Hispanic Heritage Month in Aquifer

This fall, The Florida Review and Aquifer: TFR Online celebrate Latinx / Latina / Latino writers. Starting September 15, and running through October 15, we will be featuring numerous Latinx authors in Aquifer, and later this fall we will include a special section in 42.2 of the print Florida Review as well.

Starting with issue 40.2, we have focused a special section of each fall print Florida Review on an issue of social relevance. After the Pulse tragedy in 2016, many literary magazines and other media outlets focused attention on the issue, and we felt that we needed to offer a closer-to-home perspective to that national dialog. We featured six pieces of writing dedicated to the impact of the event.

After that special feature, we had the opportunity to interview distinguished author Ana Castillo about her book Black Dove, a memoir partly about her son being incarcerated for theft. Between Castillo’s work, a plenitude of submissions from prisoners and former prisoners across the country, and submissions by family and friends of prisoners, a themed section for Fall 2017 (41.2) emerged. The number of people being incarcerated in the US is an important social issue, and we were able to highlight it in seven writers’ moving literary responses.

This year, in Aquifer‘s second year, we decided to connect online and print themes and to continue to raise awareness of social issues. At The Florida Review and Aquifer, we are acutely aware of the VIDA count, which documents discrimination against women in the publishing world and sometimes also focuses on writers of color. At The Florida Review and Aquifer, we are dedicated to being part of the solution to gender and racial inequity.

Nicole Oquendo, special Latinx feature editor, notes, “As editors, we have a responsibility to make time to highlight a diverse range of voices.” As our former creative nonfiction editor, Nicole agreed to come back and help put together this celebration of Latinx authors, especially early and mid-career writers who deserve more recognition.

“There is so much exciting new work going on, and Latinx writers are adding to both the Florida and the national literary scene,” comments editor-in-chief Lisa Roney.

This is the fiftieth anniversary of Hispanic Heritage Month, and we are thrilled that this will be our first Aquifer special feature. Between the Aquifer feature this month and the authors included in 42.2 later this fall, we will have the privilege of sharing the work of more than forty Latinx / Latina/ Latino writers and several artists.

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Michael Chin Wins Leiby Chapbook Contest

The Florida Review is pleased to announce the winner of the 2017-2018 Jeanne Leiby Memorial Chapbook Award: Michael Chin, for his collection of flash fiction Autopsy and Everything After, which will be published early in 2019. As noted by final contest judge Juan Martinez:

There is so much pathos and beauty and good humor in these pieces. I loved spending time with these people, how they surprised me, how much I learned about the itinerant wrestling world and how that world contains all of ours—our dead fathers, our lost exes, our fears and hopes.

Michael Chin is an alumnus of the Oregon State University MFA program. He has previously published two hybrid chapbooks, Distance Traveled with Bent Window Books and The Leo Burke Finish with Gimmick Press, and is a contributing editor for Moss.

In addition, we would like to recognize two finalists whose work we hope to excerpt in The Florida Review next spring: Ahsa Dore for Disfigure Studies and Ethel Smith for We Ready.

As Martinez noted about these two submissions:

Disfigure Studies is a powerful and intricately constructed creative nonfiction piece that conjures resonances between art, violation, trauma, disability, and beauty. And The X-Men. The work never fails to surprise, even as it builds to an insightful meditation on gender.

The main threads in We Ready are the necessary ones of race in Alabama and the ways in which family and community can uplift us. But this collection of flash nonfiction pieces also skillfully explores the many valences of education: how it is needed, how it can be rewarding, and how its trajectory shifts. In addition, it’s a joy to spend time with some truly memorable people in these pages—Miss Pearl, the Prell sisters, and the undergrads popping up in the writer’s office.

We thank all of the many wonderful writers who submitted work last year and who made our decisions so difficult. This year’s contest is now open, and we hope to hear from many of you and many more writers again in support of the publication of prose and graphic narrative work of a certain length that doesn’t fit either bite-size or big-book size.

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Congratulations to Our 2018 Editors’ Awards Winners!

We’re proud to announce the 2018 Editors’ Awards. We continue to be astonished by the work of the many fine writers who submit. This year’s winners and finalists are:

Poetry Winner
Amanda Hawkins, “/in the year of salt & death/” and “Through High Desert to the Path of Totality”

Poetry Finalists
Lillo Way, “Appropriation”
Dylan Weir, “Bottle Rocket”

Fiction Winner
Mi-Kyung Shin, “Mouth-Matching”

Fiction Finalists
Pankaj Challa, “The Bridge”
Corey Flintoff, “Rope Dancers”

Nonfiction Winner
Katy Shay, “Coleoptera”

Nonfiction Finalists
Megan Baxter, “Hunger”
Richard Froude, “Some Trees”

In addition, we had ten semi-finalists, some of whom we will also be publishing. We hope to post a profile on each winner and finalist here and in social media as the months progress to next spring’s publication. Congratulations to these fine writers and all of those who submitted. We hope you will keep continuing to write and submit and support small literary magazines’ existence. Next year’s contest will open in January.

