A Few Words About the Pushcart Prize
FOR THE THIRD YEAR, Fictional Café’s baristas have chosen and submitted what we agreed were the best six works—three of fiction and three of poetry—we’ve published in the past year for consideration in the Pushcart Prize competition. As usual, a work from each of our Writer-in-Residence and Poet-in-Residence has been selected for the Prize.
Congratulations to our six nominees! Here are their links on FC. Please check them out.
Vera West, FC’s Poet-in-Residence: https://www.fictionalcafe.com/poet-in-residence-vera-west-shares-her-work-for-national-poetry-month/
Rachel Gonzalez, FC’s Writer-in-Residence: https://www.fictionalcafe.com/the-secret-society-by-rachel-gonzalez/
PS Conway, Poetry: https://www.fictionalcafe.com/coddled-by-mountains-poetry-by-ps-conway/
Levi Dodd, Fiction: https://www.fictionalcafe.com/cherry-black-a-story-by-levi-dodd/
Cori Sims, Poetry: https://www.fictionalcafe.com/poem-and-personal-essay-for-19-june-2023/
Just as you submit your own work for consideration on FC, Bill Henderson’s Pushcart Press asked literary publications, both print and online, for submissions to its Pushcart Prize Best of the Small Presses anthology. It has done so each year since 1976 – that’s 47 years – for free. Pushcart’s editors, like your Fictional Café baristas, work for free. They chose what they feel are the best works, just as we do, and publish those works in their anthology.
Joni Mitchell eloquently pointed out what it meant to perform music without asking for compensation in her glorious song “For Free” in which she encounters a street musician playing for free while on her way to play and sing—not for free.
Let me qualify the use of the word “free.” We live in a greedy, rapacious society where the dollar is commonly the top priority. But not always. In publishing, whether Fictional Café or Pushcart, the emphasis is often on the quality and character of the work, not a submission fee. We believe that is true and should remain true: “l’art pour l’art” as the French so succinctly express it.
You, as a reader, perhaps a contributor, and a subscriber, can take comfort in the fact that the work published here at FC— whether it’s your own or that of others—has been reviewed by at least three baristas who have agreed upon its quality and character. Not because you paid a subscription fee to read our ‘zine, nor a submission fee to have your work considered.
Will Fictional Café always be totally free? That remains to be seen. While all our expenses are tax-deductible at this time, they are still rising along with the rest of the economy.
Thank you for your continued good faith in us. We greatly appreciate you and believe you’re essential member of our family of creatives.
Jack B. Rochester, Founding Barista and Editor-in-Chief