SmokeLong Quarterly

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Letter from the Editor: Feasts Everywhere

Story by Christopher Allen March 22, 2021

I have so much to tell you. SmokeLong is a flourish right now: workshops upon workshops, SmokeLong Español, the Grand Micro Contest, our cooperation with Roshan Learning Center in Jakarta, Indonesia–and more, if you can believe it. And oh yes and wow, we have this devastating new issue to share with you, guest edited by Steve Edwards.

While I have your ears, please take a few minutes to learn about Roshan Learning Center. For the next six months some of our editors are leading a creative writing workshop for 15 young refugee women, many of whom were denied education in their home countries. We are thrilled to work with Roshan and thank Dr. Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai for introducing us to the organization and these talented young people. As we conduct this workshop, we will occasionally ask you to donate. Please bear with us. This is not about us; it’s about the futures of these young women and refugees who share similar histories.

In April, SmokeLong will begin considering flash narratives in Spanish. Untranslated. For writers who write in Spanish, for readers who read in Spanish. Our mission is to provide a quarterly paying market for these writers. María Alejandra Barrios is the editor of SmokeLong Español. Please help us get the word out.

We are deep into reading entries for the SmokeLong Grand Micro Contest (the Mikey). A few people have asked how we are reading entries. We are reading competition entries exactly like general submissions: the moment we’ve decided it’s not for SmokeLong, we respond with a rejection. If we’re holding on to the entry longer than 2 weeks, this is a great sign. Right now we are averaging 7 days on rejections.

We are busy planning our next 3- and 7-week workshops, so if you’d like to be on our mailing list to receive a heads-up, please contact us at editors@smokelong.com.

If you read our blog yesterday, you will have noticed that the creative writing class at Amsterdam University College is reading with our submissions editors this week. We have been working with creative writing classes for a few years now and would like to work with more. It’s tricky though. We need to work with instructors we know and trust, instructors who know their way around the flash narrative. If you are this person–we’ve already reached out to several of you–please drop us a line and we’ll fill you in.

And finally, what we’ve all been working towards the past few months: Issue seventy-one. In the end over 60 people have contributed to producing the issue. Our first readers–submissions editors and readers in residence–are so committed and so careful. Our discussions, as deserving submissions move up to the senior editors, are always an education for me. Interviewers from the wider flash community once again asked great questions that took us deeper into the narratives. Thank you also to Eleonore Weil, who painted the cover art. Thank you Michael Czyzniejewski, Paul Bilger, Shasta Grant, and Helen Rye for the coordination you all provide. We did it again!

And finally, thank you to the authors who have given us 13 narratives to read and read again. This is a feast filled with delights and surprises. We’re bursting to share these stories with you. Fiction, non-fiction, and everything in between.

See you on the Twitters and the Instas and the Zooms.


About the Author

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


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SmokeLong Fitness--The Community Workshop

Beginning September 1, 2022! Register Now!

Starting September 1, SmokeLong will launch a workshop environment/community christened SmokeLong Fitness. This asynchronous community workshop will happen on our dedicated workshop site. You will work in small groups of around 10 participants to give and receive feedback. Each Monday, you will receive a new writing task (one writing task each week) designed by the senior editor team of SmokeLong. The core workshop is asynchronous, so you can take part from anywhere at anytime. We are excited about creating a supportive, consistent and structured environment for flash writers to work on their craft.