The Raven Short Story Contest always rounds out our year nicely, and Autumn 2019 produced a wonderful crop of tales sure to sustain us well into the new year. JJ Lee joins us fresh from Issue 24 as our featured author, now acting as ultimate decider for this season’s winner. From his deliberations, a clever raven emerges victorious:
Mike Donoghue for ‘Life4Sale’
‘Life4Sale’ showed in its epistolary structure a great command of character voice. The world building and the weird factor are efficiently established without ever forgetting that character motive and conflict are what make a short story tick. It never bogs down in the spec fic mechanics. I appreciated how it is the kind of story you may find on Black Mirror or, if you’re old enough, classic Twilight Zone.
The runners up garnered additional praise
MFC Feeley for ‘Dannemora Sewing Class’
‘Dannemora Sewing Class’, a very short short story, daringly makes a section and POV break in the middle and it works. The focus is on a single interaction and we discover through the POV switch that it has ramifications. The story demonstrates the writer’s skill and his or her ability to inhabit characters with a realistic diction.
Rob McInroy for ‘Zoroman’s Cave’
‘Zoroman’s Cave’ is a throwback with the hyper intelligent yet sinister narrator reminiscent of Lovecraft’s high-pulp style narrators. The volume of verbiage and contortion of the narrator’s thoughts can come across as quite dense, high falutin’ even, yet it flowed. It made for a smooth read. For that I thought it should be recognized as a standout and a great nod to the classic weird story genre.
Congratulations to these authors! Thank you to JJ Lee for his perspicacious eye, and thank you to all submitting authors for bringing us your best and supporting Pulp Literature Press.
What’s unkind about the Raven Short Story Contest? Why, making us choose, of course! It’s never easy deciding which stories will make the cut. Sometimes it’s like choosing between apples and automobiles: both are useful, and many are beautiful, but I wouldn’t want to ride in one or eat the other.
But choose we must. And so here are the authors on the longlist, alphabetically by first name:
Hannah Van Didden
Jonathan Sean Lyster
Thank you, writers, for being so unkind to us, and congratulations on winning us over this far with your words. The shortlist will be published soon!
This month will see the highly anticipated debut of Matthew Hughes’ novel, What the Wind Brings. With a slip stream narrative, and elements of magical realism, readers might be tempted to believe this novel is a work of fiction — which it is — but it is also based very firmly on real people, real ideologies, and real history. Here is the inspiration for his novel, some 50 years in the making:
In 1971, Matthew Hughes came across an intriguing footnote in a university textbook on cross-cultural conflicts and assimilations. In fewer than two dozen words, the footnote said that a group of shipwrecked slaves had been castaways on the coast of 16 th century Ecuador and had managed to build a new society in conjunction with the indigenous people.
Hughes thought, “That would make a great historical novel.”
But researching the events proved difficult. There was very little English-language scholarship about the Zambo state; most of what was available was in Spanish-language journals in Spain and South America. But as the years went by, Hughes kept a watching brief on the subject, gathering what information was to be found in academic papers.
By the second decade of this century, the Zambo state had caught the attention of several North American scholars. Papers and books began to appear, and the true shape of what had happened in Esmeraldas began to emerge. In 2014, The Canada Council for the Arts awarded Hughes a major grant and he began the process of putting the story together.
In 2018, he found a publisher in Pulp Literature Press.
The Zambo state remains a distinct ethnic identity in parts of Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. Their history was largely ignored, thanks in large part to historical whitewashing that has only recently been re-examined. We believe What the Wind Brings is a credit to that new research, as well as a credit to well-researched and masterfully written historical fiction.
Calgary, we know we don’t say this often enough but … we’re coming to see you!
A lot has happened since our last visit; we published a debut novel from Cowtowner, Michael Kamakana; we put out several new issues; and by the time we touchdown at YYC for When Words Collide, Matthew Hughes’s magnum opus, What the Wind Brings, will have landed as well. We’d love to catch up with you, so if you find yourself at Delta Calgary South for the 2019 WWC conference, stop by the Fireside room on Saturday (August 10th) at 2 pm.
