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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.

Read more…

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2019 Poetry & Fiction Twitter Contest #IRDelights

 

Our 2019 Poetry & Fiction Prize is open until March 18!

With our Blue Light series approaching, we want to draw inspiration from one of our authors and announce our latest Twitter contest! Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights, a collection of meditations on the things that bring him joy, was released February 12, 2019.

For this contest, we’re asking you to tweet us a “delight” of your own. For an example, check out “Loitering is Delightful” and the sample tweets below. To get your own copy of The Book of Delights, click here.

One lucky (and clever) winner will receive a free entry into our 2019 Fiction & Poetry Prize and an IR Prize Pack. Our favorite runner-ups will also receive IR Prize packs and, most importantly, be forever immortalized in our blog posts and on our Twitter page. They will also have the divine privilege of having their work read by Ross himself! Who would pass that up?

Delight us with your keen observations, and don’t miss out on your opportunity to apply to our Fiction and Poetry Prize by March 31!

 

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2018 1/2 K Twitter Contest #IRGIF

 

Indiana Review’s 2018 1/2 K Prize opens July 1st along with our Twitter contest, “GIF Us What You Got!”  We’re looking for stories and poems, 280 characters or less, that can be supported by a related internet GIF to illustrate your work. Anything goes, so get GIF’n! Make sure to hashtag your tweet with #IRGIF. The contest is open until Tuesday, July 31st.

One GIF-savvy winner will receive a free submission to our 1/2 K Prize as well as a copy of Indiana Review’s 40.1 issue and Jennifer Givhan’s poetry collection Girl with Desk Mask.

Don’t forget to submit your 1/2 K piece by August 15th! Good Luck!

Illustration by Paul Blow