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Interview with 1/2 K Prize Judge Megan Giddings

Indiana Review will be accepting submissions to the 1/2 K Prize from July 1 to August 15, 2019. Final judge Megan Giddings will select a winner to receive $1000 publication. In an email interview, Indiana Review invites Megan to open up about flash fiction, her novel, and gibraltar. Discover more of Megan here: www.megangiddings.com.

Indiana Review: What does flash mean to you? What’s special about the genre?

Megan Giddings: I think flash is special because when done well it teaches, or at least reminds a writer and reader, how to distill a story into its most memorable parts. The language has to be well-chosen. You can’t get lost or meander; everything has to feel purposeful. Anything that’s not contributing can lose a reader.On a personal level, I don’t think I learned how to write remotely well, until I started writing flash. Before having a word limit, I had what I call a real case of the hi-hellos-what’s ups, my lines would be really repetitive. It would take me 15 pages to tell a 7 page story. Writing flash gave me the most important skill I think an aspiring writer can have: learn how to be your own relentless editor. 

IR: What’s the most refreshing image you’ve encountered lately?

MG: I’m currently working on a bigger project and for research, I’ve been reading different folk tales. One I keep coming back to is all the different variations of “Witch Hare” (I’m using this title but there are several variations). The element that stays the same is there is an old witch who can turn herself into a rabbit. Sometimes, she just dies. Sometimes, she pulls a lot of stunts that makes villagers mad. Sometimes in addition to those stunts, she gets in trouble for cursing a younger woman to spit pins. The last version I’ve been fixated on and is a plot point for the book I’m currently writing.Reading this response over,I don’t think I would call it refreshing, but it’s one my brain can’t let go of, it keeps opening more and more creative doors for me.

IR: What’s next for you? What’re you most excited for this year?

MG: Writing life, I’m working on my second novel. But what I’m actually most excited about this year is I’m becoming an aunt for the first time. I feel like one of my ideal adult forms is aunt who buys their nieces and nephews a lot of books and when they’re older gives them sage life advice while drinking a glass of red wine.

IR: You’re throwing a dinner party! Which artists, dead or alive, are you inviting?

MG: Prince, Octavia Butler, and my 90 year old Grandma.

IR: If your literary aesthetic was a food, what would it be?

MG: Do Drinks count? It would probably be a gibraltar (on the east coast, you generally call it a cortado, but I’m using gibraltar here because there are so many variations on cortados and my response might confuse someone based on that) where the barista makes like a heart or a leaf in the foam on top. It appears outwardly very cute, but beneath the soft sweetness is intense espresso. Through the magic of the right proportions of milk and foam, the gibraltar doesn’t stray into feeling overwhelming or into uncomfortable acidity. It’s balanced and complex.

Megan Giddings is a fiction editor at The Offing and a features editor at The Rumpus. Her flash fiction has been featured in Best of the Net 2018, Best Small Fictions 2016, Black Warrior Review, and Passages North among many other places. Megan’s debut novel, Lakewood, will be published by Amistad in 2020. More about her can be found at www.megangiddings.com

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Nonfiction Feature: 42 Poorly Kept Secrets About Montevideo By Carolina De Robertis

 

42 Poorly Kept Secrets About Montevideo

 

1. Old people.
They spend the whole afternoon on this park bench, watching the water leap in the blue-tiled fountain. They strike up a conversation with you in an instant. Their anecdotes grow to epic proportions, spanning decades, their voices overlapping like a fugue. By the time sunset glows pink behind the Ferris Wheel of Parque Rodó, you are like family.

2. Empty factories.
The buildings are desolate but they take up great space: large, silent, riddled with broken windows.

3. Mate.
Green, hot, bitter. Sucked from a gourd through a metal straw. The family on the stoop, the couple on the beach, the man washing his car—they carry their thermos, pass the gourd, pouring boiled water over green leaves, over and over again.

4. The city.
It contains one million people. By far the largest city in Uruguay.

5. The river.
El Río de la Plata was named after the silver that conquistadores thought they were about to find. The water is not silver; it is brown and thick with silt. It snakes against the city, wide as the sea.

6. Grafitti.
“El sur también existe.” (The south also exists.)
“Que se jodan los Yanquis.” (Fuck the Yankees.)
“¡Viva Tabaré!” (Long live [leftist president] Tabaré!)

7. Poorly kept secrets.
Poorly because no one keeps them from the world. Secret because the world cannot know what it does not see.

8. Maps.
Montevideo can be found on many. South of Brazil, east of Argentina, hovering at the Atlantic. A capital city, drawn with a star.

9. Morcilla dulce.
Sweet blood sausage is a delicacy: a blend of walnuts, sugar, orange peel, pig’s blood.

10. Testículos.
Bull testicles are a delicacy: small, flavorful, no part is wasted.

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Announcing the 2019 Blue Light Books Prize Winner

 

We are thrilled to announce that prize judge Adrian Matejka has selected God Had a Body by Jennie Maria Malboeuf as the winner of the 2019 Blue Light Books Prize! We received a record number of submissions to this year’s prize and are honored to have read so many powerful poetry collections. Thank you all for your submissions and for making this year’s Blue Light Books Prize possible. God Had a Body will be published by Indiana University Press in 2020 as part of the Blue Light Books Series, which includes previous prize-winning collections Fierce Pretty Things by Tom Howard and Girl with Death Mask by Jenn Givhan.

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Poetry Feature: “my home having come to this” By CM Burroughs

 

my home having come to this

In the porn factory, none locks her head in a box. None is trapezed or gagged. Everyone wants to know what my inside looks like. And a transparency about the skin. It is not long before one stops his hinged posture and says, “Look at me. I love you,” which my whole body opens to hear, as if it has been uttered before by someone I loved. I give myself as I’ve given myself to a field at dusk—without distraction or thought. Here. My body, my body’s inside. Here. All its tender. Red pulp.

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