Friday, September 3, 2010

GET NORMAL NOW! We're open for submissions!

My Fellow Freaks,

Get Normal by submitting your work to us. We're open and ready to read . . . btw, here's a little secret of the lit mag world: the stuff you send at the beginning of the submission period often gets read more carefully than the stuff you send at the end, when we're slammed with submissions. Do it now. Submit. Be Normal. It's fun.

-- SC

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Announcing Judges for 2011 Normal Prize

Ahoy mates,

We here on the good ship Normal are just busting with happy stuff over the announcement of our judges for the 2011 Normal Prize AND to announce the addition of a Poetry Prize!

Drum roll, please . . . . The judges are:

Poetry: Nick Flynn
Fiction: Susan Straight
Nonfiction: Eula Biss

We're proud and honored to have such dynamite writers judging our contest. Get your writing ready! Stay tuned here for more details on the deadlines

-- Cap'n Barry Wayne Normal

Normal School at AWP

Hey Normals,

Get your tickets and reservations for AWP 2011 in D.C. The Normal School will be there in full force, slinging mags and our every-popular T-Shirts. We'll also be throwing a truly Normal party and hosting this panel:

What's Normal in Nonfiction?

Steven Church, Debra Marquart, Ander Monson, Bonnie J. Rough, Bob Shacochis, David Shields

Moderated by Editors of The Normal School, the panel will feature a discussion of the polarizing questions concerning the ethics and aesthetics of nonfiction writing today. Is the nonfiction writer’s obligation to the art or to the subject? The audience? Can you conflate time, use composite or fictionalized characters, or borrow material from other sources without citing it? Panelists will consider what the role of the nonfiction writer is today and how that role is defined by ethical concerns for subject and audience, and/or aesthetic concerns for art, genre, form, and technique.

Hope to see you all there!

-- SC

Thursday, July 8, 2010

SHOWDOWN: David Shields and Bob Shacochis, spurs jingling

Hey Normals,

In case you haven't seen our latest issue of The Normal School (Spring, 2010), we're offering up a special summer extravaganza for your reading enjoyment. You can now download PDF versions of essays from David Shields and Bob Shacochis for FREE right here and here.

If you like what you see and read, please consider subscribing to The Normal School. At $20 for 2 years, you REALLY can't beat the price.

Trust Us. We're Normal.

-- SC

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sticker Love

Sometimes people send email to The Normal School and say nice things about our magazine or even our rejection sticker. Sometimes they take pictures of the sticker and send it to us.

Here's a recent email:

Hey, Editors!

I put my badge of rejection on my car and I wanted you to know that's one
of the most unique, un-normal denials yet received.

Picture attached. I'll try for a matching one next year. Have a good summer.

We're glad this writer appreciates our efforts to lighten things up a bit with our TNS rejection sticker. Thanks for being Normal! We're all writers, too and we thank you for your support of our magazine and for sending your writing our way.

Write on.



Monday, May 10, 2010

Normal Prize Winners Announced

Hey Normals,

We're proud to announce the winners and finalists of our 1st annual Normal Prize Contest in Fiction and Nonfiction.

Nonfiction: Judged by David Shields

Winner: Karen Hays for her essay, "Clockwise Detorsion of Snails"

Finalists: "Father of Disorder," by Jessica Wilbanks, and "Quality is Your Right," by Anthony DiRenzo

Fiction: Judged by Margot Livesey

Winner: Robert Glick for his story, "In The Room/Memory is/White"

Finalists: "Reality TV" by Sarah Durham, and "Confession of the Ugly Girl" by Cynthia Reeves

Check back with us for news about our 2nd Annual Normal Prize. Deadlines and judges will be announced soon.

Thanks to ALL of the wonderful writers who submitted to our contest and made it a smashing success.

Normal Editors

Monday, April 12, 2010


Heyo Normals!

Thanks for stopping by the table at the AWP Bookfair and saying, "Hey," or for attending our Normal Nonfiction Reading or our Low Down Writers' Bash with The Pinch, Colorado Review, and the Colorado Art Ranch. It was great to meet all of you.

EXTRA special Normal thanks to those of you who subscribed at the conference and joined our merry band, as well as to those of you who purchased one of our issues (nearly 200 sold!!!) or our SOLD OUT Shark Bear t-shirt. Some of you asked to take some submission guidelines and we didn't have them out. Sorry about that. See them here. And send us your best fiction, nonfiction, and poetry now, before our April 30 deadline hits.

Stay tuned also for the announcement of our inaugural Normal Prize Contest, judged by David Shields and Margot Livesey.

And now for a quick favorite AWP moment at the Normal School table: Several of us are gathered around talking and laughing, enjoying the buzz of the bookfair, when we hear a voice, "I LOVE The Normal School!" and look up to see Sherman Alexie standing at our table, praising the design and production of the magazine, talking about how he thinks of it as one of the best magazines in the country.

Needless to say, we were quite proud. We're also proud to say (and I think it speaks volumes about Mr. Alexie's support of young writers) that he was a subscriber to The Normal School before he became a contributor to our 3rd issue.

