We are excited to release our official nominations for the Pushcart Prize for 2018. These four pieces stood out among our excellent publication list this year for their beauty, poignancy, or lasting resonance. The works we chose to nominate are:
Readers, we’re excited to open the submission gates for a special themed issue arriving September 2018. We want your ghost stories, your phobia stories, your psychological creepers — basically anything about fear, whether from external or internal sources. As always, we want stories, essays, and poems that challenge the boundaries of genre and transcend their forms with stunning writing. Check out our Submittable page and submit your best scary stories today! Because we need time to assemble the issue, we’ll be reading for this issue until mid-August. We can’t wait to read what you’ve got!
Two Cities Review has a call for submissions fora special themed issue appearing in March. In light of the election, we wanted to tackle the divide between the rural and urban experience in this country. We are looking for stories, poems, and essays that capture rural or small-town life in some way, or engage with the divide between the urban and the rural. You can submit here: old.twocitiesreview.com/submit.
We’re happy to report that we are opening our magazine for free submissions for the summer! We are particularly looking for a few more pieces to fill our special themed fall issue, with the theme of DYSTOPIA. Send us your dark visions of the future, whether in the form of poetry, nonfiction, or fiction.
Have you been thinking about sending us work? Now that pesky little $3 submission fee is temporarily waived, so don’t hesitate to send us your best work. Of course, if you’d like to support our growing magazine, we’d still greatly appreciate the $3 if you can spare it.
Writing on other topics? We’re reading for future unthemed issues as well. If it’s good, we want to read it.
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A MAN’S SON, LOST IN THE QUAGMIRE OF SYRIA. ANOTHER SON, NEARLY LOST IN RELIGIOUS “EX-GAY” THERAPY. A WOMAN STRUGGLING TO KEEP HER FAMILY’S SECRETS SAFE. Our March 2016 issue might be our most dramatic collection of true and fictional stories yet.
What makes a story electric? We have been exploring this question as we assemble Issue 9, and discussing it in our growing podcast (check out our latest episode on iTunes or at old.twocitiesreview.com/podcast). In our latest issue of the magazine, we return again and again to characters struggling to define who they are in the face of outsized odds. Characters in these outstanding stories, essays, and poems reach out for connection and grasp only air; they dig deep into their memories, searching for a true version of the past, and can only find uncertainty. Self-discovery is a rocky path to go down.
Our poems in this issue are also concerned with survival. What does it take to be truly self-reliant? How do we recover from grief and pain? How do we derive meaning from the great and the awful in our childhoods? Ultimately, survival is a question of self-discovery too; our writers have found that to make it in this world, you have to know who you are and what to take with you on the journey.
Speaking of journeys, this magazine, which started as a tiny fern unfurling beneath a canopy of larger magazines, has grown into a wide readership and is now spreading new branches into the world of podcasts and beyond. This issue marks our two year anniversary as a magazine, and we are so proud of the incredible growth we have seen. Not only has the number of submissions we receive increased exponentially, but the readers we are reaching now number in the thousands, over many states, countries and continents. And in a literary market that is full of turbulence and turnover, we are here to stay.
We hope that you, our readers, will continue with us on this journey and spread the word about our magazine and podcast. Writers continue to submit your best work. Together, we will make the next two years even more fruitful that these last two.
Blair Hurley & Olivia Tandon
Read select pieces from the issue
We here at Two Cities Review couldn’t be more excited about our newest venture, the Two Cities Review Podcast.
From the beginning of our magazine’s inception, we always knew we wanted to create a magazine that captured the complexity of modern urban life. That meant seeking out stories about bridging the gaps between dreams and reality, between geography and localness, between technology and human connection. We always wanted our magazine to be a media-rich publication, a digital experience that actually took advantage of its digital format. So a podcast was pretty much inevitable. The podcast as a form is experiencing a golden age these days; we’re surrounded by a great richness of story, delivered in a way that lets you listen at all hours of the day. And Two Cities Review, we knew, should be participating in that great urban flow of anytime, anywhere story.
