Posts Tagged ‘fiction’

The 7th Robert and Adele Schiff Fiction Festival Begins!

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

Here at the University of Cincinnati it’s time for one of our favorite traditions: the biennial Robert and Adele Schiff Fiction Festival! Four wonderful emerging writers—Catherine Lacey, Elizabeth McKenzie, Antonio Ruiz-Camacho, and Jung Yun—are coming to the UC campus this week to read and discuss their work. We hope to see you there:

Fiction Reading: Catherine Lacey & Jung Yun

April 5, 2017; 7:00 p.m.
►Tangeman University Center 400C

Panel: “The Engines of Fiction,” moderated by Kelly Kiehl and Jessica Masterton

This panel will focus on the propulsive elements of narrative, in both the short story and the novel. The most obvious topics include plot, event, structure, and suspense, but panelists might also discuss other elements such character, language, tone, form, and atmosphere.

April 6, 2017; 11:00 a.m. – noon
►Tangeman University Center 400A

Fiction Reading: Elizabeth McKenzie & Antonio Ruiz-Camacho

April 6, 2017; 7:00 p.m.
►Tangeman University Center 400A

Panel: “The Writer as Reader,” moderated by Julialicia Case and Molly Reid

This panel will focus on issues such as influences, literature old and new, the landscape of contemporary literature, and books our panelists love and would recommend.

April 7, 2017; 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
►Location TUC 417ABC

Author bios:

Photo by Willy Somma

Catherine Lacey is the author of Nobody Is Ever Missing, a winner of a 2016 Whiting Award and a finalist for the NYPL’s Young Lions Fiction Award. It has been translated or is forthcoming in French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, and German. She is currently the 2016 Kittredge Visiting Writer at the University of Montana and has won fellowships and awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Omi International Arts Center, Late Night Library, and Columbia University.  Her second novel, The Answers, is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus & Giroux and abroad in June 2017. Her first short story collection, Small Differences, will follow. She was born in Mississippi and is based in Chicago.



Elizabeth McKenzie is the author of The Portable Veblen, published by Penguin Press and 4th Estate. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and the Pushcart Prize Anthology, and has been recorded for NPR’s Selected Shorts. Her collection, Stop That Girl, was short-listed for The Story Prize, and her novel MacGregor Tells the World was a Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle and Library Journal Best Book of the year. She is the senior editor of the Chicago Quarterly Review and the managing editor of Catamaran Literary Reader.


Antonio Ruiz-Camacho’s debut collection Barefoot Dogs (Scribner) won the Texas Institute of Letters’ Jones Award for Best Work of Fiction. Barefoot Dogs was also a Fiction Finalist for the Writers’ League of Texas Book Awards, a Kirkus Reviews, San Francisco ChronicleTexas Observer and PRI’s The World Best/Recommended Book in 2015, and was published in Spanish translation by himself as Los perros descalzos (Vintage Español). His work has appeared in The New York TimesSalonTexas Monthly, and elsewhere. Born and raised in Toluca, Mexico, he moved to the US at the age of 31 and began to write in English at 35. He earned his M.F.A. from UT Austin’s New Writers Project, has been an Elisabet Ney Museum writer-in-residence, and a fellow at the JSK Journalism Program at Stanford, the Dobie Paisano Program, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and Yaddo.


Photo by Stephanie Craig

Jung Yun is the author of Shelter, published by Picador in March of 2016. Her work has appeared in Tin House (the “Emerging Voices” issue); The Best of Tin House: Stories; The Massachusetts Review; and The Atlantic Monthly. She is the recipient of two Artist Fellowships in fiction from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and an honorable mention for the Pushcart Prize. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of English at the George Washington University.

Submission Period Closing Soon!!! Special Call for Nonfiction

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Just a quick reminder that our Submission Period will close on March 15th (at 11:59pm, EST – to be technical).

Due to trends discussed recently by our esteemed Senior Associate Editor Matt O’Keefe, we especially welcome literary nonfiction submissions. So if you’ve got a lyric essay, travel narrative about your last trip to Mongolia, flash-style memoir, personal essay told via bullet points, or nonfiction hybrid form, send it our way; we’d love to see it!

Poets and fiction writers, we’d love to see your work too–just don’t miss the deadline . . .

Find your way to your Submission Manager here.


A Sabermetric Note from Your Submission Manager Manager

Friday, March 3rd, 2017


As we ease into March (and Spring Training), we find ourselves in the final stretch of our reading period, which ends March 15th. Here’s Senior Associate Editor Matt O’Keefe offering up some play-by-play on submissions patterns he’s noticed over the years.

