The Meek Awards NEW at TFR

We’re a bit late in getting this news on the website, but we’re proud to announce that a new donor has made it possible for us to select one author or artist (or to split the award between two) in each of our publication categories each year. These writers and artists are some of those who come to us through general submissions rather than contests or other means. At The Florida Review, we recognize that writers deserve to be paid for their work, and, though it remains financially impossible for us to provide remuneration for every writer and artist, we are happy that now every writer who submits to The Florida Review and Aquifer has at least the possibility.

For the inaugural 2017 year, we selected the following writers and artists for this special recognition. They represent the kind of work we love to publish at The Florida Review and Aquifer–both personally moving and aware of the wider world.

  • Esteban Rodriguez (“Roadside,” 41.2) and Sherrie Fernandez-Williams (“the crossing,” Aquifer) for poetry
  • Laura Farnsworth (“Salvio: A Short Story,” Aquifer) for fiction
  • Re’Lynn Hansen (“The Han Gan,” 41.1) for nonfiction [also recipient of recognition as a Notable Essays in The Best American Essays 2018]
  • Aubrey Hirsch (“The Language of Trauma,” 41.1) for graphic narrative
  • Hannah Kaplan (“Dear Doctor,” Aquifer) for digital/electronic story
  • Jave Yoshimoto (“Meditation on the Purpose of Art Making,” Aquifer) for visual art

Congratulations to these and all of the other wonderful writers and artists we publish. In 2018, we will be adding a winner in the short film category as well, and look for that announcement sooner than November!

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MR Sheffield Publishes Debut Book

The Florida Review is thrilled to share that MR Sheffield, one of our authors, has just published her first poetry collection: Marvels. Sheffield’s fiction piece “The Geometry of Children” was a Jeanne Leiby Chapbook Contest finalist and featured in our print issue 37.1 from summer 2012. When asked about being published in The Florida Review, Sheffield said:

I was thrilled to be a part of such an esteemed publication. As a chapbook finalist, part of my prize was getting to attend the [Sanibel] writers’ conference. It was just a fabulous experience—it was the first time I felt like a writer. While I’ll probably never be completely rid of self-doubt, publishing my story helped me see that I might actually have something to say.

Since she had been published in The Florida Review, Sheffield noted a sense of legitimacy that was gained for her as a writer and outlined what she sees as the role of small literary magazines:

They are the rich earth wherein stories, poems, and essays can take root. They give emerging authors a place to grow from. Small literary magazines also shape contemporary literature. We can see where trends are going through what pops up in these publications.

As far as whether her life has changed as a writer now with the release of Marvels, Sheffield said:

Again, I’ve had this fleeting sense of legitimacy. I actually do love this little book. It’s weird and complicated and in some ways it’s indistinguishable from me. I love that it will exist outside of me. My dad passed away last year, and this book feels like another scattering of his ashes.

Marvels can be pre-ordered from Sundress Publications here.

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2018 Pushcart Nominations

Please join us in celebrating the following writers and their work, which we’ve nominated for the Pushcart Prize this year. It’s always hard to choose from all the excellent work we are honored to publish, but these stood out to us for their fresh insights into the current social moment in which we live.

  • Renée Branum, “Bolt” (42.1, winner of our 2016 Editors’ Award in Nonfiction)
  • Natalie Disney, “Blind Field” (42.1, fiction)
  • Tony Hoagland, “Feeling Generous” (42.1, poetry)
  • Brian Kearney, “American Jumble 2” (42.2, graphic narrative)
  • Raven Leilani, “The Void Witch” (Aquifer, fiction)
  • Robert Wrigley, “Horses” (42.1, poetry)
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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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Aquifer Now Accepting Film Submissions!

As Aquifer continues to expand its offerings into visual arts and new media, we are excited to announce a new call for submissions of film and video work!

We are looking for experimental works of film or video that are 15 minutes or less and utilize moving images as a means to poetic expression, formal exploration, or abstract and open-ended narratives. Compelling, personal works that push the boundaries of cinematic convention will also be considered for publication.

We recommend entries be works that have completed any intended festival screenings and do not have plans for future distribution, as they will be hosted on the Aquifer site and YouTube channel long term. Submit film or video works as Vimeo or YouTube links and include any passwords required for viewing. There are no requirements for year of completion or premiere status.

For more information please review the General Submissions guidelinesWhen ready, submit your film through our Submittable page for Short Film/Video.

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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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