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Santa Monica Review Authors Reimagine the Familiar


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By Lookout Staff

March 20, 2024 -- The spring 2024 issue of Santa Monica Review (SMR) celebrates "diversity and enduring relationships" with work from new and returning contributors, as well as a debut writer.

Santa Monica Review spring 2024 issue cover

Published twice yearly by Santa Monica College (SMC), the journal is the only nationally distributed literary magazine published by a U.S. community college.

A launch party for the issue -- which features a special welcome by acclaimed novelist Claire Vaye Watkins ("Gold Fame Citrus" )and author readings -- will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 7, in The Edye at the SMC Performing Arts Center, 1310 11th Street.

The issue celebrates the life and writing of late short story master Dwight Yates ("Bring Everybody") with publication of his final short story, "a revisionist family history explored through letters," organizers said.

Left: SMR cover art by Artemio Rodriguez (Courtesy SMC)

The issue includes 19 original short stories and essays, most by West Coast writers, including frequent contributors who "write beyond ordinary prose expectations, with fantastical, political, dreamy, and insightful short stories," event organizers said.

“Geography sort of just happened,” said Review editor and launch party Emcee Andrew Tonkovich, “with strong representation from California including Los Angeles, Long Beach, Bay Area, Inland Empire and Orange County.”

“I landed work from a bunch of SMR favorites whose style readers will recognize,” Tonkovich said. “I'm pleased that the magazine has boostered them over the years.”

Returning writers are James Warner ("All Her Father’s Guns"), Geoff Wyss ("How"), Michael Cadnum ("Earthquake Murder") and Janice Shapiro ("Bummer").

Shapiro, who will read at the launch party, is a short story writer, screenwriter and comics artist whose fiction appeared in the first SMR, in fall 1998.

Also reading from their work are Tinna Flores, Kareem Tayyar ("The Prince of Orange County") and Charles Hood ("Nocturnalia: Nature in the Western Night") whose work remembers poet Wanda Coleman, an iconic L.A. cultural figure and friend.

Flores, along with Bryan D. Price and Matthew Lawrence Garcia are making their first SMR appearances. Novelist Karen Moulding ("The Naked Shopper"), also a first-time contributor, "constructs a comically complicated, if sincere pandemic-era story."

Barry Gifford ("Roy’s World") shares another in his ongoing series, to be published soon in the collection "Ghost Years."

The spring 2024 issue features cover art by renowned Mexican printmaking artist Artemio Rodriguez.

“This issue includes so much stylistically diverse and elegantly offered storytelling," said Tonkovich. "There’s short-short work that reads like prose poetry or flash fiction.

"And (there's) longer, realistic coming-of-age and historical and autobiographically influenced elaborations. But it’s all surprising in its voice, perspective, and reimagining of the familiar or quotidian.”

Tickets for the launch party are available at and cost $10. Refreshments will be served. Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center will have a variety of author titles available for purchase at the party.

Abundant free parking available on premises. Seating is on a first-arrival basis.

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