Matt O’Keefe: Six to three to one. What is that? A somewhat decisive community council vote? One of your rarer and more exciting double plays (shortstop to first base to pitcher)? The outcome of consecutive games of HORSE (or a single game of HORSEHORSE) between three players, one of whom is significantly better/luckier than the others? Sure, could be. But at The Cincinnati Review, and maybe lit mags the world over [It would be interesting to know–Ed.], it is also a ratio that persists with the force of natural law: for every ten submissions we get, six are fiction, three are poetry, and one is nonfiction.

Of course, like nearly everything one says or writes, this is not literally true. Sometimes in my Submission Manager queue I see things like twelve stories in a row, or combinations that go fiction-poetry-fiction-poetry-nonfiction-nonfiction-fiction-poetry-poetry-fiction, and there was that one day when the next five submissions were all nonfiction, and I just had to get up from my chair, smiling inwardly, and walk around a little. But over time, and usually not much time, a couple weeks at most, nature reasserts itself and leaves us with that classic 6-3-1 distribution. I guess it’s just the frequency with which you guys write the stuff [It would be interesting to know–Ed.]!

Be sure to get your submissions in by March 15th!

More Pushcart Nominations!!!

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

2016_cover_bigWe both love and hate nominating pieces for the Pushcart Prize. With our allotment of a mere six selections, there are so many excellent stories and poems that we must leave unheralded. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce more Pushcart Prize nominations, this time stemming from the Pushcart contributing editors’ choices. They’ve nominated six more additional pieces from our recent issues: two poems and four stories.

from issue 12.2 (Winter 2016)
fiction: Wendy Rawlings, “Restraint” & Josh Russell, “Our Boys”

from issue 13.1 (Summer 2016)
poetry: Andrea Cohen “Happiness” & “Tip”
fiction: Robert Long Foreman, “Awe” & Steven Sherrill “excerpt from The Minotaur Takes His Own Sweet Time

Congrats to these worthy writers, and thanks to the editors for nominating these marvelous pieces!

Pushcart Nominations

Monday, November 28th, 2016

2016_cover_bigWe here at The Cincinnati Review are pleased to announce our Pushcart Prize nominations. As always, it was difficult narrowing to just six pieces from the wonderful work in our 2016 issues. We continue to be impressed by the high quality of submissions, and feel honored for the opportunity to publish your work. Congratulations to the nominees!

Literary Nonfiction

Steven Wineman, “Erving and Alice and Sky and Elisabeth”


Susann Cokal, “Fourteen Shakes the Baby”

Leslie Entsminger, “The Brief Second Life of Winston Whithers’s Wife”


Cindy Beebe, “Make No Bones about It”

Dan Bellm, “Fragrance

MRB Chelko, “Snow Be”

Announcing ACRE Books

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016


We’re excited to announce that The Cincinnati Review, in fall 2016, will expand by growing a new limb—specifically a book-publishing arm, which will offer, in our usual fine-fingered fashion, works of lit in both traditional and electronic formats. Known as ACRE Books, our small press will begin by bringing out at least one poetry collection and one book of fiction in spring 2017. We hope to double that number—and add works of literary nonfiction—the following year. We’re especially excited to have as our poetry series editor the amazing Danielle Cadena Deulen, author of (in creative nonfiction) The Riots and (in poetry) Lovely Asunder and Our Emotions Get Carried Away Beyond Us, the latter just out from Barrow Street.

Why ACRE? Because we’re ready to claim some territory. Not a huge tract, but a nice wide expanse we can plow and seed. A patch we can plant up with a scad of growing things. Look for more details in months to come. We hope to start considering manuscripts this August!

Emerging Fiction Festival Begins Today!

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Robocop-robocop-31038763-1024-768The Department of English & Comparative Literature at University of Cincinnati will host its sixth biennial Emerging Fiction Writers Festival, featuring former CR contributors and crime-fighters Dean Bakopoulos and Alissa Nutting, as well as corruption-crushing magnificoes Ed Park and Nelly Reifler. Read on for a full schedule of events, including a seminar concerning tricks and tips on nuclear disarmament.

For the sake of our country—Nay, our world!—we hope to see you there.

