Archive for the ‘News’ Category

The Masters Review Volume IV – INDIEFAB Award Honorable Mention

We are so pleased to learn that The Masters Review Volume IV with stories selected by Kevin Brockmeier is an INDIEFAB 2015 Honorable Mention for Anthologies. Over 1,500 books were entered across 60+ categories, with a select few highlighted by a panel of librarians and booksellers as the best books of the year. Congratulations to the writers featured in our wonderful fourth volume! It’s an honor to be recognized.

honorable mention

Purchase a copy of our Volume IV, here.

Debut Author Viet Thanh Nguyen Wins Pulitzer for The Sympathizer

700x394Congratulations to author Viet Thanh Nguyen for winning the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his debut novel, The Sympathizer. The Pulitzer committee praised The Sympathizer saying the book is “a layered immigrant tale told in the wry, confessional voice of a ‘man of two minds’ — and two countries, Vietnam and the United States.” The Guardian points out that while the novel was an early success, it was largely overlooked in literary discussions this past year. A spy novel in many regards, the book follows a double agent for South Vietnam at the end the Vietnam War, moving to Los Angeles as the narrative unfolds as a thriller/satire. In our review of The Sympathizer last year, Alisha Gorder writes: “With his commanding and consistently authentic style, Nguyen inserts himself into what has been a predominately US-centric conversation and shakes up our traditional way of thinking about the Vietnam War. Nguyen, like the remarkable narrator he has so carefully constructed, reminds us that there are always two sides and helps us to see both.” We’re thrilled to see a debut win such a notable award. Congratulations, Viet Thanh Nguyen!

In other Pulitzer news, author Kelly Link was a finalist for the award for her story collection Get In Trouble. David Naimon, host of the popular podcast Between the Covers, remarked: “Lamenting the ways SFF isn’t looked at as literature, Ursula K. Le Guin once said about China Mieville that, ‘When he wins the Booker, the whole silly hierarchy will collapse, and literature will be much the better for it.’ It kind of feels like Kelly Link being a Pulitizer Prize finalist is the beginnings of that hierarchy collapse.” Indeed.

The Masters Review Volume V Judge – Amy Hempel

We’re so pleased to introduce the judge for our fifth volume! Every year The Masters Review opens submissions to produce our anthology, a collection of ten stories written by today’s best emerging writers. Our aim is showcase ten authors who we believe will continue to produce great work. This year Amy Hempel will select the winners. This printed collection serves as a wonderful endorsement, allowing us to share new writers with a growing readership, which includes editors, agents, and established authors across the country.

AMY HEMPEL is the author of the story collections Reasons to Live, At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom, Tumble Home, and The Dog of the Marriage. The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel was one of The New York Times’ Ten Best Books of The Year. Amy Hempel received a Guggenheim Fellowship and an inaugural fellowship from the United States Artists Foundation. She won the Rea Award for the Short Story and received the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction. In 2015, Hempel received the John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence. Her stories have appeared in Harper’s, GQ, Vanity Fair, among many others, and have been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize, to name a few. She teaches for the MFA program through Bennington College.

$5000 awarded :: Submissions open January 15th.

Submission Guidelines:

Publication, national distribution, and exposure to over 50 editors and agents.


“I read your issues like clockwork! I’m a literary agent, and there’s such a great cast of emerging writers on this site that I’m always checking in to see if there’s anyone who might be looking for representation for longer form work.” –VICTORIA MARINI, GELFMAN SCHNEIDER / ICM PARTNERS

“If these are the voices we’ll be hearing from, American literature has an awful lot to look forward to.” –RAMONA AUSUBEL, author of No One is Here Except All of Us and A Guide to Being Born

“The future of literature.” –Reader’s Favorite

To learn more about the anthology, click here.

The Short Story Award For New Writers – Winners!

Cactus and water pot on wood tableCongratulations to the winners of The Masters Review Short Story Award for New Writers and an enormous thanks to everyone who submitted. We saw an incredible number of submissions and the quality of writing was extraordinary. Thank you, also, for your patience while we reviewed the work. A BIG round of applause to the following three writers, whose work will publish on The Masters Review and who have earned agency review from Katherine Fausset of Curtis Brown. 

WINNER: “Hildy” by Tom Howard

Tom Howard’s fiction has recently appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Booth, Willow Springs, and Quarter After Eight. Individual stories have won the Willow Springs Fiction Prize, the Robert and Adele Schiff Award in Fiction, and the Tobias Wolff Award in Fiction, among others. He lives in northern Virginia with his wife, Abbe, and their dog, Harper.

Second Place Story: “The Golden Arowana” by William Pei Shih

William Pei Shih is currently a student at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop under the Dean’s Graduate Fellowship. His stories have been recognized by the U.K. Bridport Prize, the Alice Munro Short Story Competition, the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest, Narrative Magazine, Glimmer Train, Writer’s Digest, the Hemingway Short Story Competition, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop/Hyphen Magazine Short Story Contest, and by storySouth Million Writers Award for most Notable Story. His work has been published by the Bridport Anthology, Carve Magazine, and Hyphen.

