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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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Student journal serves bite-sized sequel


There are 215,098 words in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations holds 188,124 words and Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment boasts 206,029. For the writers featured in NANO Fiction, 300 are enough.

Run entirely by undergraduate UH students, the literary journal targets people who don’t have time to read. By focusing on brief, concise fiction, the journal offers readers powerful prose without the extra 199,700 words. The compact journal released its second issue of micro fiction this month, pulling work from over 200 submissions that made their way to the editors from all over the country.

"With micro fiction you have to catch the reader within the first two lines," fiction editor and creative writing senior Kirby Johnson said. "If they aren’t strong, there’s no reason to read any further, especially if you are working with 300 words or less."

While writers are limited on the number of words they may use, they are not limited in their creativity and are encouraged to look at not only the conceptual aspect of those words, but also the physical.

"The editors and I get excited when we see pieces that experiment with form and language," Johnson said. "Micro fiction doesn’t have to be a block of text on the page. If you want to send us prose in the shape of a unicorn, do it. If you want to write a piece that illustrates narrative through your favorite Britney Spears song titles, then go for it. We want to read it."

Though not affiliated with the University, NANO Fiction encourages all student writers to submit, and editors give Houston writers special consideration. The new issue holds work by 31 authors (triple the amount found in the first issue), and approximately six of the authors are UH students or former students.

"Since our first issue we have seen a dramatic jump in the number of submissions we receive. Our contributors submit from all over the United States, many of them have been previously published and have won various awards for writing," Johnson said. "Most of our contributors are in MFA programs or MFA graduates. We also still receive a large number of submissions from people who just enjoy writing and are looking for an outlet to publish their work."

Along with writing, the second issue also features four pages of original artwork by Seattle-based artist Nomi Meta-Murota, whose painting is on the cover.

UH students have two opportunities this week to support the students whose work can be found both on and behind the pages of NANO Fiction. In cooperation with hole moles cartoonist Austin Havican, representatives of the journal will sell copies of Volume 1, Numbers 1 and 2 today from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Philip Guthrie Hoffman Hall Breezeway for $3 and $6, respectively. Copies may also be purchased at Domy Books, 1709 Westheimer Rd., and Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet St.

Havican will have a new series of 1-inch hole moles pins on sale for $1 and a best-of collection, I CAME HERE TO TELL YOU I HATED IT, for $5. With a donation of any amount to NANO Fiction, students will also receive a limited edition hole moles poster for free.

And on Wednesday, NANO Fiction will hold a free reading featuring writers from the latest issue between 7 and 11 p.m. at The Mink, 3718 Main St. The reading will be followed by an open-mic, and anyone is welcome to participate.

NANO Fiction publishes twice a year, in the spring and fall, and interested writers may submit up to five submissions of 300 words or less to [email protected] by mid-December to be considered for the spring issue. For more information, visit www.nanofiction.org or swing by PGH today.


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