SmokeLong Quarterly

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Letter from the Editor (79)

Story by Christopher Allen March 20, 2023

I have so much to tell you. First, AWP-slash-SLQKaraokeFest was great fun. I’m always excited to meet our contributors, make new friends, and give away some cash to the winner of our book fair micro competition. This year Jacob Ahana-Laba won for his rhythmically wild romp of a micro. Watch out for this guy.

Before we get into everything that’s going on at SmokeLong, let’s stay with AWP for just a moment longer. It’s troubling to hear about possible legislation (not only) in Missouri that would further marginalize people in our community. We are watching the situation in Missouri closely. If the legislation passes, we sadly won’t be going to Kansas City.

But on to more pleasant matters. We’re 20! Dave Clapper founded SmokeLong in 2003, which means we’re either 20 or almost 21, but we’re not great with numbers. To celebrate, we’re doing A SmokeLong Summer again. It will be a summer of superworkshopping with three writing tasks each week, author readings, panels, open mics, competitions exclusively for participants of A SmokeLong Summer, and much more all summer long. We’ll also be publishing a special issue again with the best stories written in A SmokeLong Summer. You can sign up at a discounted rate until March 21. That’s tomorrow. If you sign up for SmokeLong Fitness by the first of any month before June 1, A SmokeLong Summer is included.

Meg Pillow, Nancy Au, and I are leading the April Intensive (April 3-30) on writing sex and intimacy in flash. If you’re following us on social media, you will have seen that we are offering this workshop at a discounted rate to people who email us and ask for it. So email us and ask for it: editor@smokelong.com . If you book the April Intensive, you can participate in A SmokeLong Summer for just $150.

But enough with the numbers. Issue 79 has been a gift to produce. The stories and the companion interviews in the issue wow us every time we read them. I’m amazed by how each narrative examines humanity from its own unique point of view. Each feels necessary. And of course each of the eight stories does something compelling with the form. I hope you’ll read each narrative a few times. Flash has a way of unfolding with multiple readings.

Thank you so much to our Issue 79 guest editor, Denne Michele Norris. We are so grateful for her insight and engagement. Thank you to the village of editors, interviewers, artists, and authors who gave so much of their time to make this issue happen.

Now, dig in. Eight narratives by eight stellar authors.


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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