Third Place Story: “Do You Believe” by Tina Egnoski

Tina Egnoski is a fiction writer and a poet.  Her work has been published in a number of literary journals, including Cimarron Review, Folio, Hawaii Pacific Review and Louisville Review. She earned an MFA from Emerson College and has received literature fellowships from the Rhode Island Council on the Arts and the Colorado Council on Arts and Humanities. She’s the author of Perishables, a fiction chapbook, and the novella In the Time of the Feast of Flowers. A native of Florida, she currently lives in New England.

Honorable Mentions:

“As You Can Imagine, This Makes Dating Difficult” by Jen Fawkes

“Things to Think About While Breaking and Entering” by Ezra Carlsen

“10:25 EDT” by Rachael Warecki

“The Sun” by Ethel Rohan

“Bozo” by Mason Boyles

To learn more about our Short Story Award for New Writers, click here.

A Pledge to Pay Writers – $15,000 This Year

payout to writersAlways a free way to submit, always paid for your work.

The Masters Review believes in providing a platform for emerging writers, a place where new writers are published and paid for their work. This year, our anthology paid out $5000 to new writers, and our Short Story Award and Fall Fiction Contest will pay out nearly $4600 to winners upon completion. And while these contests help us continue with projects like the publication of our book — a major endorsement for emerging writers — it also allows us to stay in the game.

Our New Voices stories pay $0.10/word up to $200 for any piece accepted and are always open and always free to submit. By the end of the year we set a goal of paying emerging writers over $5000 for their fiction and essays via New Voices, at absolutely no charge to submit. That’s $15,000 a year to emerging writers. It’s part of our pledge to support the literary arts and the writers we believe will continue to produce great work. Why? Because we believe the sense of community in the literary world is at the heart of how new writers begin and how established authors continue.

Join us by submitting a story, sharing our publication, or reading our words. Thank you to all our readers and writers for helping us reach our goal of paying new writers for great work.

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking. — Haruki Murakami

Break For Summer

two twin brothers sitting around a campfire in a birch grove

Welcome to the end of summer August. This is just a friendly note to let readers know that The Masters Review staff is going on break until after Labor Day. We’re still reading submissions and working on projects, but the blog is going on hiatus and there may be lulls on email. If you need to reach a staff member, you can do so at: contact (at) mastersreview (dot) com and we’ll be back to you shortly.

A few things: we will be announcing our Short Story Award winners in mid-September! Also, our fall contest is judged by the incredible Jeff VanderMeer and opens on September 1st. So. Awesome.

Enjoy the end of summer, friends. We’ll be back!

Summer Workshop with Tin House Editor Michelle Wildgen

Each quarter we host an online workshop that allows you to get feedback from an established writer or editor in the field. Our summer term is perfect for polishing up those stories for when lit mags open to submissions in the fall. Well. We’re thrilled to announce that from Aug 1 – Aug 31, Tin House executive editor Michelle Wildgen will be offering feedback on stories.

michelle inside bannder

Submissions for our summer Online Workshop will be open from August 1 – August 31. However, there are only a certain number of spots available, so don’t wait! This term we only have space for TEN writers.

Participants Receive:

Submission Guidelines:

We are accepting works of fiction and creative nonfiction up to twenty-five double-spaced pages, or 6,250 words. All genres and all styles are welcome. We’re sorry to say we can only review a single story at a time. Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis. You can reserve your spot now, but when spaces are full we can no longer accommodate additional participants.

The Online Workshop fee is $299, due upon registration. Registration opens on August 1, 2015.

<< More details here >>

Sneak Peek – Volume IV Cover

The Masters Review Volume IV with stories selected by Kevin Brockmeier is available this fall. Galleys are out and we couldn’t be more excited about bringing this collection into the world. Here’s a sneak peek of the cover, which we’re so taken with. It’s cozy, and haunting, and covered with fur. As covers go, it’s pretty tops. Congratulations again to our Volume IV authors!

Cover singleTable of Contents:

Interested in previous editions? Visit the Masters Review shop and get a copy today.

Announcement: Ann and Jeff VanderMeer October Contest

OCTOBER announeWe’re so pleased to announce our forthcoming contest with guest judges Ann and Jeff VanderMeer to take place in October. Jeff’s body of work is almost too impressive to list. His Southern Reach trilogy, all released in 2014 were NYT bestsellers, and have been acquired by publishers in 16 other countries with movie rights purchased by Paramount Pictures/Scott Rudin Productions. Annihilation, the first book in the trilogy, won the Nebula Award and Shirley Jackson Award for best novel, among many other nominations and honors. Jeff and Ann’s Wonderbook (Abrams Image), the world’s first fully illustrated, full-color creative writing guide, won the BSFA Award for best nonfiction and was nominated for a Hugo Award and a Locus Award. Ann is a Hugo-award winning editor and publisher whose work includes editing tenures at Weird Tales Magazine and Tor, guest editor for Best American Fantasy Series, and projects such as the World Fantasy Awards. She and Jeff founded the recent Weird Fiction Review, and have collaborated on many projects including, The Weird, which won the 2012 World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology. Impressive doesn’t even begin to cover the VanderMeer’s talents, and we’re so lucky to be working with them.