Fiction Reading: Dean Bakopoulos & Nelly Reifler
►March 11, 2015; 7:00 pm
►McMicken 127

Panel Discussion: “The Engines of Fiction” (moderated by Gwen Kirby and Dario Sulzman)
This panel will focus on the propulsive elements of narrative, in both the short story and the novel. The most obvious topics include plot, event, structure, and suspense, but panelists might also discuss elements such character, language, tone, form, and atmosphere.
►March 12, 2015; 11:00 am
►Tangeman University Center, Room 400B

Fiction Reading: Alissa Nutting & Ed Park
►March 12, 2015; 7:00 pm
►McMicken 127

Panel Discussion: “Realism and Fabulism” (moderated by Dan Paul and Brenda Peynado)
This panel will address issues and implications of various modes of representation in both the story and the novel. Possible topics for discussion include premise, genre, logic, world-building, credibility, authority, and the utility of a central distinction between realist and non-realist fiction.
►March 13, 2015; 10:00 am
►Tangeman University Center, Room 400B

Participant Bios:

1416512843977Dean Bakopoulos is the author of the novels Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon and My American Unhappiness, both published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. His new novel, Summerlong, will be published by Ecco/HarperCollins in June 2015. The winner of NEA and Guggenheim fellowships, he is writer-in-residence at Grinnell College and teaches in the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.



1416510096131Alissa Nutting is the author of the novel Tampa and the short story collection Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls. Her fiction has appeared in publications such as The Norton Introduction to Literature, Tin House, Bomb, and Conduit; her essays have appeared in Fence, The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, and other venues. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at John Carroll University.



1422553952502Ed Park is the author of the novel Personal Days, which was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award and other honors, and was named one of the top ten fiction books of the year by Time. He was a founding editor of The Believer, the editor of The Voice Literary Supplement, and an editor at The Poetry Foundation and Little A. From 2008 to 2011, he taught in Columbia’s M.F.A. program. He is currently executive editor at Penguin Press. His next two books, the novel Same Bed, Different Dreams and the story collection An Oral History of Atlantis, are forthcoming from Random House.


1422553933144Nelly Reifler is the author of the story collection See Through and the novel Elect H. Mouse State Judge. Her work has been published most recently in Story, Tweed’s, The Atlas Review, The Weeklings, and Lucky Peach, among others, and has been aired on NPR’s Selected Shorts. She currently teaches in the M.F.A. programs at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia. She was the Writer-in-Residence at Western Michigan University in 2014, and she has been an editor at Post Road since 2008.

Why We Like It: “Vogelsong” by Leslie Parry

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

A self-proclaimed tech-geek and amateur dog-trainer, new volunteer and first-year PhD student in fiction Brenda Peynado has a talent for incorporating her disparate interests into conversations at the CR office. A discussion about the midterm elections or streamlining our contact database can lead Brenda into an analysis of the male catcall in the Dominican Republic or a consideration of myth and realism in the novels of Isabel Allende. It’s this interest in the multifariousness of human consciousness, Brenda tells us, that attracts her to Leslie Parry’s haunting story “Vogelsong” (11.1)—the idea that a single person contains multitudes, and that the many can speak as one. Read on to discover why Parry’s story continues to fascinate and even disquiet us so many months after we first encountered it.

Brenda Peynado: I’ve always loved the first-person plural. I love that it can propel the reader into dizzying relationships quickly, and then show how a whole group is haunted, how a whole group falls apart. “Vogelsong” is a beautiful example. Like a ghost story, the collective memory of the day a busload of blind schoolchildren came to the eponymous Florida attraction still lingers desperately in the staff’s imagination, spoiling the sanctuary they’d tried to build there. In turn, the collective character’s nostalgia of what they cannot keep forever chills the reader.

Nothing about “Vogelsong” is typical. The cast includes a harmonica-playing elephant, an ex-beauty queen with her face disfigured, the German immigrants who own the retreat, orphans, and a drunk performance-diver. The setting, exquisitely rendered, exploits surreal elements of the Florida landscape: a discarded fountain of youth, old walls of a slave plantation that advertise death tallies, alligators and canoes, and “a breeze carrying the smell of molasses and rust up the river.”

Parry’s offering will stay with you long after you put it down, haunting you the way only the best ghost story can. Except here, the ghosts are the exquisite moments of your own life that slip away, whole days that disintegrate, until all that is left is the recollection of how “the wheezy hee-haw music would follow us as we rounded the fountain, as two otters splashed away and darted to the shore, and just as we turned east, the sun would flame to life behind a black whoosh of birds, and then we’d think, Oh.”

“Before I Offer Myself to the Birdmen”: Why We Like It

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Once a day or so, at least one of us here in the office will suddenly jerk awake, lift her head off her desk and—with a long string of drool still attached to a submitted manuscript—speak a line or two from a story or poem before clunking her head back to the desk again. Then the rest of us will carefully slide the manuscript out from under our sleeping coworker’s face, clean the story or poem of drool, and read it. Because we know that good literature haunts your dreams. It’s a perk of the job.

However,  we were perplexed when our friend Tessa  sleepwalked to our office in the middle of the night during a winter storm, woke us up by throwing open the door and—the whole time gesticulating with a blow-dryer —shouted, “Feed us your softest child!” Then she tightened her robe, took all of our extension cords, and shuffled back out into the storm. In the morning, we looked out our window onto the white quad below and saw that the following message had been blow-dried into the fresh snow.

