Santa Monica Review

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Santa Monica Review
is distributed locally by Armadillo.

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The Spring 2015 issue of Santa Monica Review is available now.

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SMC’s national literary arts journal, published twice yearly, showcases the work of established authors alongside emerging writers, with a focus on West Coast fiction and nonfiction. Founded by novelist and SMC English instructor Jim Krusoe (Parsifal), the Review has presented readers experimental, thoughtful, and funny original writing—including essays and short stories by Gary Amdahl, Michelle Latiolais, and Diane Lefer—in 25 years of publication, and is considered a leading national journal. Recent work appears in the annual Best American Short Stories and PEN/O. Henry anthologies.

The Spring 2015 issue, edited by Andrew Tonkovich, features seventeen short and long pieces from new and frequent favorite contributors, and showcases short stories by Stephen Cooper (biographer of John Fante) and veteran fiction craftsman Dwight Yates (Bring Everybody), a chapter from her novel by award-winning nonfiction writer Vicki Forman (This Lovely Life), ribald hilarity from LA favorite Benjamin Weissman (Dear Dead Person), and a new installment in her wild animal-occupied apocalyptic series from Alisa Slaughter (Bad Habitats). Other notable contributors include LA Times book critic and essayist David L. Ulin, poet David Hernandez, and novelist Mark Maxwell (nixoncarver).

The issue also proudly presents the work of two SMC creative writing workshop students, English instructor Dawna Kemper and Public Information Officer Grace Singh Smith.

Spring 2015 cover art: Janice Shapiro.

Santa Monica Review is sold at the SMR website, SMC Bookstore, Beyond Baroque, Small World Books in Venice, and other local booksellers. Copies may also be ordered by mail and subscription. For more information, visit our website ( and “Like” us on Facebook.

Complete contents of the Spring 2015 issue:

Ursula Le Guin Beautiful Reward
William Woolfitt The Lepers of Siberia
Stephen Cooper River of Angels
                         – Isaac Babel

Dawna Kemper Hotel Minerva
Kristen Leigh Schwarz Emperor of Umbrellas
David Hernandez Orlando
Grace Singh Smith The Promotion
David L. Ulin Samaritan
Dwight Yates Taken by the Tiger
J.D. Evans If You Are Reading This
Jennifer Rae Smith Catch the Breeze
Geoff Wyss Enterprise
James Warner Emergency Calls
Vicki Forman Freedom Baby
Benjamin Weissman Rodd Buddha
Alisa Slaughter Bearadise
Richard Wirick Tyumen Is My Dwelling Place
Mark Maxwell What Was in His Head


Stephen Cooper has published stories in Southwest Review, The Threepenny Review, American Fiction, Hot Type, and elsewhere. In addition to writing Full of Life: A Biography of John Fante and editing The John Fante Reader, he discovered, edited, and annotated the manuscript of Fante’s last book, The Big Hunger: Stories 1932-1959. Recipient of an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship, Cooper is a professor of English and member of the MFA faculty at Cal State Long Beach.

J.D. Evans is an MFA student at Otis College. He hopes to graduate soon. His fiction and essays have appeared in Bird’s Thumb and Point Magazine, and he is a regular contributor to

Vicki Forman is the author of This Lovely Life: A Memoir of Premature Motherhood, winner of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Bakeless Prize and the PEN Center USA Prize in Creative Nonfiction. Her work has appeared in SMR, the Seneca Review and the anthologies Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs and Literary Mama: Reading for the Maternally Inclined. She lives outside Los Angeles with her husband and daughter. “Freedom Baby” is an excerpt from a novel-in-progress.

David Hernandez’s most recent collection of poems is Hoodwinked (Sarabande Books, 2011). His awards include a Pushcart Prize, an NEA Literature Fellowship in Poetry, and the Kathryn A. Morton Prize. His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, The Missouri Review, Field, The Southern Review, and The Best American Poetry 2013. He is also the author of two YA novels, No More Us for You and Suckerpunch, both published by HarperCollins. David teaches creative writing at California State University, Long Beach and is married to writer Lisa Glatt. For more information, visit his website at

Dawna Kemper’s stories have appeared in The Kenyon Review, ZYZZYVA, The Idaho Review, Colorado Review, Quarterly West, Hayden’s Ferry Review, SMR, and other journals, and her work has twice been listed as “Notable” in The Best American Nonrequired Reading. She teaches at Santa Monica College, and can be found online at

Ursula K. Le Guin is an award-winning writer in all genres. Her acceptance speech upon receiving the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, National Book Awards 2014, is used by SMR with generous permission from Ursula K. Le Guin, copyright 2014.

