SmokeLong Quarterly

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Letter from the Editor (73)

Story by Christopher Allen September 27, 2021

I have so much to tell you. Thank you, first of all, to those of you who have already donated to the Roshan Learning Center in Jakarta Indonesia. Over the next couple of weeks we will be sharing work from the workshops we’ve run with the young refugee women at Roshan. If you’d like to help out, you can donate through our donation button (at the bottom of every SmokeLong story). Of course it’s also possible to donate to Roshan directly.

We have grand plans for 2022 and super-grand plans for 2023, our 20-year anniversary. In 2022 we’ll be hosting A SmokeLong Summer: 12 weeks of workshops, readings, parties, competitions, and more. To receive advance information about these grand happenings, send us an email and we’ll make sure you’re on our workshop mailing list (editors@smokelong.com). In 2023 we are going to celebrate the history of SmokeLong and give away some money along the way. What a journey this has been. I’ve been fortunate enough to have shared the last 8 years with this team. We’ve accomplished so much already, but we plan to do much more.

Two things I’m really thrilled about are the first two issues of SmokeLong en Español. We noticed a couple of years ago that literary journals providing income for writers who write in English far outnumber literary journals in Spanish (and any other language actually), so together with our editor for Spanish, Maria Alejandra Barrios, we have committed ourselves to creating a paying market in Spanish. If you write or read in Spanish, we hope you’ll follow our new Twitter account @SLQEspanol. It’s a baby.

At the moment, we are up to our ears in our Comedy Prize entries. Everyone needs a good laugh these days. If you write humor, please consider submitting your work to this competition. The reduced-price entry option ends October 31. The competition deadline is November 15.

Issue 73. Content warning: wow. At the heart of this issue is of course 10 stories that knocked us flat. Each of these stories is a unique example of what the flash writer can do. As always, we publish stories we love regardless of theme or genre. We have no particular expectations apart from exciting prose at the sentence level, and that’s why sometimes we end up with lots of devastating stories in one issue. If it’s great writing, we are going to publish it. I’m so fortunate to have read each narrative in issue 73 a dozen times. They all expand with each reading, and isn’t that what great flash does?

So many people helped to make this issue happen. Our submissions editors and readers in residence–20 talented and dedicated writer/editors–each read 150-200 submissions (nearly 3000 submissions in total). Our senior editors and our quarterly guest editor, Jasmine Sawers, spent hours discussing edits. I’m always impressed and so grateful for the care these editors give the work they read. Our interviews editor, Michael Czyzniejewski, and interviewers have once again given us the gift of a peek into the mechanics of these 10 stunning stories. Thank you also to Paul Bilger, who has created the perfect, haunting mood with cover art by 美撒郭 (Mei Sa Guo).

I hope these stories inspire and challenge you.

And I hope you’re well,


About the Author

Christopher Allen is the author of the flash fiction collection Other Household Toxins (Matter Press, 2018). His work has appeared in Flash Fiction America (Norton, 2023), The Best Small Fictions 2019 and 2022, Split Lip, Booth, PANK, and Indiana Review, among other very nice places. Allen has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of SmokeLong Quarterly since January 2020 and was the 2023 judge of the Bridport Prize for flash fiction. He and his husband are nomads.


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