Congratulations to Shelley Wood, Winner of the McCourt CNF Prize

Congratulations to Shelley Wood, Winner of the McCourt CNF Prize

We’re pleased to announce the winner of our 2016 Frank McCourt Creative Nonfiction Writing Prize: Shelley Wood, for “The Scrubber of Bodies.”

Here’s what judge Ben Tanzer had to say about the selected work:

“‘The Scrubber of Bodies’ is an electric look at the body and connection, and how ones loses oneself to the fleeting nature of pleasure. It is also an exploration of marriage, however, and how such intimacies might lead to jealousy and confusion, or at least the idea that sometimes we seek pleasure in those things as well.”

CONGRATS Shelley!

Other finalists were Emily Kiernan’s “Domestication” and Christopher Malcomb’s “Tea Date.”

Thank you again to all finalists, and to all who helped with making this contest possible, especially Ben Tanzer and Samantha Stanco. We look forward to publishing these works in the coming weeks.

Andrew K
Publisher
Cobalt Review/Press

REPETITION by James Tadd Adcox to be Cobalt’s Seventh Book

How good it feels to announce our newest partnership with James Tadd Adcox! Cobalt Press will be publishing Adcox’s novel, Repetition, on Tuesday, September 13.

A brief intro to all this glorious about this book:

In Repetition, Soren Kierkegaard asks the question, Is repetition possible? Attempting to find an answer, he explores a love affair that ends in tragedy. In Repetition, James Tadd Adcox asks the question, Is repetition possible? Attempting to find an answer, he explores a love affair that ends in tragedy. In this short novel, at once a meditation on Kierkegaard’s work as well as a rewriting of it, the unnamed former president of the Constantin Constantius Society tells the story of an academic conference that ends in betrayal, crime, and a moment of pure and terrifying freedom.

Watch for news and pre-order information later this spring.

Thanks, as always, for helping us keep it weird.

Andrew Keating
Publisher, Cobalt Press

Congratulations to Mason Boyles, Winner of the Hurston Fiction Prize

We’re pleased to announce the winner of our 2015 Zora Neale Hurston Fiction Writing Prize: Mason Broyles, for his story “Proud Mary.”

Here’s what judge Kate Wyer had to say about the selected work:

“Through rollicking prose, ‘Proud Mary’ immediately brings you into the head space of a tin-foil plant worker who lusts after a peanut tractor, because in Pender County, a peanut tractor means upward mobility. I don’t know if there is a Pender County, but I fully believe in the landscape Boyles has crafted. The narrator brings his unique point of view (Ireland and Scotland are turned into ‘peacoat wastelands’, the clouds are ‘pig-bellied’) to a story about the places we are born, the lives we feel forced to live, and the desire to be and do more. It is narrated by a funny, exhilarating, and expertly hatched voice.”

CONGRATS Mason!

Other finalists were Emily Kiernan’s “Joan of Knoxville, 1945″ and Zack Graham’s “The Virtue of Kindness.”

Thank you again to all finalists, and to all who helped with making this contest possible, especially Kate Wyer, Rafe Posey, and Sara Henke. We look forward to publishing these works in the coming weeks.

Andrew K
Publisher
Cobalt Review/Press

Congratulations to Elisabeth Murawski, Winner of Gabriela Mistral Poetry Prize

I am thrilled to announce Elisabeth Murawski as the winner of the Gabriela Mistral Poetry Prize! Her poem, “Housesitting: Garden and Cat” was selected earlier this week by poetry editors Donora Hillard-Hare and Jonathan Travelstead. Elisabeth’s poem “Poem for Charlie” was also selected as a finalist and will appear in the Volume 4 print issue.

Here are the rest of the finalists. We’re honored to include them in the upcoming print issue!

  • “Desire as Lasso” by Andrea Beltran
  • “All Saints’ Day” by Eva Olsgard
  • “What Kind of Shine” by Alexandra Smyth
  • “What My Father Gives Me” by Phuong Vuong

Watch for more contest announcements over the next couple days!

Thanks,

Andrew Keating
Publisher, Cobalt Press

Zora Neale Hurston Fiction Writing Prize Finalists

We are pleased to announce the poems selected as “finalists” for the 2015 Zora Neale Hurston Fiction Writing Prize. We thank you for your patience as we worked hard to ensure that each of the many submissions we received was evaluated fairly under the new leadership.

