Contributor Bio: Roxane Gay's writing appears or is forthcoming in Mid-American Review, Blip Magazine (formerly The Mississippi Review online), Cream City Review, Annalemma, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and others. She is the co-editor of PANK, an assistant professor of English at Eastern Illinois University, and can be found at http://www.roxanegay.com. Her first collection, Ayiti, will be released in 2011.
Why she stands out: Gay's prose is brutally honest and she has a knack for finding the perfect symbol or utterance. She draws characters that deconstruct social norms through their love and hate of societal expectations.
Piece everyone should read: "The Small Tragedies of Children" in The Emprise Review
Why: Gay's honest take on the intricacies of unconditional love and her exploration of what shapes parents' dispositions toward their children.
Online Presence: In addition to co-editing PANK, which publishes both a print and an online journal, Gay's a contributor to HTML Giant and Barrelhouse. She was this June's writer-in-residence at Necessary Fiction. And her work can be found almost anywhere: Annalemma, Blip, decomP, Everyday Genius, Hobart, > kill author, (the late) Pindeldyboz, Spork, You Must Be This Tall to Ride, etc.
Frequency: New content every Monday and Friday
Content Types: Fiction and Poetry
Other Formats: Blog and Meta-Stories
Why they stand out: They digitally embody youth.
Piece from the archives that everyone should read: "Solo Flight" by Sheldon Lee Compton
Why: Its seemingly disjointed but rigid architecture. Fast. Transcendence and flesh cohering together.
Spotlight by: David Backer
Contributor Bio: Alissa Nutting's writing has appeared in Tin House, Fence, Mid-American Review, the fairy tale anthology My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, and many other journals. She is the author of the short story collection Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls (Starcherone, 2010), and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she has received Cobain and Schaeffer Fellowships in Fiction.
Why she stands out: An astute modern satirist, Nutting is able to be quirky, while grounding her pieces in the ills of contemporary society. Her work is layered and open to multiple interpretations. She creates rich prose that makes you laugh and think.
Piece everyone should read: "Little Did They Know" at Six Little Things
Why: It's fantastically dastardly, with brutal honesty that can make awful characters charming and funny. "Little Did They Know" is full of great imagery, as well as quirky turns of phrase that disguise the shocking as the mere mundane.
Online Presence: Nutting is a contributor to HTMLGIANT. You can visit her at her website or find her on Twitter. And her work can be found in places such as 300 Reviews, Action Yes, Apostrophe Cast, Diagram, Fanzine, La Petite Zine, Lemon Puppy, Mud Luscious, No Contest, Significant Objects, Six Little Things, and more.
Frequency: New content every Monday and Friday
Content Types: Fiction, Flash Fiction, One-Sentence Stories, Poetry, PODcasts, and VODcasts
Other Formats: Audio, Video, Blog, Print
Why they stand out: Risk-taking. With almost every piece you'll find authors pushing the boundaries of fiction -- be it through perspective, images, language, or form (one-sentence!).
Piece from the archives that everyone should read: "This Quiet Complex" by Amelia Gray
Why: For its balance of neurosis and quirkiness. By using an epistolary style, Gray is able to put the reader in the shoes of a leasing agent. But more than that, she's able to make the reader a neighbor to an intrusive, obsessive woman. While the piece evokes pity, it manages to make the narrator sympathetic. The letter is a complex romp through the tangles of a cloistered mind!
Spotlight by: Daniel Hollander
Contributor Bio: J. A. Tyler is the author of nine books: INCONCEIVABLE WILSON (Scrambler Books, 2009), SINATRA (Vox Press, 2010), IN LOVE WITH A GHOST (Cow Heavy, 2010), A MAN OF GLASS & ALL THE WAYS WE HAVE FAILED (Fugue State Press, 2011), NO ONE TOLD ME I WOULD DISAPPEAR with John Dermot Woods (Jaded Ibis Press, 2011), A SHINY, UNUSED HEART (Black Coffee Press, 2011), GIRL WITH OARS & MAN DYING (Aqueous Books, 2011), WHEN WE HOLD OUR HANDS (Dark Sky Books, 2012), & THE ZOO, A GOING (Dzanc Books, 2013). He is also founding editor of Mud Luscious Press.
Why he stands out: Tyler makes every word count, constructing prose that reads like poetry. His work is expertly layered, creating deep and satisfying pieces that beg to be reread.
Piece everyone should read: “Terry & Tawny & Lucinda” from Water
Why: For the imagery. Tyler exposes the emotional violence of love and rejection through vivid pictures of real violence. In this world, children are all that are left. In this world, violence is beautiful. Tyler does not sensationalize this violence. Instead, we watch through the static of the rain and through the eeriness of Water's norms, as children unable to deal with their emotional burdens do so in only way they know: violence.
Online Presence: Tyler edits Mud Luscious Press, which includes an online journal. He's a contributor to Big Other. His reviews can be found at The Chapbook Review, The Collagist, Mud Luscious, Rumble (where he is the staff reviewer), The Rumpus, etc. And his work can be found almost anywhere: decomP, Diagram, elimae (more and more), JMWW (more and more), > kill author (more), PAX Americana, the late Pindeldyboz, Prick of the Spindle, Requited Journal, Storyglossia, Theives Jargon (more, more, more, more, and more), Word Riot, etc.
Content Types: Fiction, Flash Fiction, Poetry, Art, Book Reviews (Solicited)
Other Formats: Audio, Blog, Print (First issue slated for 2011), and an Anthology of the best of the decade (Slated for 2014)
Why they stand out: Distinct genre awareness. Their flash fiction and short fiction are stylistically unique. Audio versions accompany some pieces.
Piece from the archives that everyone should read: “Cry or Climax” by xTx
Why: For its mastery of the uncomfortable. xTx balances the normal with raw, stalkerish emotion, and with a beautiful use of second person. By telling this story in one block paragraph she makes the reader to feel the narrator's claustrophobia and the guilt of the accused.