Mark Maxwell published his first novel (nixoncarver, St. Martin’s Press) in 1998, a goofy little book about the mythical friendship of Richard Nixon and Raymond Carver. He was a finalist in the Norman Mailer Fiction Contest in both 2011 and 2012. He has published stories in the Brooklyn Rail, numero cinq, the English Bulletin, and Gargoyle, and a recent story, “The Sweetwater Stranger” in spring 2014 SMR. “What Was in His Head” is its sequel and part of a series. Maxwell’s second book, Kings of the World: The Unpublished Stories of Jefferson Daley, is due out from EM Press in 2015.

Kristen Leigh Schwarz received her MFA in fiction from the University of California, Irvine. Previous work has appeared in the American Literary Review and The Saint Ann’s Review. She lives in Los Angeles and is working on a novel.

Janice Shapiro (cover art) is a VERY frequent contributor to SMR. She is the author of Bummer and Other Stories (Soft Skull Press 2010) and is currently at work on a graphic memoir, Crushable, My Life in Crushes From Ricky Nelson to Viggo Mortensen.

Alisa Slaughter was born in Oregon and lives in Southern California. Her short story collection, Bad Habitats, appeared in 2013, published by Gold Line Press.

Grace Singh Smith is a writer of both fiction and nonfiction who lives in Santa Monica. A public relations professional, her fiction has previously appeared in SMR. She is a former print and TV journalist originally from Assam, India.

Jennifer Rae Smith was born and raised in San Pedro, California. She also lived in Las Vegas, Nevada, during the late ’90s. She holds a BA in English: Creative Writing from USC. She earned an MFA from the CWPA program at UCR. This is her second publication in SMR. Visit her here:

Andrew Tonkovich edits SMR and hosts “Bibliocracy Radio,” a weekly literary arts program on Pacifica Radio KPFK 90.7 FM in Southern California. He has recent and forthcoming work in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Orange Coast Review, Juked, and Free Inquiry.

David L. Ulin is the author, most recently, of the novella Labyrinth. His other books include The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time and the Library of America”s Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology, which won a California Book Award. He is book critic of the Los Angeles Times.

James Warner sometimes calls 911. His stories have appeared most recently in ZYZZYVA, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Mid-American Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Web Conjunctions. His novel All Her Father”s Guns made the San Francisco Public Library’s summer reading list for 2012.

Benjamin Weissman is the author of two books of short fiction, most recently Headless. He teaches in the graduate fine art departments of Otis College of Art & Design and Art Center in Pasadena.

Richard Wirick’s novel, The Devil’s Water, was published by Ekstasis Editions in 2013. He is the author of two other prose collections, Kicking In and One Hundred Siberian Postcards. The latter was a London Times Notable Book for 2007, and was a nominee for the PEN/Bingham Award for best new work by an American author. He lives with his family in Los Angeles.

William Woolfitt is the author of two forthcoming books of poetry, Beauty Strip (Texas Review Press, 2014) and Charles of the Desert (Paraclete Press, 2016). His poems and stories have appeared in Shenandoah, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Threepenny Review, Appalachian Heritage, Tin House online, Notre Dame Review, New Ohio Review, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere.

Geoff Wyss’s book of stories, How, won the Ohio State University Prize in Short Fiction and was published in 2012. His first novel, Tiny Clubs, was published in 2007. His fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train, Image, Ecotone, Tin House, and others, and has been reprinted in New Stories from the South and the Bedford Introduction to Literature. He teaches and lives in New Orleans.

Dwight Yates a not infrequent contributor to SMR, has published two collections of short stories, Bring Everybody and Haywire Hearts and Slide Trombones.

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For information, including reading events, past issues, links, and recommended reading, please visit our website or call (310) 434-3597.

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