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Dana Roeser Wins Wilder Prize

Combining mea culpa and congratulations, we would like to acknowledge that we did not include Dana Roeser’s full contributor’s note in 42.1. Our apologies, but this allows us to celebrate here her latest accomplishment in winning the Wilder Prize. Dana was a finalist for our 2016 Editors’ Award in Poetry with her magnificent “Late July.”

Dana Roeser’s fourth book, All Transparent Things Need Thundershirts, won the Wilder Prize at Two Sylvias Press and will be published in Spring 2019. She is also the author of The Theme of Tonight’s Party Has Been Changed, recipient of the Juniper Prize, as well as Beautiful Motion and In the Truth Room, both winners of the Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize.  Recent poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Crazyhorse, Poetry, Diode, Cimarron Review, and Seneca Review.  She is the recipient of a 2018 Pushcart Prize. She recently contributed a book review of Elizabeth Powell’s Willy Loman’s Reckless Daughter to Aquifer: The Florida Review Online.

Purchase your copy of 42.1 here.

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Aquifer Is Firecracker Award Finalist!

We’re pleased to announce that Aquifer: The Florida Review Online has been named a finalist in the Best Debut Magazine category of the Firecracker Awards. These awards are sponsored each year by the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) to support and celebrate independent publishing. Thanks to CLMP and judges for recognizing our work. And thanks to all of our authors and editors who have contributed so much great work over Aquifer‘s first fifteen months!

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2017 Editors’ Awards Are Here!

Before Hurricane Irma descends, we’d like to announce the winners of the 2017 Editors’ Awards. Thanks to the many fine writers who submitted their work and made our choices oh, so difficult. This year’s winners and finalists are:

Poetry Winner
Allison Adair, “City Life” and “Hitching”

Poetry Finalists
Dana Roeser, “Late July”
Rebecca Morgan Frank, “Gerbert of Aurillac and the Magic Eightball”

Fiction Winner
Eliza Robertson, “Louise McKinney Correctional Center for Women”

Fiction Finalists
Mike Alberti, “Two Floods”
Lenore Hart, “Thirteen Ways of Living with a Wolf”

Nonfiction Winner
Renee Branum, “Bolt”

We hope to publish a profile on each winner and finalist here and in social media as the months progress to next spring’s publication. Congratulations to these fine writers. Next year’s contest will open in January.

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Aquifer Open for Submissions

After our first few months of establishing the tone and caliber of Aquifer, we are now happy to open to general submissions. We are seeking top-quality digital stories, graphic narrative, creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. Take a look at what we’ve been publishing, and see our Submit pages, starting with General Guidelines. Please note that, while our print-magazine submissions will remain open year-round, our Aquifer submissions will be open on an intermittent basis, depending on how many submissions we receive. Don’t worry–we’ll have at least two substantial reading periods every year. We look forward to seeing and reading your work!

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Julie Lekstrom Himes’ First Novel

Florida Review author Julie Lekstrom Himes’ first novel, Mikhail and Margarita, is one of twenty-two books on the long list for the 2017 First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction. She won The Florida Review Editors’ Award for Fiction in 2008, and her story “Packing Boxes” was published in 33.2. Mikhail and Margarita, published by Europa Editions, chronicles a love triangle set against the backdrop of Stalinist Russia.

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Pulse Remembrance

This week, we are waiting for a new issue of The Florida Review to be printed. We are also reliving the horrible day last June when we woke up to news of the Pulse shooting here in Orlando, made all the more acute by another act of senseless and murderous violence in our city yesterday. Although the reaction to Pulse from the literary community arose immediately last year, and poems and essays flooded online publications one after another from across the country, it took us here in Orlando a while to recover enough to write a word about it. In fact, we are still recovering, and we will never recover.

We appreciated the outpouring of support, but felt that our proximity demanded a response, and we decided to publish five pieces in our fall issue related to the Pulse shooting. They have been a source of healing  and comfort for the authors who wrote them, for our editorial staff, and for many of our readers. This week, in remembrance of those who lost their lives that day last June, UCF is holding a day of remembrance on campus June 8, and we would like to share these five pieces more widely on Aquifer, one each day from June 6-10. On June 11 and 12, we will be silent, holding our breaths, listening to the whispers of souls.

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