In the publishing game, five years is significant, and we know who to thank: our authors, artists, and loyal readers who make it all possible. Join us on Sunday, December 16th, at our Literary Launch and Swordfighting Salon for a civilized afternoon of author readings, an artisan craft fair, tea and pastries, book sales & signings … and swordfighting!
This event is a co-fundraiser for Academie Duello’s Youth Outreach Program and Pulp Literature Press. It is also the launch party for our five year anniversary issue—Number 21— featuring Evelyn Lau. There will be readings from JJ Lee, Matt Hughes, Emily Lonie, Mitchell Toews, Graham Darling, Margot Spronk, Laura Kostur, Greg Brown, Patrick Bollivar, Jessica Fabrizius, Susan Pieters, and JM Landels.
Take a breather from the holiday rush to enjoy readings from local authors, swordplay demonstrations by Academie Duello and ample time to chat with authors, drink tea, and scoop up last minute stocking stuffers by our talented artisans.
November 15th draws near, and soon the winner of the 2018 Raven Short Story Contest will be announced! As the days grow shorter, so to does the list of contenders. Below, listed alphabetically by author first name, are the authors whose stories have made the shortlist.
Cheryl Wollner for ‘Girls Who Dance in the Flames’
Colin Thornton for ‘Ten Minutes in Maine’
Erin MacNair for ‘Camping with Narwhals’
Jody Hadlock for ‘She Walks Alone’
KW George for ‘Shadows’
Kate Felix for ‘Fingered’
Kim Clark for ‘Pissing in the Pocket of the Lone Arbutus Estates’
What a fantastic turnout for the Raven Short Story Contest! After long hours of reading and debating, we’re ready to release the longlist. Below in alphabetical order by author first name is the 2018 Raven Short Story Contest longlist! Authors listed more than once have multiple stories under consideration.
Anneliese Schultz Cheryl Wollner Cindy Phan Colin Thornton David Roberts Erin MacNair Helen Richardson Jeanine Manji Jody Hadlock K W George Kate Felix Kate Felix Kim Clark Kim Martins KT Wagner Leslie Wibberley Margot Spronk Mitchell Toews Richard Arbib Shanon Sinn Stephanie Vernier
This was the biggest batch of raven submissions yet, and we wish to thank all authors who submitted. Good luck to the longlisted authors in the coming week as we prepare to release the shortlist!
Upcoming Contests and Openings
While you wait, why not polish up some more short stories for submissions? We will be opening for short fiction from November 1st – 15th, and the Bumblebee Flash Fiction contest opens on New Year’s Day 2019!
And if you are busying yourself with NaNoWriMo this coming month, The Writer’s Friend and Confidante is just the supportive and companionable guide to keep you on track all month long … and beyond.
We were delighted beyond words when two of Greg Brown’s stories in Pulp Literature made it into the Writers’ Trust 2018 Journey Prize Longlist: ‘Bear’ (Pulp Literature Issue 14) and ‘Love’ (Pulp Literature Issue 16). Today we learned that ‘Love’ has climbed higher, and is a finalist along with ‘Mute’ by Shashi Bhat and Liz Harmer’s ‘Never Prosper’.
The first place winner will be announced in Toronto on November 7th. In the meantime, we picked Greg’s brain a bit and will share with you his thoughts on writing, reading, and the intersectionality of it all. Enjoy!
Interview: Greg Brown
So, here’s that annoying question people always ask: when did you first feel the urge to be a writer? And what did you do about it? The first time I realized that I wanted to be a writer writer waswhen I was sixteen and I read John Irving’s novel The World According to Garp. Until then I’d been making comic books. Garp was the first grownup book I read, the first book I read that dealt with grown-up things. I think I wanted to be part of that adult seriousness. I’m more fun now.
I don’t know how to answer the second question, though I think it’s an interesting one. All I can say is that I tried to write, but didn’t figure out much of anything until I started sharing my work with other writers, which happened at some workshops in my twenties and then in grad school more than ten years after that original impulse.
You’ve earned several degrees in literature and creative writing. Can you tell us where you studied and how the programs were of value? I studied English Literature as an undergrad at the University of British Columbia and then as a grad student at Memorial University of Newfoundland. I also completed an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina – Greensboro. The MFA was a gift. I was paid–paid!–for two years to study writing and to write. Every day I got to hang out with some of the most talented writers I’ve ever met and talk shop. It’s hard even to imagine that such a thing is possible.
