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       2014 Pushcart Prize Nominations

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To learn more about this honored literary award, please go to

2022 Pushcart Prize Nominations
Anita Haas has done it again -- captured our attention and admiration, this time for her On the Move, a quick snapshot that, like a photo, is worth a thousand words. And that's what we're after, more than anything else: a story so deep and touching without overexplaining that we feel it. We experience it.  We've nominated her before ("Waiting Room" in 2020) for those same reasons.
Charles Rammelkamp, a wonderful writer who has observed a lot of American Life pass in front of him in his local gym, has again found the underlying goodness in Americans when he peeled back the cultural and political covers from people he has watched and listened to. There's a good lesson for us in his Wise Man. Let's hope the judges at Pushcart Prize take notice.  
2020 Pushcart Prize Nominations


Announcing two nominations!   Our editors have made the decision to nominate two stories from pieces we've published in 2020:  Aliens, by James Bates (published in our Fall Issue), and Waiting Room, by Anita Haas (published in our Summer Issue). Take a look!  We think you will find these two gems to be deserving of their nominations.

2016 Pushcart Prize Nominations

We nominated three stories for a Pushcart Prize for Short Fiction from among works we published in 2012, 2015 and 2016. The earlier two were republished in our Summer/Fall 2016 issue to ensure their eligibility for this year's Prize.


Each story was selected for the author's extraordinary skill shown in capturing the essence of an "important" theme in very few words. It's the eloquence of that which is not said that stood out for us in making our selections.


That characteristic—not easily mastered by writers of any experience level—represents for us the goal of flash fiction or any very short fiction, and is worthy of special recognition.

Unfortunately, none of the stories was selected for a prize.


What I Live For, by Gale Tanner (republished from Fall '12 issue)

This very short piece felt pages long to us, filled as it was with back stories not told but shown for each of the two characters. The feel of length and completeness may have been generated by our impulse to read this one slowly, to savor, to contemplate…and to read again. The two characters could not have been more vividly drawn, yet we are free to fill in their histories and special characteristics as we wish while we experience the moment with each of them. This is the essence of flash fiction.  


Poverty, by Charles Hayes (published in Winter/Spring '16 issue)

Charles' deep soul and sensitivities have been generously lent to us in each of his stories, and we are grateful. Here, in Poverty, he enters the very bones of the narrator. We become the narrator. We experience his life and more of our own lives because of Charles' artistry.


Conference, by Bill Vernon (published in Summer/Fall '15 issue)

If you've heard about the school tragedies in Colorado, Connecticut, and any of the many others of recent years, this piece will ring a bell. We're not sure if the counselor in this story is to blame for her own demise, or if we all are to blame for not understanding the need for massive investments in mental health services throughout our society.

2014 Pushcart Prize Nominations

At the end of 2014, we selected three works of fiction for a Pushcart Prize for Short Fiction from among works we published during the year.  We believe that each story selected carried with it a gift for readers, each a gift of a different sort, each with the literary strength to remain with readers well beyond each story's end.  Unfortunately, none was selected for a prize, but they will remain highlighted here in their own special archive.


We are honored that so many writers continue to choose The Zodiac Review as a publication worthy of their work. We found it difficult to select just three for nomination, but felt that three was our limit in order to preserve the reputation of the magazine as a discriminating and thoughtful publication.


Here are brief sketches describing the pieces we selected in 2014.  Click on each title to be linked to the respective story wherever it resides in the magazine.  (And feel free to communicate with each author via our contact page.)



Dewey Lake, by Doug Johnson

(originally published in Summer 2012 Issue and republished in Fall 2014 Issue; now in Archives) – This superior story, a possibly fictionalized memoir with notes of allegory, is a gift of fine language and mood, at times striking lyrical notes; at others, biting comedy. A compelling read.


The Kiss, by Nashae Jones

(published in Fall 2014 Issue, now in Archives) – A powerful and important story of a woman’s reactions upon hearing reports of the well-known Florida shooting.  This piece offers readers a rare opportunity for a new and deeper understanding of events such as this. Nashae's gift is her skill in conveying the depth of the narrator's emotions in such a way that we are borne along with her on the current of the news as it unfolds.


God’s Dog, by Gale Tanner

(published in Winter 2014 Issue, now in Archives) – Gale Tanner apparently is the reincarnation of the brilliant theologian and philosopher C. S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia). This story is a clever allegory addressing the human condition and concepts of God. It’s also a lot of fun. Gale's gift is the novel way he presents the concept of a supreme being in an ecumenical manner, allowing people of any or no faith around the world to confirm or re-think their belief systems...and just possibly to find common ground among their neighbors.

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