SmokeLong Quarterly

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Thank You to SmokeLong Fellow Kelly Pedro

June 25, 2024

First, thank you so much for all the work you’ve done during your fellowship. You’ve read nearly 500 submissions, which is a ton of words. What have you learned from reading the SmokeLong submissions queue?

So much! Having an opportunity to read the queue was a big part of why I applied to the fellowship. It’s so valuable to get that insight from the perspective of a reader and I learned so much thinking about why a piece worked or didn’t work and reading comments from the other editors about a flash. Often, I’d read a story and think something was missing and realize that same element was missing in a piece I was working on, so I think reading and giving feedback brings an awareness to our own work. Also, I think participating in the writing community you want to be part of is important, and volunteering as a reader is a great way to do that.

SmokeLong fellows commit to sending two drafts each month for feedback from our senior editors. Were you able to keep up with this pace? How has your writing life changed during the fellowship?

Yes, and I’m so grateful for this part of the fellowship. Getting feedback from senior editors is so valuable because sometimes I’d submit a piece for feedback and mention that I wasn’t sure about the ending (sigh, endings) and the editors would write, “Yes, you’re right it needs work… think about this or think about that” and it would fuel my revisions and help me clarify where a piece needed to go. Senior editors would also point out what was working in a piece so that really helped give me confidence and trust myself and my writing, which I really appreciate.

In terms of my writing life, I was writing nearly every day before the fellowship, but I think the fellowship has helped me realize that I can tackle writing from the perspective of play — playing with structure, playing with voice — and really to trust myself and my instincts for where a piece needs to go. Part of being a fellow is participating in SmokeLong Fitness and sometimes I would balk at a task at first and think, “I don’t have anything, what am I going to do?” Then, I would give myself permission to free write and play, explore and be brave, and a story always found its way to me. Lastly, I’ve also discovered the power of snacks to fuel my writing sessions: yay for smoothies!

What good things have happened to you as a writer since you began the fellowship?

I’ve been very fortunate to have some pieces published or accepted at places I love: Flash Frog, Fictive Dream, and Moon City Review. The first 100-word story I ever wrote will be published sometime soon in 100-Word Story. I’ve started working on a flash fiction collection and I’ve been given the opportunity to work on a really cool book project that will blend academic essays and research around green capitalism with speculative fictional stories (I’ll be writing the fictional stories, some of which will be flash) so I’m very excited about that as well.

Thank you for your enthusiastic engagement in SmokeLong Fitness during the fellowship. Your energy really benefitted the workshop. Can you share a bit about your time in SmokeLong Fitness?

The community of SmokeLong Fitness is amazing. I can’t stop talking about it! The other writers are wonderful and really want to help your work be its best. It’s motivating to see others publish work that started in SmokeLong Fitness and that you had given feedback for, and to also have a community celebrate and share work you’ve published. The feedback is incredible and has helped me finish pieces and send them out into the world.

Having regular writing tasks and knowing I have to upload a draft also kept me accountable. Writing isn’t always about being struck by inspiration, often it’s sitting at your desk and getting to work. Being part of SmokeLong Fitness and knowing others were expecting my draft and my feedback was a great motivator to keep writing. There are also so many other wonderful aspects of SmokeLong Fitness: the workshops are so instructive and helpful, and the book club had me reading like a writer.

As your fellowship nears its end, what are your plans?

I plan to continue participating in A SmokeLong Summer! It’s such a warm and encouraging community and I think community is so important when writing because it can be isolating to write alone. I was accepted into the MFA Creative Writing program at the University of Guelph and was fortunate enough to receive full funding, so I’ll be starting that in the fall, which I’m really looking forward to.


Kelly Pedro’s fiction has appeared in PRISM international,The New Quarterly, Cleaver, Archetype Literary, New Flash Fiction Review, and Bending Genres. Her work has been shortlisted for Room’s 2022 fiction contest and longlisted for the SmokeLong Workshop Prize. She’s finished a short story collection and is revising a novel. She lives in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada located on the Haldimand Tract within the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishnawbek, and Haudenosaunee peoples. Find her at kellypedro.ca. Twitter @KellyPAtLarge


Christopher Allen is the publisher of SmokeLong Quarterly. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Flash Fiction America, The Best Small Fictions, and in many other good places. He has judged the Bath Flash Fiction Award, The Bridport Prize, and other flash competitions. He’s been a teacher for yonks and is currently a nomad.



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SmokeLong Fitness--The Community Workshop

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Included in the price of SmokeLong Fitness:

The Community Workshop in small groups
One live Zoom webinar each month with killer workshop leaders (recorded for participants unable to attend).
One open-mic party each month (or other live Zoom events)
Discounts on intensive workshops
Discounts on senior editor feedback
Surprises (good ones)