Tell me about your current day jobs? And how do you fit in time to write? During the year I teach in Vancouver at the Creative Writing for Children Society and during the summers I teach at the University of Virginia’s Young Writers Workshop. I also help run the Vancouver Island Short Film Festival and work for an education and publishing consultancy in New Westminster. Saying this aloud makes it sound like a lot. And it is. But I’m still able to find several hours in the morning to write. If it’s important, it gets done. Not to sound too hard-assed about it. What I’m really trying to say is, I need to write so I have to find time for it. So I do.
What do you like to read? Any recommendations? How much time do we have? Here are some of my favorite books from the last twelve months: Next Year, For Sure by Zoey Leigh Peterson, Everything, Then and Since by Michael Parker, Genevieves by Henry Hoke, The Dark and Other Love Stories by Deborah Willis, Oh, My Darling by Shaena Lambert, Galore by Michael Crummey, and Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson. I’m also in the middle of reading a great memoir by Sarah McColl. It’s called Joy Enough. It’s beautiful. Out early next year. Check it out!
When did you write “Bear”? If you can believe it, I wrote the first draft of “Bear” about seven years ago. It started out as a flash piece and then became a longer story and then became a flash piece again. The idea came out of an anecdote a biologist told me about a group of research scientists trying to scare deer by putting on bear skins and hiding in the forest. For science.
When did you write “Love”? I wrote the first draft of “Love” a couple of years ago. It’s more or less the size and shape of that original draft, although it took me some time to settle on the characters’ names. Even rereading it now I feel a strong desire to change the characters’ names.
Any words of comfort, encouragement, or warning to impart to other writers? I tell my students that their only responsibility is to follow their own curiosity. Don’t worry so much about the rules and traditions and the expectations of the market. Art-making isn’t about correctness or salability. Every great story violates some deeply held “wisdom.” Better just to follow your own curiosity and see what weird territory it uncovers.
What’s your favourite part about living on the West Coast of Canada? Canned answer: The ocean, the trees, the mountains, the wildlife. Truth: The people, who are endlessly interesting and decent.
Every year, we nominate our most recent crop of authors for as many awards as possible. It’s one way of passing forward the good fortune we had in publishing them in the first place. This year, we’re proud to announce Greg Brown has been placed on the 2018 Journey Prize Longlist for his short stories ‘Bear’ (Pulp Literature Issue 14) and ‘Love’ (Pulp Literature Issue 16).
Greg Brown is a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. He is a recipient of UBC’s Roy Daniels Memorial Essay Prize and you can find his stories, criticism, and essays in Postscript, Paragon, The RS500, Lenses: Perspectives on Literature, and Tate Street.
The Journey Prize annually recognizes emerging writers for the best short story first published in a Canadian literary journal, and we’re eagerly awaiting the shortlist announcement, September 12th. Until then, enjoy these excerpts and get a taste of what the Journey Prize jury will pass judgement on in the next month.
We yawn our way through the ranger’s warning. “Sure sure,” Dilly says. “Got it,” I say. Later, Dilly’s disappeared and I’m staring into a tangle of tree branches and darkness. The stars in the night sky: glint of teeth.
We agreed as a family that the only thing to do was to bring Mom home for the next few months or weeks, whatever it would be. It’ll be hard, Dad said. But maybe it can be fine, too. Denisa was suspicious about the cost of it all — like the private nurse we’d have to pay for, where at the hospital it was free — although she didn’t put it like that, said that we’d be crazy to bring Mom into a place where there wasn’t any immediate care, because what if there was a problem like before, the thing with her stent that plugged up and caused some internal bleeding that almost wasn’t staunched in time?
She could’ve, Denisa said.
The oncologist had said October, and the late pale fog had come and now the sky was mostly dimmed and gone by suppertime …
Bob Thurber has released his final thoughts on this year’s Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize!
Runner up: ‘Day Three’ by Robert Runté
Winner: ‘The Angler’ by Nicholas Christian
On ‘The Angler’, Bob had this to say:
I adored this selection from the first read, and appreciated the narrative’s strong current and free-flowing authenticity on all subsequent readings.
The language of “The Angler” blisters like sunburn. The edges of this very short (under 600 words) story are prickly bright and they’ll leave blind spots on your eyes for days. Congratulations to the winner, and thank you for the enjoyable daze. Your story outshined a long, sunny list of finalists.
Double congratulations are due to Nicholas Christian for his recent marriage to the 2018 Magpie Award for Poetry winner, Kelli Allen!
