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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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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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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