A winner from the following group of finalists will be announced soon. Each of these works will be included in our upcoming Volume 4 print issue.

  • “The Virtue of Kindness” by Zack Graham
  • “Joan of Knoxville, 1945″ by Emily Kiernan
  • “Proud Mary” by Mason Boyles

Our fiction contest finalists will be announced tomorrow!

Thanks,

Andrew Keating
Publisher, Cobalt Press

Frank McCourt Creative Nonfiction Prize Finalists

We are pleased to announce the poems selected as “finalists” for the 2015 Frank McCourt Creative Nonfiction Prize. We thank you for your patience as we worked hard to ensure that each of the many submissions we received was evaluated fairly under the new leadership.

A winner from the following group of finalists will be announced soon. Each of these works will be included in our upcoming Volume 4 print issue.

  • “Tea Date” by Christopher Malcomb
  • “Domestication” by Emily Kiernan
  • “The Scrubber of Bodies” by Shelley Wood

Our fiction contest finalists will be announced tomorrow!

Thanks,

Andrew Keating
Publisher, Cobalt Press

Gabriela Mistral Poetry Prize Finalists

We are pleased to announce the poems selected as “finalists” for the 2015 Gabriela Mistral Poetry Prize. Following the departure of Ruben Quesada, the selections were made by new Cobalt poetry editors Donora Hillard-Hare and Jonathan Travelstead. We thank you for your patience as we worked hard to ensure that each of the many submissions we received was evaluated fairly under the new leadership.

A winner from the following group of finalists will be announced later this week. Each of these poems will be included in our upcoming Volume 4 print issue.

  • “Desire as Lasso” by Andrea Beltran
  • “Poem for Charlie” by Elisabeth Murawski
  • “Housesitting: Garden and Cat” by Elisabeth Murawski
  • “All Saints’ Day” by Eva Olsgard
  • “What Kind of Shine” by Alexandra Smyth
  • “What My Father Gives Me” by Phuong Vuong

Our creative nonfiction finalists will be announced tomorrow!

Thanks,

Andrew Keating
Publisher, Cobalt Press

Cobalt Welcomes New Poetry Editors

Following the departure of the great Ruben Quesada, who joined Queen Mob’s Tea House, it is with great pleasure that I report the arrival of Jonathan Travelstead and Donora Hillard-Hare to the Cobalt Review editorial team.

Travelstead and Hillard-Hare have worked closely with Cobalt Press for the past couple of years. Travelstead won the second annual poetry prize and later published his first collection, How We Bury Our Dead, with Cobalt Press in 2015. Hillard-Hare was featured in a Cobalt Review interview during the spring of 2013 and her collection of Jeff Bridges-inspired poetry will be released by Cobalt Press in late April.

The kick-ass poetry duo will work semi-autonomously as they build future online poetry issues and content for the annual print issues. While some decision-making will be a joint effort, each editor will create submission guidelines to his/her editorial style. Those guidelines will be made available on the Cobalt submittable page very soon.

Cobalt is also happy to welcome Sara Henke to the team as a general staffer.

Click here to read bios.

A Look Ahead for 2016: New Book Prize, New Publishing Schedule

My favorite thing about small presses is the opportunity for experimentation, for evolution, for reevaluation and refining year after year. My favorite thing about Cobalt is our ability to balance consistency with change, most notably in our staff. As the great Ruben Quesada moves on to a new opportunity in Queen Mob’s Tea House, I’m reminded of the shift in poetry when he arrived a little under two years ago. The position was previously held by Tabitha Surface and Jill Williams, and we are gearing up to announce our next poetry editor in the next month or so. Each editor has brought a new aesthetic to our publications, and we took advantage of that by separating poetry into its own issue every winter.

On the side of consistency, Rafe Posey and Samantha Stanco have done a wonderful job maintaining our prose content since Cobalt’s inception in 2011. The work has been diverse, has explored both traditional and experimental forms, and has kept Cobalt strong.