In addition to Pulp Literature Presents, Jen Landels and Jessisca Fabrizius will be presenting at the following sessions:
3:00pm – Hiring the Right Editor
5:00pm – Common Manuscript Problems
6:00pm – Storytelling with Swordplay
12:00pm – Pitch session
2:00pm – Pulp Literature Presents
8:00pm – Autograph Session
11:00am – David vs Goliath: Writing the mis-matched fight scent
12:00pm – Live Action Slush – High Fantasy
1:00pm – Cover Art Trends
3:00pm – Live Action Slush – Urban Fantasy
4:00pm – Blue Pencil Cafe
5:00pm – Literary vs Speculative Fiction
Some of the other Pulp Literature authors in attendance at WWC include Jasmin Nyack, Michael Kamakana, Robert J Sawyer, Robert Runté, and Pat Flewelling. We hope to see you there as well!
Pulp Literature Presents Saturday 10 Aug, 2:00 – 3:00pm Fireside Room, Delta Calgary South
Face it — Toronto in August is muggy at best, and we know you’re looking for an escape. Thanks to a strong western wind, Pulp Literature is coming to Ontario, and we can provide the refreshment you’re looking for! Toronto local Kelly Robson rounds out Issue 23’s flavour profile, and it’s free to sample Thursday, August 8th.
Join editor Mary Rykov as she hosts local authors and poets Raluca Balasa, Dave Benyon, Joelle Kidd, Peter Norman, Kelly Robson, Douglas Smith, R Daniel Lester and more for another evening of genre-busing readings, book signings, book raffle, and good cheer.
Hear our writers, peruse our magazine issues and novels, and learn about submission opportunities. Help us celebrate Pulp Literature and launch the Summer 2019 Issue 23.
Sign up for 2 time-limited open mic spots available at 6 pm.
Thursday 8 August 2019 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM Another Bar 926 Bloor Street West, Toronto
This week we move into the blaze of August, and Pulp Literature is going to be busy! Catch us in Toronto, Calgary, and of course, Vancouver for launch parties and other special events. Or, if that doesn’t jive with your end of summer schedule, stay tuned for our weekly author and artist deals. This is week 29 of Pulp Literature’s Year of Authors — get ’em while they’re hot!
Patrick Bollivar is a writer and an air traffic controller (do tell!) living in Vancouver, BC. His short stories have previously appeared in Tesseracts Nineteen: Superhero Universe, and The Outliers of Speculative Fiction.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Peter Norman received a Creative Writing BFA from the University of British Columbia in 1998 and has since lived in Ottawa, Calgary, Halifax, Windsor (Ontario), Montreal, Edmonton, and Toronto, where he now lives with his wife, fellow writer-editor Melanie Little. He is the author of a novel, Emberton, and three collections of poetry.
R Daniel Lester reads, writes and lives in Terminal City, aka Vancouver, BC. He is the author of the poetry collection It’s Allin the Interpretation, the short story collection Caffeine Fueled Revelation Machines and the novel, Die, Famous! His writing has been seen online in Geist, Shotgun Honey, Out of the Gutter, TheFlash Fiction Offensive and The Big Adios, and he was a semi-finalist in Broken Pencil’s Indie Writers’ Deathmatch.
In all but one career aptitude test Rebecca Gomez Farrell has taken, writer has been the #1 result. But when she tastes the salty air and hears the sea lions bark, she wonders if maybe, maybe, sea captain was the right choice after all. And when Rebecca says she’s a writer… she’s not joking. More than 20 published short stories, a romance novella, and an epic fantasy novel are just the tip of the iceberg. She’s also a television commentator and food/drink/travel blogger... basically, she puts us all to shame.
Rebecca Wurtz is the author of County, Kind of a Love Story, a novel in verse, and she was a runner up in the 2015 Texas Observer Short Story Contest with ‘Hands moving through hair’. She lives in Minneapolis and teaches at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. ‘Xuefei and his Heart’ was the winner of the Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize in 2016.
It’s another week dominated by the poets! Week 28 of Pulp Literature’s Year of Authors starts out strong with two Magpie Poetry Contest winners, stays steady in the middle with two poets from across the pond, and finishes with the odd woman out — though something tells us that Pat revels in being the outlier.
Nicola Aimé writes about the spaces in between, those places where people touch but never entirely find each other: immigration with its sacrificial gains, the ambiguous embraces of tango, the tangled demands of being a woman in the modern era, the vast failures of justice in an indifferent world. Her work has always been among words—stories, screenplays, editing, ESL, and literacy. Poetry arrived unbidden and took her by surprise. It continues to keep her curious and is her route both into herself and out into the world.
