writer to watch out for.

Jocelyn Johnson is hard at work polishing a collection of linked stories I had the privilege of reading and commenting on. One of them, “The Water Cave,” is currently being serialized online at Salome Magazine. More good news from Jocelyn to come soon, I’m sure. She offers up fiction and prose about motherhood and more on her blog. Earlier credits include:

Published in: on October 15, 2008 at 7:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Tom Barbash at New Short Fiction Series

This Friday–October 10, 8pm, at the Beverly Hills Public Library–the New Short Fiction Series will feature the stories of Bay Area writer Tom Barbash, a writer to watch out for. Barbash is the author of the novel The Last Good Chance (which Publisher’s Weekly called “a taut, intricate vision of ambition, corruption and love”); and the bestselling non-fiction work, On Top of the World: Cantor Fitzgerald, Howard Lutnick and 9/11: A Story of Loss & Renewal. His criticism and interviews have been published in the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The Believer. His stories have been published in Tin House, Story, the Virginia Quarterly Review, and One-Story. He is a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford; and a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, which counts Peter Orner and ZZ Packer among its members.

Check out…

Win McCormack

The Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Tin House Magazine (whose generosity floats one of the nation’s most important literary journals, and now, small presses) will be in LA this weekend. Saturday, Sept 20 at 5pm, he’ll be at Book Soup in West Hollywood promoting You Don’t Know Me: A Citizen’s Guide to Republican Family Values, his illustrated, A-Z chronicling of Republican misdeeds. Says Arianna Huffington, “McCormack reveals the true hypocrisy and depravity of those who love to quote the Bible but act like Caligula.”

In related news, I just picked up the 2008 O. Henry Prize Stories, and Tin House placed three pieces in the 20-story collection (Anthony Doerr’s “Village 113,” Alexi Zentner’s “Touch,” and Yiyun Li’s “Prison”), tying The New Yorker and besting Granta, Zoetrope, and Harper’s, all of which (for those keeping score at home) placed two stories. Congratulations to Tin House!

Published in: on September 16, 2008 at 4:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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