You might recognize Bob Thurber from Issue 12 as our feature author, and as the returning judge for the 2018 Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize judge.
Bob was recently declared legally blind, but true to form, he hasn’t let that slow him down. “I have enough ‘tunnel vision’ to still work (read & write & edit) every day, using various magnifying tools and software, though my work sessions are shorter. More stories and more books are coming.”
A big thank you once again to everyone who participated in the 2018 Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize. If flash fiction drives you, set a reminder for the annual Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest, opening Jan. 1st, 2019.
Ten days and ten entries remain. We are pleased to release the Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize shortlist. Listed below are the authors whose stories will be considered, by flash-master Bob Thurber, in alphabetical order.
Amy Neufeld Jen Knox Kate Felix Kate Felix Liz Cox Liza Potvin Nicholas Christian Rob Taylor Robert Runté Ron. Lavalette
The list is shorter, and the stakes are higher. Best of luck to these ten flashes of fiction!
You remember Issues 1 and 14 feature author, CC Humphreys, don’t you? Allow us to refresh your memory … he’s the swashbuckling thespian and prolific author whose historical fiction and young adult novels have topped the charts.
Sound familiar? Well, longtime fans and newcomers alike, take note! CC Humphrey’s new historical fiction novel, Chasing the Wind, is now available through Amazon or the Penguin Random House website!
Set in 1936 during Hitler’s Olympics, Chasing the Wind tells the story of Roxy Loewen, a morally ambiguous pilot following the path of a rare painting across a politically turbulent Europe and North Africa.
Smuggler. Smoker. Aviatrix. Thief.
The dynamic Roxy Loewen is all these things and more, in this riveting and gorgeous historical fiction novel for readers of Paula McLain, Roberta Rich, Kate Morton and Jacqueline Winspear.
“The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.”
Thank you to Literary Titan, and congratulations to all the other incredible books Stella was listed with. We’re looking forward to slapping the Literary Titan Gold star on Stella’s cover!
Writers are you coming to the Creative Ink Festival in Burnaby on the May long weekend? If not, why not? This growing festival for writers and readers is the best bang for your buck in town! With three full days of workshops, panels, blue pencils, and readings, there is something to spark the most recalcitrant muse. Plus you get to hang out with amazing authors such as Kevin Hearne and CC Humphreys.
All three Pulp Lit editors will be there, along with our amazing Communications Director Jasmin Nyack who will take charge of the table. We are very busy with panels and presentations this year, but we’ll always make time to chat in between. Here are Mel’s, Jen’s, and Sue’s scheduled appearances:
1:00pm: Designing Character Backgrounds Brenda Carre (M), Chadwick Ginther, Kevin Hearne, JM Landels, Randy McCharles You have an idea for a character, now you have to figure out how to flesh out the character. Come listen to our panelists discuss how to do this.
1:00pm: Blue Pencils Rhonda Parrish/Susan Pieters /Sylvia Taylor (red)
2:00pm: Research C.C. (Chris) Humphreys (M), Eileen Kernaghan, Susan Pieters, S.G (Sandra) Wong Research isn’t just for non-fiction writers. Every piece of fiction, no matter the genre, will contain details which, if not accurate, will throw a reader out of a story. But how do writers do research? When do they start? When do they stop? How do they wade through the quagmire of overwhelming information and choose just the right pieces to weave into their stories?
4:00pm: Slush Pile Confidential with JM Landels Learn what goes on behind the scenes at a literary press. What is the slush pile, how does it work, how long should you wait for a response? Learn what catches an editor’s eye and what can turn them off your story, and, once it’s accepted, what steps it goes through to become a published work.
4:00pm: Find Your Writer’s Voice Adam Dreece (M), Kevin Hearne, Linda DeMeulemeester, Susan Pieters What does that even mean? How do you find it and when will you know if you have found it? How do you make it one that stands out from all the rest?
7:00pm: Blue Pencils S.G. (Sandra) Wong/JM Landels/Ellen Michelle
8:00pm – 10:00pm: Dealer Spectacular Meet and Greet
10:00am: Beyond Social Media JM Landels (M), Tod McCoy, Kristene Perron, Jonas Saul, Sylvia Taylor Creative Book Promotion goes beyond Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all of those social media resources. What can be done to promote yourself and your work in other areas of the internet or in person?