Oak Morse is a poet, spoken word artist, speaker and teacher who has travelled and toured across the Southeast as a performing artist as well as a teacher of performance poetry. He now is becoming recognized for his recent literary works, which aim to bring attention to a speech disorder known as ‘cluttering’, which Oak has worked tirelessly to overcome. Oak Morse now speaks and serves as an ambassador for cluttering and writes poetry which seeks to engage readers and immerse them into the cluttering experience. Oak currently lives in Lawrenceville, Georgia, where he works on his poetry collection titled When the Tongue Goes Bad.
Oscar Windsor-Smith writes fiction, creative non-fiction, non-fiction and poetry from his home in Hertfordshire, UK. His stories have been finalists in the New York City Midnight Short Story Challenge and the University of Plymouth short fiction competitions.
Born in East London but now residing amongst the hedge mumblers of rural Suffolk, PA Levy has been published in many magazines, from A cappella Zoo to Zygote In My Coffee and stations in between. He is also a founding member of the Clueless Collective.
By day, Pat is a senior business analyst at a major telecommunications company; by evening, she works at a brand-new micropress; on weekends, she runs Myth Hawker Travelling Bookstore; and by night, she fights ninja vampires using nothing but radioactive garlic and weapons-grade sarcasm. And sometime between Never O’Clock and the Second Tuesday of Next Week, Pat writes short stories and novels, including Helix: Blight of Exiles, Helix: Plague ofGhouls, and Helix: Scourge of Bones. Her story ‘The Handler’ won the 2016 Raven Short Story contest.
Hummingbirds are quite competitive, and this year we have 10 hummingbirds vying for the sweet $300 grand prize. The shortlist is in the hands of former closet writer and current flash fiction master, Bob Thurber. Best of luck to the following authors!
Ariel Basom Chad V. Broughman Dylan Sealy Emily Ruth Verona Hannah van Didden Mack Stone Mike Donoghue Patricia Sandberg Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki Teya Hollier
It’s not every year you get to celebrate publishing 20 issues of genre-busting literature. We want our readers to reap the rewards, and our contributors to shine in the spotlight, so every week we are offering up a selection of deeply discounted past issues, based on one of the authors, poets, or artists whose work fills the magazine’s pages. Welcome to week 27 of Pulp Literature’s Year of Authors!
Mikayla Fawcett is a writer and artist currently inhabiting a mudflat within the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples. Occasionally Mikayla emerges from the mudflat to engage in a larger collaborative art project.
Milo James Fowler is a teacher by day and a speculative fictioneer by night. When he’s not grading papers, he’s imagining what life might be like in a dozen alternate realities. So far, his fiction has appeared in more than 150 publications, including AE SciFi, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Cosmos, Daily Science Fiction, Nature, and Shimmer.
Misha Handman has been writing fantasy and mystery stories for as long as he can remember. When not writing, he works as a manager for the performing arts in Victoria, BC, helping otherartists bring their own works to their audiences.
Mitchell Toews lives and writes at Jessica Lake in Manitoba. When an insufficient number of, “We are pleased to inform you …” emails are on hand he finds alternative joy in the windy intermingling between the top of the water and the bottom of the sky or skates on the ice until he can no longer see the cabin.
Nicholas Christian’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Lindenwood Review, Off the Coast, Poetry Quarterly, Gravel, Da ̆mfiˉno, and Panoply. He is currently living and teaching in China with his wife and fellow poet Kelli Allen.
I transformed my back patio into a hummingbird trap, and I have one very greedy female and her jellybean brood. It’s a delight to watch her flit back and forth between the blossoms and her babies, and it reminds me a lot of our annual Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize. The only difference? How many hummingbirds we get! See the longlist below and stay tuned for the shortlist coming Sunday, June 14th. If you see a name twice, the author has two stories worth celebrating!
2019 Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize Longlist
Ariel Basom Beth Anderson Candice Rubie Chad V Broughman Chad V Broughman Colin Thornton Daniel Aristi Dawn Miller Dawn Vrablic Dietra Malik Dylan Sealy Elizabeth Cockle Emily Ruth Verona Gary Kirchner Hannah van Didden Janey Small Jeffrey Ricker Jennifer Gerves-Keen Joel Gutteridge Kate Felix Korena Di Roma Howley KT Wagner Leah Andelsmith Leah Andelsmith Mack Stone Mike Donoghue Nicole Iversen Nicole Iversen Norman Thomson Olubunmi Oyinsan Patricia Sandberg Paul Cresey Rhian Holvey Rita Donovan Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki Teya Hollier V Bjarna