SmokeLong Quarterly

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Letter from the Editor (80)

Story by Christopher Allen June 19, 2023

I have so much to tell you. Issue 80 has been the result of so much hard work. Over the last three months, our twenty-one submissions editors and our four Emerging Writer Fellows read 2738 submissions. They are tireless, thoughtful, and quick. Thank you. Our team of senior editors and our guest editor, Megan Pillow, have ultimately chosen 10 narratives this time, and I can’t wait for you to read them. Thank you also to the interviewers and Michael Czyzniejewski for coordinating the interviews. We’d also like to congratulate Mike for winning a Pushcart recently. We salute you, sir! Congratulations to all the SmokeLong contributors, former contributors, and editors who were listed on the wigleaf Top50 and longlist. We’re so happy for you all!

A word about the Issue 80 cover: I’ve spent most of my adult life in Germany where Pride is called Christopher Street Day. For the last 28 years I’ve called Pride “CSD” like every other German calls it. Until recently—because I’m generally unaware of all things USA—I had no idea it was called Pride. I prefer Christopher Street Day because of its specificity, because of its reference to what we’re actually remembering: the Stonewall protests and our right to be who we are without fear. As we “celebrate” Pride this year, I hope we’ll remember areas of the world where people are not free to be who they are. Tragically, we don’t have to look far to find these areas.

Issue 80 is a rollercoaster of emotion. I always resist the temptation to introduce these stories. They need to surprise you, and I really don’t think they need introduction. They are arresting—that’s the word—each standing out for what they do in the flash-narrative space. I hope you’ll spend some time with the interviews as well: they are always such an important companion to these stories.

A SmokeLong Summer 23 is in full swing. As I’m writing this, the participants of our superworkshop have exchanged over 300 drafts. The energy of the workshop is inspiring. The next date to jump in to A SmokeLong Summer is July 1. Please send us an email and discuss your options: editor@smokelong.com

We are so grateful to have worked with Erin Vachon, Fiona McKay, Daniel Garcia, and Oyinkansola Sofela, our first Emerging Writer Fellows of 2023. For six months, each of these talented writers received feedback on their work and free participation in SmokeLong workshops. Together they read over 1500 SmokeLong submissions, which is—as anyone who’s spent time reading for a literary journal can tell you—is the best learning experience ever. Our Emerging Writer Fellows for the second half of 2023 are—drumroll—Elissa Field, Dawn Tasaka Steffler, Sharon Lin, and Jenny Stalter. Read more about them HERE. We are excited to begin working with them on July 1! If you are interested in becoming a SmokeLong Quarterly Emerging Writer Fellow, check back in November when we’ll be considering applications for 2024.

OK, I’ve kept you long enough. I hope you find something compelling in the narratives comprising Issue 80. If you do, share it with someone. We are so lucky to share it with you.


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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