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2020 Kenneth Patchen Award winner announced!


Journal of Experimental Fiction announces 2020 Winner of the Kenneth Patchen Award Winner for the Innovative Novel!

AURORA, IL—July 30, 2020—The 2020 winner of the Kenneth Patchen Award for the Innovative Novel is Cal Massey, of Flagler Beach, Florida, for his novel (own little worlds).

This year’s judge, Jason E. Rolfe, has said the following in his encomium for the novel:

“Cal Massey’s “(Own Little Worlds)” stands out not simply because it’s well written (which it is), because it’s a good story (which it is), or because it’s experimental (which it is, though not superficially so). It stands out because it’s a mixture of these three key ingredients, the most impressive of which, I would happily argue, is the quality of Mr. Massey’s writing.”

Jason E. Rolfe is the author of the fiction collections An Inconvenient Corpse (Black Scat Books Absurdist Texts & Documents Series) and Clocks (Black Scat Books), and the novella An Archive of Human Nonsense (Snuggly Books). Rolfe is an aficionado of absurdism and an appreciator of literary innovation of many kinds.

(own little worlds) was chosen as the winner of the Kenneth Patchen Award for the Innovative Novel over many other worthy candidates for the exceptional craft and originality with which it is written as well as for its deep sympathy for the human condition, both qualities epitomized by Kenneth Patchen himself.

SYNOPSIS: An old editor, a young reporter and an evil scheme that requires dancing by struggling Americans just might save us from Trump’s lunatic legacy. Or maybe not. The best we can do is laugh, hate and hope. (own little worlds) follows fighters, failures and the fallen in a near-future world who become entangled in the planning, cover-up and aftermath of a Japanese cargo ship’s bombing in the Port of Jacksonville.

Cal Massey is a retired newspaper editor and reporter who is not an enemy of the people. He won more than three dozen national and state awards as writer and/or editor and managed to publish several short stories and poems in literary journals with circulations in the tens. He and his wife Lynn live with six cats in a house in the woods in Florida.

After a hiatus, THE KENNETH PATCHEN AWARD was revived in 2012. In the 1990s, The Kenneth Patchen Prize for Literature was a much-coveted prize administered by Pig Iron Press of Youngstown, Ohio, in honor of famous experimental fiction author, proletarian poet, and Ohio native Kenneth Patchen.  Beginning in 2012, the Award was reinstituted as the Kenneth Patchen Award for the Innovative Novel, and it honors the most innovative novel submitted during the previous calendar year.   KENNETH PATCHEN is celebrated for being among the greatest innovators of American fiction, incorporating strategies of concretism, asemic writing, digression, and verbal juxtaposition into his writing long before such strategies were popularized during the height of American postmodernist experimentation in the 1970s.  His three great innovative novels, Sleepers Awake, The Memoirs of a Shy Pornographer and The Journal of Albion Moonlight, have long been benchmarks for beats, postmodernists and innovators of all ilks, inspiring younger writers to greater significance and innovation in their own work.

ABOUT JEF: Founded in 1986, The Journal of Experimental Fiction is the English language’s pre-eminent source for innovative fiction.  Contact: Eckhard Gerdes, editor & publisher, Site:


2019 – Genelle Chaconas – Plague City (coming soon!)

2018 – Patrick Keller – Those Brave As the Skate Is (coming soon!)

2017 – Richard Strauss – The Skrat Prize Memorial Anthology

2016 – Charles Hood – Mouth

2015 – Kate Horsley – Between the Legs

2014 – Bob Sawatzki – Return to Circa ‘96

2013 – Moore Bowen – Oppression for the Heaven of It

2012 – Carolyn Chun – How to Break Article Noun


Click here for information on the 2021 Patchen Award competition

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