We all have been moving, moving up and moving on in one way or another these past five years. Our staff is now located in several states, and is relying on technology to connect us more than ever. We don’t throw parties or go out for coffee; Cobalt is what keeps us together. And, while we are losing several social elements of our process, the press is able to benefit from a revisioning, a more concentrated focus on product – we are forced into new methods of collaboration that equally broaden and narrow our objectives as a group.

I moved to Montana recently. It was a physical and mental change that I could not wholly prepare for. My time was consumed by wave after wave of adjustment. Some things fell behind schedule, some things took new priority, and others dropped off the map almost entirely.

In our sort-of-annual evaluation of the press, what worked, what could be better, we’ve established some goals and changes for 2016. These are not necessarily permanent changes, and some things may return/revert in 2017.

What we’re discontinuing (at least for now):

  • Frank McCourt Creative Nonfiction Prize
  • Gabriela Mistral Poetry Prize
  • Zora Neale Hurston Fiction Prize

This is as difficult a decision as we’ve made since the inception of Cobalt in 2011. We love to reward high-caliber work, and contests are a great way to do that. We haven’t ruled out the return of these prizes in 2017, but in an effort to ease back on our ever-increasing workload, this is a great place to start.

Don’t worry, though. The Earl Weaver Baseball Writing Prize is here to stay! We’ll talk more about that in the next section.

A new schedule for Cobalt Review online:

  • June – fiction and creative nonfiction
  • December – poetry
  • End of MLB season/start of Postseason – baseball (poetry, fiction, CNF)

There are a lot of reasons why this schedule works better for our staff and for our readers. When we moved to an annual poetry issue, we gave our poetry editor more than ample time to comfortably build content for a larger, more comprehensive issue that meets his/her vision. I’m scratching my head, now, and wondering why didn’t we do this for prose already? So now we’re doing it for prose.

Personally, I work on the academic calendar. Many of us do. The amount of time I want to spend on the baseball issue, and the enormous volume of submissions it has brought in for the past three years, calls for a summer-heavy schedule. We will use the midsummer classic as a deadline for this issue, rather than a publication date, giving submitters a few extra weeks to get their stuff in (or make bold predictions about who might win the Series).

A new contest:

In February, we are going to launch the first Cobalt book prize. This is a realignment of resources. We’ll offer cash prizes (not advances) and book contracts to the winner and first runner-up. The second runner-up will receive an offer for a book deal under Cobalt Press. We care deeply about each of our authors, and our book deals are highly competitive. In addition to our “boiler-plate” stuff, we offer an additional portion of each sale of his/her book to a charity of the author’s choosing.

Here are the prizes for the “+Gamma Rays” Book Prize:

  • Winner: $300 cash + book deal
  • Runner-Up: $100 cash + book deal
  • Second Runner-Up: book deal (optional, determined by committee)

The “+Gamma Rays” Book Prize, inspired by the beta decay nuclear equation of Cobalt-60, and the comment from a physics professor at Rocky Mountain College that “‘+Gamma Rays’ means it’s shootin’ shit,” will welcome full-length manuscripts of all sorts. We are not so corny as to say things like “send us your most radioactive work.” However, we definitely want the stuff that will leave a lasting impression on us. More details can be found at cobalt.submittable.com in the next week or two.

Cobalt Press will continue to accept non-contest submissions for full-length works.

We are also in the process of identifying the rest of our 2016-2017 catalogs for Cobalt Press. 2016 will start with Donora Hillard-Hare’s Jeff Bridges poetry collection, with illustrations by Goodloe Byron. A novel for the summer has already been selected. That will be announced soon.

Until next time,

Andrew Keating
Publisher and Managing Editor
Cobalt Press/Cobalt Review

…and the 2015 Earl Weaver Baseball Writing Prize goes to…

Walker Harrison: “Legends of Summer”

Congratulations to Walker Harrison, who is the recipient of this year’s Earl Weaver Baseball Writing Prize. His work, along with the work of our other three finalists, will appear in this year’s annual print volume (which also includes winners and finalists from our other prizes).

Thank you to all who submitted. Enjoy the final days of the World Series, and we look forward to reading more of your baseball stories, essays and poetry for next season!

Click here to read the 2015 Baseball Issue.

Finalists:

  • Matt Hohner, “Ground Rules”
  • Leo Ryan, “The Oriole Way”
  • Neil Serven, “The Old Apple.