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Letter from the (Managing) Editor— “Like a deluge”

Story by Christopher Allen December 18, 2017

There’s so much to tell you–like a deluge, and maybe that’s fitting. For starters, after months of deliberation we narrowed the Kathy Fish Fellowship field down to 10 incredibly gifted finalists and the winner of the 2018 fellowship. Congratulations to everyone, and thank you to all the writers who sent in applications. We are excited to offer this fellowship again and so grateful to those who’ve made it possible. Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to Allison Pinkerton, the 2017 Kathy Fish Fellow. She’s been great to work with, and we look forward to working further with her in 2018. Allison will be staying on as associate co-editor of the SmokeLong blog in 2018!

As this troubling year comes to a close, we’re thinking of ways to make 2018 a better place–at least for flash fiction. One of these is a blog series focusing on how teachers use flash fiction in the classroom. If you teach flash fiction, we’d love to know more about your experience, what stories you teach, how and why. This is not specific to SmokeLong Quarterly, so please do not feel you have to mention SmokeLong stories. You can submit your post through the Blog/Essay category on our Submittable submission page. We’ll be kicking the series off with an interview conducted by members of Huan Hsu’s creative writing course with R. Cross, the author of “Fruit Fly Infestation” (chosen for issue 58 by Huan’s class).

Next year will also be SmokeLong‘s 15th birthyear, so of course we have big party plans. We’re gonna raid our parents’ liquor cabinet and play spin-the-bottle until we vomit all over the den. Or maybe not. We’ll definitely be at AWP (which is not far from what I just described actually), so make sure you stop by our table and wish us a happy b-year. Even if you’re not planning to spend your life savings to attend AWP, you’ll have lots of chances to wish us well. We’ll be celebrating all year, starting with our inaugural flash fiction competition. After a decade and a half we’ve decided it’s time we sponsored a contest–so start sharpening those pencils, licking those pens, excavating those “works in progress” folders.  Watch our blog, Facebook page, and Twitter for announcements about this submission period. There will be no theme. Just send us the stories you love.

But back to 2017 and issue 58. Maybe it was all the hurricanes or just a general feeling of drowning in awfulness, but we read hundreds of stories this year about sinking, flooding, and being engulfed in this or that. And a few of these stories have made their way into issue 58. I’m happy to say, though, that our last issue of 2017 is also one of the most eclectic constellations of stories I’ve read since I’ve been at SmokeLong. And this issue includes 11 new stories, two of which we nominated for the Pushcart and/or The Best Small Fictions. If you missed our nominations, have a look. I’m also thrilled that two stories in this issue are the writers’ first publications. It’s always an honor to be a writer’s first.

What’s more, issue 58 includes our first story in Hebrew: “Warm Milk/חלב חם” by Lea Klibanoff – Ron, edited and translated by Ilana Masad. First? Yes, that’s right. Ilana loved two stories, so we’ll be featuring a second story in Hebrew in issue 59 as part of our Global Flash Series. If this is news to you, have a look at our Global Flash Series page. We are always open to stories in French and German. Swahili submissions will re-open in February.

And finally, with the help of our issue-58 contributors, Meghan Phillips has compiled a playlist to capture the mood of the issue in music. We hope you enjoy it as you read our farewell to 2017. Here’s to you, 2018. We’re staring you down like that bull on the cover of issue 58.

Christopher Allen
Managing Editor
SmokeLong Quarterly

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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