Stay Normal,

Barry Wayne

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Normal Things at AWP

Hey Normals,

The TNS crew is getting all psyched for AWP next week. We can't wait to show off our new issue, #4 and our new limited edition "Shark Bear" t-shirts. Stop by the table (Exhibit Hall A, K-18), check out the Vend-O-Prose Machine, pick up a copy of the magazine, subscribe, do a little dance, get down tonight. And please don't miss these Normal School events. We know there's a lot of other things to grab your attention. We'd love to see you, even if you just stop by and say hi:

-- AWP Kickoff Bash, co-sponsored by The Pinch, Colorado Review, the Colorado Art Ranch on Thursday, April 8 from 8:00 - ???? at the Wynkoop Brewery (see attached flier).

-- Normal Nonfiction: A Reading from The Normal School Literary Magazine featuring
contributors, Dave Griffith, Abraham Brennan, Oz Spies, Patrick Madden, and Duncan Murrell on Friday, April 9 from 4:30 PM to 5:45 PM in Room 111 - CCC

-- Normal Editor, Steven Church reads on Saturday, April 10 from 12 - 1:15 in CCC 303 with Normal Contributor, Wendy Rawlings and George Kalamaras, Bill Tremblay, Mary Crow, and his dear friend and mentor, John Calderazzo.

Hope to see all of you there!


Friday, February 26, 2010

Follow that Contributor!

Congratulations to Sherman Alexie on being named a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for his War Dances (Grove Press). You can read Alexie's "Verminators" and "Blood In. Blood Out." in the current issue of The Normal School, available on the magazine rack at your local Barnes & Noble Bookstore where you will be buying War Dances.

The Normal School is proud to say that in its first three issues, it has featured three PEN/Faulkner nominees: Ron Rash, Steve Yarbrough, and, now, Sherman Alexie. We are thankful to have these incredible voices among our list of contributors.

Follow that Contributing Editor!

Steve Yarbrough ("In the Shadow of a King" p. 85, TNS #3) is on his way to Mississippi to receive the Richard Wright Award. Congratulations!

Friday, February 12, 2010

"March Fourth" and Submit!

We've extended our contest deadline! With the holidays in December and school starting again in January, February 12 came around too fast. So, to stop our heads from spinning, we've extended the deadline to March 4, 2010. (Oh, who are we kidding? We just wanted the opportunity to say "March Fourth and Submit.")

So if you're one of those people who's perpetually late for everything, there's hope for you yet. March fourth and submit! For guidelines, please visit our website.

PS -- Thank you very much to everyone who has already submitted. Your entries are already being processed and read. You make us proud.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Follow that contributor!

TNS #3 contributor, Steve Yarbrough, has just released his latest novel. Safe From The Neighbors, published by Knopf, has been described as a "novel of unusual richness and depth," a "tense, spellbinding narrative of marital betrayal written against a background of Deep South racial angst." Do yourself a favor and buy a copy. You won't be disappointed.

Congratulations, Steve!

Only two weeks left! $2000 in prizes!

Normal Prize in Fiction and Nonfiction
Deadline for Submissions: Feb. 12, 2010

Fiction Prize: $1000 & Publication
Nonfiction Prize: $1000 & Publication

Final Judges
Fiction: Margot Livesey
Nonfiction: David Shields

We're interested in everything from the mainstream to the avant-garde. Just send us your best!

  1. All submissions must be no more than 10,087 words, double-spaced, 12 pt. font, with numbered pages and NO IDENTIFYING INFORMATION ON MANUSCRIPT.
  2. Entry fee: $20 per submission. Please make checks out to "The Normal School."
  3. Manuscripts should be accompanied by a cover sheet with the following information: title, genre, word count, author's name, address, phone number and email address. Of this information, only the title should appear on the manuscript itself.
  4. All submissions must be previously unpublished (print or electronic media).
  5. Simultaneous submissions are permitted as long as you notify editors should your piece be accepted elsewhere. Multiple submissions are also permitted, but each submission must be accompanied by the entry fee.
  6. Manuscripts will not be returned. Please do not send your only copy. If you want verification that we have received your manuscript, please send a self-addressed, stamped postcard.
  7. Postmark submissions by FEBRUARY 12 and send to:

The Normal School
Normal Prize Contest - "Genre"
5245 N. Backer Ave
M/S PB 98
California State University, Fresno
Fresno, CA 93740

Please be sure to specify genre on envelope and cover sheet.
All entrants will receive a complimentary issue of The Normal School.
Winners will be announced before the Fall 2010 issue via email.
All entries will be considered for publication.

Judging: All submissions will be read "blind" in an effort to ensure the most ethical contest possible. In addition to abiding by the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses standards on ethical contests, The Normal School also specifically prohibits submissions from any current or recent students, staff, or faculty of California State University, Fresno. It also expressly prohibits submissions from family members of the outside judges.

If you have questions, please contact us at:

Good luck!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mr. Dinty goes Viral.

Hey Normals,

Our good friend, Dinty Moore and his google-maps essay from our current issue of The Normal School have gone viral. Check him out on Twitter. Search for "Dinty" and hear the buzzzzzzzz . . . Thanks, Dinty for letting us publish this piece. Be Normal. Subscribe. Submit.

Trust us. We're Normal.