Editor’s Note

Always a joy, our Summer Contest Issue.  To discover new talent.  To acknowledge established writers.  The heart of a literary magazine is to bring such fine works to you, our esteemed readers.

The winner of the $1,000 Prize for Fiction, chosen by final judge, Kim McLarin, is Shanyn Fiske, for “Calligraphy,” her debut publication, an exquisite story of a young Chinese prodigy and her mother’s misunderstanding of her brilliance.  Runner-up is Jennie Rathbun for “The House Wren,” a highly amusing yet touching story of a lesbian couple dealing with an intrusive family member.  The Editors’ Picks in Fiction, chosen by Brenda Prescott and myself, are Richard Downing’s provocative “Full-Service Fat Girl” and Vanessa Nirode’s moving, elliptical tale, “Once We Were Young.”

The winner of the $500 Nonfiction Prize, donated by Michael Steinberg, and judged by Richard Hoffman is Michelle Blake for “A Fable for Our Times,” reflections on an election season.  And the Editors’ Pick is Flora Gonzalez for “The Sewing Room,” personal insights into the transformation of Cuba.

In addition, we offer special publication to our Featured Authors, distinguished writers, such as: Jaimee Wriston Colbert in Fiction; Amy Yelin, Elizabeth Searle and Jason Clemence in Nonfiction; and to our new Poetry co-editor January Gill O’Neil, and Martha Collins, as well as to other fabulous poets.

Also, we are thrilled to present Neal Rantoul’s aerial photography of wheat fields. Our photographer editor has worked with him in the past.

We received so many talented contest submissions this year that we especially thank all who submitted and very much hope we will hear from you again.

As a magazine of diverse voices, we also feel called to respond to some of the recent violence in our country, so we sent you a Call for Submissions for our new blog series on Race, Class and Culture.  Also, we are adding a new feature in our weekly newsletters:  Contributors’ News, announcing new or forthcoming books and awards from those we have published over the past six years!  For instance, congrats to SolLit’s Poetry in Translation Editor, Dzvinia Orlowsky, and poet Jeff Friedman, who have just been awarded a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Translation Fellowship for their translations of poems by Polish poet Mieczslaw Jastrun. You can let us know your news, here.

And thanks to you all for being part of our ever-growing diverse community.  Please subscribe and share our Summer Issue with your friends. Let’s reach out more, extend ourselves, cross borders! Warmly, Lee Hope



Poetry Editor’s Note

We are very excited to share with you the winners and finalists of this year’s Stephen Dunn Prize

The winner, this year, is Alysia Harris for her poem, Omnipotence. Our judge Martha Collins writes:

I delight in this poem for its surprises, its mysteries, its structural and emotional complexities, its narrative fragmentations and juxtapostions. 

And we are also excited to present you with two finalists’ poems: Diorama by Richard Garcia andCharms (3) by Wendy Mnookin.

We also have many other compelling poems in this issue that we are sure you will enjoy.

Lastly, we’d like to welcome January Gill O’Neil as the new Co-Poetry Editor of Solstice. January brings a wealth of experience as both a writer and, through her work with Mass Poetry, promoter of other poets’ work. We couldn’t be more excited to have such a thoughtful and accomplished person join our team.

You can read her poem, Sober, in this issue and learn more about her on our staff page. 

Thank you to everyone who entered this year’s contest – it was a pleasure to read so many fine submissions.


Ben Berman