Tessa Mellas: A habitual multi-tasker, I started Alexander Lumans’s story “Before I Offer Myself to the Birdmen” while blow-drying my hair. When my hair was done, I was completely engrossed by its kick-ass premise, tight sparse prose, and mad creativity—and rather than bookmarking the story with toilet paper (my usual tactic), “Birdmen” followed me to the bedroom, where I huddled under the covers, finished the story, and slid into sleep thinking about hybrid human/bird creatures with bloodshot eyes flying into my garden, demanding, “Feed us your softest child,” then dropping my progeny onto the top of a battlement made of babies, designed to protect the birdmen flock in their birdmen swamp. I hear that fabulist horror is good for REM sleep.

I woke up still wondering about the story, thinking about storks and the way they function as a euphemism for the horror of birth, thinking about how the stork is the adult version of Santa—a benign, generous creature that delivers exactly what humans most want, a magical entity that serves people—and how Lumans’s birdmen are the opposite of that.

I also thought about the millions of birds that break their heads on our windows, get covered in our gulf-spilled oil, and electrocute themselves on our wires. So then I thought, well, maybe people deserve for their babies to be taken away by birdmen. Look what we do to the birds. But then I remembered that the birdmen were part human, and that seemed to mean something else.

So I wondered why the birdmen built their wall out of babies. Why was this the ultimate defense? Was it a statement about innocence and experience? Power and helplessness? Avarice and value? And what about the townspeople’s behavior—handing over their children to the Birdman Defense Fund? Why nurture a baby only to give it up to die? The cogs and wheels in my head jammed up. The appropriate theoretical algorithm yielded no neat, tidy results. And as in all magical realism worth its weight in babies, this story was doing what it’s supposed to do—tossing out something strange in order to problematize our responses. I love this story for gumming up my insides and monopolizing my attention for a week. Well, maybe more than a week since I am thinking and writing about it still. And I imagine that all my life a wall made out of babies and the image of birdmen with children in their beaks will revisit me for a fun reunion. How many stories can say that?

“McGrady’s Sweetheart”: Why We Like It

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Blogophiles (whom we dub, during the time you’re reading our blog, as CRogophiles): get ready for installment seven of “Why We Like It,” weekly (sort of) segments that expose the pulsating hearts of poetry and prose in our pages like coronary bypass surgery—only what we do is less gross and sounds more mellifluous. This week we have a piece on Rachel B. Glaser’s “McGrady’s Sweetheart,” a story that is even bloodier than bypass surgery, in a good way. Our own Don Peteroy, who is actually quite adept at singing with peanut butter in his mouth, shows his versatility here with keen insights on why small woodland creatures look so darn cute in formal attire.

Don Peteroy: Rachel B. Glaser’s short story “McGrady’s Sweetheart” (volume 6, number 2) juxtaposes several war narratives in a way that brings to mind the intertextual vignettes in Hemingway’s In Our Time, but while Hemingway’s thematic disillusionment isolates his characters, Glaser abolishes the divide between war and home, past and present, rationality and irrationality, creating a beautiful, surprising, surrealistic connectedness. As a change in one landscape elicits an equal change in the other, a metaphoric conversation emerges between the battlefield and home. For instance, McGrady makes his fellow soldiers laugh at a preposterous tale of how, walking along the train tracks in his old neighborhood, he found a dead squirrel wearing a tiny tuxedo. Later, when Horowitz goes AWOL and wobbles away from the battlefield, he happens upon Stan Brady’s traveling act, a show in which common animals are “made up” to act and appear human. On this particular night, however, the animals are misbehaving. The ostrich tries to escape from its dress. Stan becomes flustered when he notices his rabbit picking at his sock. He lifts the rabbit by the bowtie and throws him into the crowd.

Likewise, each soldier has a sweetheart back home, but their sweethearts are often more “made up” than real. In violating both time and natural order, Glaser subverts the reader’s skepticism, and when McGrady is wounded and dying, we do not question the vision of his sweetheart as a grotesque human-animal hybrid. The further he advances toward death, the more distorted her appearance becomes. She is a creature that “waded into the swamp and crouched in the water, muddying its feathers.”

Although Glaser defamiliarizes the war narrative, it provides a rigid reference point in her illogical world. The story always points back to the established conventions, using them as an imaginative catalyst so that the piece’s strange particulars unfold naturally.

Editors’ Note: Rachel B. Glaser’s new book, Pee On Water, includes “McGrady’s Sweetheart.” For info click here.