In the suitable environs of The Joanna and its backyard, the biannual literary journal NANO Fiction celebrated its fifth year in print as well as its ever-increasing stature in the literary environment of the city and the region and beyond.
Publishing almost exclusively in short-short forms, fiction or essays of 300 words or fewer, NANO Fiction began at the University of Houston. They never received University support and eventually they abandoned their status as a student organization in order to make a greater impact for a larger audience. By all indications -- namely that they consistently sell out of each issue even as they increase their print runs -- NANO Fiction has come into its own.
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Founding editor Kirby Johnson describes some changes in editorial direction. They now have associate editors in Michigan and Florida, which will help lift them out of a regional-only market. Neverthless, NANO Fiction enjoys surprising institutional stability, with several members of its founding staff continuing to build the journal's reputation.
Sponsored by No Label Brewing, the party enjoyed excellent tune-spinning in the front room, and even more excellent conversation in the backyard. Several works of art were hung for auction, most notably drawings and paintings by Jason Poland, who publishes daily comic Robbie and Bobby. His comic "The Sting and the Sweet" is slated for publication in the next issue of NANO Fiction, and his art will grace the cover.
It was the sort of get-together where in the backyard, immediately after introductions, new friends began arguing about American literature and twentieth-century literary criticism. Did that guy really say that Richard Slotkin was his favorite critic? Were we really discussing the currency of the myth of the frontier? How did we get on the subject of Revolutionary Road?
NANO Fiction is currently calling for submissions to its annual competition, due next Wednesday. With the short-short form, what is sometimes called "flash" fiction or the "micro" essay, you still have time to write something down. But it will help to pick up a copy of NANO Fiction to see just how writers are able pull off big effects in under 300 words. The first issue of volume 5 hits bookstores in just a few more weeks.