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Hi, everyone,

Eckhard here.  I wanted to thank everyone who participated in last year’s Kenneth Patchen Award competition.  I was amazed at the quality of manuscripts we received, and, in another year, I could easily have seen several of them as winners. We are very proud to have selected Genelle Chaconas’s book Plague City, and I am sure you will see how wonderful it is when it comes out.  Normally I send an announcement to every one who participated and thank each participant personally, but something tragic has happened. Within days of announcing here Genelle Chaconas’s selection, the external hard drive to my computer crashed, and that contained, unfortunately, the list I had been compiling of all the email addresses of everyone who submitted this year, and, foolishly, I had no back-up for that file. So, short of going through all your emailed submissions all over again to cull your email addresses, I was unable to send that announcement. So please accept my apology. I take this contest very seriously, and it is part of my effort to help keep the spirit of innovative fiction alive and well.

We hope to be publishing the 2018 winner, Patrick Keller’s Those Brave as the Skate Is, within the next couple of months. We are wrestling with some formatting issues, which is not uncommon in innovative work, but hope to have everything in order soon. So stay tuned! More wonderful work is on its way!

Our next title, Denis Emorine’s Death at Half Mast, is almost ready for launch, and I think you will really enjoy this book. It has been translated from the French with great attention to detail by Flavia Cosma with input and oversight by Denis and Michael Todd Steffen and help in American idiom and punctuation by yours truly.

Please take a look at some of our most recent titles as well.  Yuriy Tarnawsky’s The Iguanas of Heat and Warm Arctic Nights, Harold Jaffe’s  Porn-anti-Porn, James R. Hugunin’s Finding Mememo, Jim Meirose’s Understanding Franklin Thompson, R.M. Strauss’s The Skrat Prize Memorial Anthology, Grace Murray’s Black Scat Books: A Bibliography 2012-2018and Jeffrey R. DiLeo and Warren Motte’s Experimental Literature: A Collection of Statementare all worthy of your attention!

Thanks for being here!

Eckhard Gerdes

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2019 Kenneth Patchen Award winner announced!

Journal of Experimental Fiction Logo 


 Journal of Experimental Fiction announces 2019 Winner of the Kenneth Patchen Award Winner for the Innovative Novel!

 AURORA, IL—May 25, 2019—The 2019 winner of the Kenneth Patchen Award for the Innovative Novel is Genelle Chaconas, of Rancho Cordova, California, for their novel Plague City.

This year’s judge, novelist Jane L. Carman, has said the following in her ecomium for the novel:

Innovative and engaging from the start Plague City draws the reader in with forms and a genreless narrative presented via reader participation. The prose sometimes reads like a song, sometimes asks questions, and shows you how literature might (must!) move forward in a chaotic world. With space to breathe Genelle Chaconas weaves a collage-style work that asks the reader to return, reread, and reconsider fiction (and reality).

Jane L. Carman is the founder of Lit Fest Press, Festival Writer, and the reading series Festival of Language and a reading eXperiment. She holds a PhD from Illinois State University where she is a former Codirector of the Publications Unit and a Sutherland Fellow. Her book, Tangled in Motion, was published by Journal of Experimental Fiction Books in 2015 and is in the second edition. Her critical and creative work can be found in Devil’s Lake, Santa Clara Review, American Book Review, elimae, Palooka, Dirty: Dirty (Jaded Ibis Productions), 580-Split, JAC, and many others. She is currently coauthoring a book a suicide stories with Amy L. Eggert.

 Plague City 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.

Genelle Chaconas is nonbinary gendered, queer, an abuse survivor, has mood disorders, and feels proud. They earned a BA in Creative Writing from CSUS in 2009, an MFA in Writing & Poetics from Naropa University in 2015, and 50k of debt. They’ve been published lots but don’t namedrop. Their chapbooks include Fallout Saints and Dirty Pictures (little m press, 2011) and Yet Wave (the Lune, 2017). They serve as head editor for HockSpitSlurp Literary Magazine. They enjoy scifi and gangster flix, drone/noise/industrial music, and long walks off short piers. They live in the greater Sacramento area. This is their first novel.

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:



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

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The 2020 Kenneth Patchen Award competition deadline is approaching!

Deadline: July 31, 2019

Entry Fee: $25

E-mail address:

A prize of $1,000 and book publication by Journal of Experimental Fiction and JEF Books is given annually for an innovative novel. Submit a manuscript of any length with a $25 entry fee by July 31. This year’s judge will be Jason E. Rolfe.

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.

The submission can be of any length, but must be submitted in Word or PDF format. Manuscripts should be emailed or sent as CDs. The manuscript itself should not contain the author’s name or address, but a separate sheet should be submitted with the title of the submission and the author’s contact information.

Additionally, all entries need to include a four-digit identifying number of the author’s choosing. This number should appear in the subject line of the email, on the manuscript, and on the contact information form.

Payment can be sent by check to: Eckhard Gerdes Publishing, PO Box 6281, Aurora, IL 60598. Do not make checks out to Kenneth Patchen or to JEF Publishing.

Payment can also be made by Paypal to: If paying by Paypal, please use either the “Send Money to Friends and Family” option so that we actually receive the full $25 on our end, or, if you want to use the “Pay for Goods and Services Option,” please include an extra $2.00 to cover Paypal’s fees.

Thank you! We look forward to reading your manuscripts!

Eckhard Gerdes