10:00am: Creating Tension Mel Anastasiou (M), Dwayne Clayden, Tyner Gillies, Lisa Voisin Top Agent Donald Maass says there should be tension on every page. How do we accomplish that? How do we get our readers hooked on the anticipation of what will happen next? How do we keep them invested in what happens to our characters? What happens in our world of the novel?
11:00am: Feeding Your Muse Mel Anastasiou (M), C.C. (Chris) Humphreys, Michele Fogal, Jim Jackson, KT Wagner The creative process can often be a tricky one, and it is easy to fall into ruts or hit a blank wall. Our panelists will discuss how to develop ideas, create compelling subject matter, and what do next when you find yourself stuck, not knowing what to do for your next piece of art, writing or other creative project.
12:00pm: Real Life Superwomen Lisa Gemino, Sandra Wickham, JM Landels and Kristene Perron What do you get when you put an MMA fighter, a pro fitness competitor, a mounted combat expert and a stuntwoman together on one panel? A rousing discussion about the realities of being a “strong woman” and how that compares with their portrayal in fiction. Join authors Lisa Gemino, Sandra Wickham, JM Landels, and Kristene Perron as they KAPOW the stereotypes and share the truth about the lives of superwomen.
1:00pm: Writing Fight Scenes Kristene Perron (M), Kevin Hearne, C.C. (Chris) Humphreys, Tyner Gillies, JM Landels, TG Shepherd Join panelists for tips on writing effective fight scenes. Learn what to include, what to avoid, how to make them fit your story and dispel some myths and fallacies about fighting. Battles may break out among panelists.
4:00pm: Pitches JM Landels – Pulp Literature
6:00pm: Storytelling on the Fly Krista Wallace (M), Adam Dreece, Manny Frishberg, JM Landels, Kristene Perron Writers know that nasty little editorial voice that wants to control every idea, every sentence, every word. Come and share some laughs with these writers as they send that nasty voice away kicking and screaming. With only a few prompts, they will create a story together, one sentence at a time. It WILL have a beginning, middle and an end. It WILL NOT make much sense. There WILL be mirth.
6:00pm: Red Pencils Sue Pieters/Rhonda Parrish/John Mavin
7:00pm: Live Action Slush–General Edition Manny Frishberg (M), Mel Anastasiou, Randy McCharles, Rhonda Parrish, Susan Pieters, Krista Wallace (Reader) Our panel of editors and publishers listen to anonymously read story openings and comment on why they would or would not wish to consider the complete work. Bring the 1st page of your manuscript (please leave your name off the page!) to be read aloud and receive comments from our panel of authors and editors. This event is both fun and educational — don’t miss it!
11:00am: Pulp Literature Presents CC Humphreys, JM Landels, Mel Anastasiou, Susan Pieters, Brenda Carre, Tyner Gillies, Kristene Perron, Krista Wallace. Join Pulp Literature editors and authors for a glimpse into what’s new at the press and enjoy readings from issues past, present … and future!
12:00: How To Finish What You Start Mel Anastasiou (M), Chloe Cocking, Jim Jackson, Randy McCharles, Jane Whittingham Whether you’re an artist, writer or crafting aficionado, everyone can have problems finishing what they started. Panelists share tips on the best ways to maintain your momentum and make it all the way to the end.
1:00pm: Publishers Panel Mel Anastasiou (M), JM Landels, Tod McCoy, Sylvia Taylor Publishers and editors discuss industry trends, their working relationship with authors and agents, the impact of ePublishing on their business, and audience questions.
3:00pm: Live Action Slush-YA and MG Randy McCharles (M), Susan Pieters, Sylvia Taylor, Krista Wallace (Reader) Our panel of editors and publishers listen to anonymously read story openings and comment on why they would or would not wish to consider the complete work. Bring the 1st page of your YA or MG manuscript (please leave your name off the page!) to be read aloud and receive comments from our panel of authors and editors. This event is both fun and educational — don’t miss it!
3:00pm: Red Pencils JM Landels/Tod McCoy/Jonas Saul
4:00pm: How to Create a Killer Opening Adam Dreece (M), Tyner Gillies, Dwayne Clayden, Sue Pieters We hear it over and over again. Your opening needs to GRAB people. How exactly do you do that? How do you get your first pages to jump out at editors, agents, publishers and readers?
Plus we will be presenting the results of the Festival’s first ever flash fiction contest. The winner will receive professional editing and publication in Pulp Literature.
Phew! And those are just our scheduled appearances. There are so many more wonderful writers, editors, and general gurus presenting this year that you’ll fill your creative cup to overflowing Plan to be there — you won’t regret it!