We couldn’t think of better hosts than Jeff and Ann to judge stories for our annual fiction contest in October, a contest that focuses on fiction that embraces the strange, the weird, the scary, the disturbing, and the grotesque. Submissions will be open on Sept 1 – Oct 31, with cash prizes, publication, and a letter from the judges to the winning stories. Stay tuned for more details!

Author Update: Publications and Awards

Every so often we like to acknowledge the work of past authors. Here are three anthology authors, each from a different volume, with upcoming work and recent awards.

Children teddy bear with old vintage book

Dustin M. Hoffman – Winner of The Prairie Schooner Book Prize
Dustin’s novel One-Hundred Knuckled Fist will be awarded $3000 and published by the University of Nebraska Press. His story “Almost Touching, Almost Free” was published in The Masters Review Volume II with stories selected by AM Homes. His work has also appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, Bat City Review, Midwestern Gothic, Juked, Cimarron Review, The Journal, and Threepenny Review. Congratulations, Dustin!

Fabienne Josephat – Forthcoming Novel
Fabienne’s story, “Her Dream of Water” was published in our first anthology with stories selected by Lauren Groff. Her novel, Dancing in the Baron’s Shadow is forthcoming in February 2016 by Unnamed Press. The novel examines power’s tendency to corrupt, the impulse of nationalistic pride, and above all, the human desire to survive, while describing in rigorous detail the shocking realities of life in the Baron’s shadow. Don’t forget to pre-order this fantastic debut!

Drew Ciccolo – Publication in Tin House, Winter 2015
Drew’s story, “The Behemoth” was published in The Masters Review Volume III with stories selected by Lev Grossman. Grossman said of Ciccolo’s writing: “You could power a small city with that tension.” His new fiction, “The Leash,” is forthcoming in Tin House’s Winter 2015 issue. This story is about an adult son who puts his father, who is sort of a troublemaker, on a leash. An actual leash — he gets it at a pet supply store. Read the full story when the issue is released later this year.

Congratulations to our very talented authors! Read their Masters Review stories by visiting the shop, here.

The Masters Review Volume IV Shortlist Announcement

Congratulations to the following authors whose stories and essays were selected for our shortlist. Our guest judge Kevin Brockmeier will select ten for publication, which will be announced in May, and later published in volume IV of our anthology. Also, an enormous thanks to everyone who submitted. We received the most submissions in our anthology’s history, and this year’s writing was extremely impressive. Our staff is thankful for the opportunity to read such quality work, and is looking forward to Mr. Brockmeier’s final selections.

shortlist _2015 draftShortlist Authors

CB Anderson, “Ghost”

Chris Arp, “To The Snail”

Courtney Bird, “The Tenshi Project”

Eric Boyd, “Then Comes Disgrace”

Daniel Bullard-Bates, “Rituals”

Ezra Carlsen, “False Fronts”

Megan Clark, “Berserker”

Stephanie Devine, “Pas de Trois”

Joe Dornich, “The Continuing Controversy of the Snuggle Shack”

Michael Erickson, “Walking Woman”

Kate Finlinson, “The Lion House Near Temple Square”

Camellia Freeman, “Real Americans”

Adam Gardner, “Theft”

Robert Glick, “Instar”

Nick Greer, “With It, He Goes on All Fours”

Ah-Reum Han, “River Home”

Hillery Hugg, “Ghosts Doing Ordinary Things”

Brianne Kohl, “Places Still on Fire”

Kristin Leclaire, “Inside the Labyrinth”

Christina Milletti, “The Erratic”

HL Nelson, “A Creature Comes Home”

Rebecca Nison, “#theorderofyouth”

Frances Phillips, “Bay Rhum Christmas”

Matthew Pitt, “The Uncanny Valley”

Erin Kate Ryan, “Fourth Grade Boyfriend in a Coffee Can”

Sarah Smith, “Someday Soon, You’ll Be On Fire”

Jennifer Stern, “Part and Counterpart”

Lindsay Tigue, “Rockhounds”

Ricky Tucker, “Constant Erasure”

Emily Wortman-Wunder, “Trespassing”


Honorable Mentions

Sarah Curry, “Forever in the Mall of America”

Christopher Fox, “A Light-Year is a Measure of Distance Not Time”

Jo Hsu, “Forest for the Trees”

Brent van Staallduinen, “Declination”

“The Boy and The Bear” Selected For The Best Small Fictions 2015

Boy Bear_best small fictionsBig CONGRATULATIONS to Masters Review New Voices author Blake Kimzey and his story “The Boy and The Bear,” which was selected for publication in The Best Small Fictions anthology by Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert Olen Butler! The collection showcases the best pieces of short fiction (1000 words or fewer) written over the last year and is produced by Queens Ferry Press. “The Boy and The Bear” can also be found in Kimzey’s chapbook Families Among Us, published by Black Lawrence Press.

Congratulations, Blake!