Our podcast will be a mixture of us and you. That is, you’ll hear from us each episode, talking about what it takes to create the issue; you’ll get insights from us into our editorial process, what makes us accept or reject a story, and why we do or don’t love a piece. We’ll answer your questions about being editors and writers and what we’re looking for. But the podcast will also be a dialogue with our magazine. We’ll share our authors, reading their poems and stories, and we’ll interview authors too, getting their special insight into the process of creating their wonderful work. We will be cheerleaders, enthusiasts, and discriminators. We will try to give you a little window into what it’s like to be a gatekeeper in the literary world, but we’ll also let your words sing.
We plan to have a new episode appear on the website and iTunes (coming soon) every two weeks. It will give you a whole new dimension of the current issue, and a whole new dimension of understanding into the editorial process.
We’re so pleased to have a new featured post up at Front Porch Commons, the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses’ new site for all things indie publishing. The article is about the challenges and joys of running a long-distance magazine:
The idea sprouted when I was about to leave New York. I’d been living with my high school friend and fellow writer Olivia in Brooklyn, finishing my MFA and pretty much living a writer’s dream. We both loved the most writerly city on earth. We loved the plays and poetry readings, the artisanal doughnuts and dark bars crammed with storytellers. Over the few years of our roommate-ship, we’d played with the idea of founding a literary magazine. We had always wanted to shape the vision of a journal of our own…
Read the article at Front Porch Commons
IS SUMMER ALL THAT IT’S CRACKED UP TO BE? We at the Review are looking forward to this most hotly anticipated season, and we’re excited about the collection of stories, poems, and essays in our sixth issue. What we’ve found most intriguing about this batch of writing, however, is the way that summer — with all its lazy promise — is a source of crackling tension for so many of our writers. They say the heat brings out our most violent and animal-like tendencies; in this issue, you’ll see some of that aggression, hostility, and competition on display.
In the pages of Issue 6, you’ll find the ease, leisure, and exaltation we expect from the season, but each beam of lazy golden light is shot through with darkness as well. You’ll find sunbathers in Siberia, idyllic blue lagoons beside funeral processions, cheating couples, escaped birds, and problematic mother-daughter relationships.
In other news, we are delighted to announce the winners of our very first prose contest, with the theme of CITIES GONE WRONG. Writers brought their best to the table and we were wildly impressed with the dark and twisted visions that came onto our computer screens. It was a difficult decision, but we’re so proud of our winners and runners up and will be publishing their work in our special Fall Contest Issue. Read on in this issue for the announcement of winners and runners up, and don’t miss our Fall issue to read their dark, electrifying works.
Blair Hurley & Olivia Tandon
Readers, this month I have been tucked away in the splendid Vermont Studio Center, busily editing the novel and also trying to produce some new short stories. About once a year I love attending programs like these; there really is nothing like devoting yourself to the quiet, singular craft of writing. You’d be amazed what kinds of work can come out of an experience like it.
I am stunned by how smoothly the VSC is run, by how beautiful the facilities are, and how friendly and welcoming the entire community is. I’ve met a terrific bunch of writers and artists while being here, and I’m so inspired by marinating in their developing work.
Many might say that you can achieve the same experience if you just turn off the phone and hunker down at your desk at home, and you can with effort and if a residency is not possible. But if it is possible, jump at the chance. There’s a huge mental difference between squeezing an hour of writing in between obligations at home, and giving yourself the time and permission to put your writing first.
So what is a residency really like? I’ll try to tell you about a typical day here at the Vermont Studio Center. The day might be different for every resident, but here’s the routine I’ve been working on.
Being a fledgling literary magazine doesn’t just mean reading our own submissions and publishing pieces in our tiny little corner of the internet. It means participating in the wild, wooly, and wonderful world of literary journals and magazines. At AWP, I loved putting faces with names and meeting fellow editors of both new and established literary magazines. It’s great to be a member of this giving, enthusiastic community. So it’s about time we highlighted here at Two Cities what magazines we read, what we love, what we’re always excited to see popping up in an RSS feed or in a mailbox.