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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


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Two new Yuriy Tarnawsky novels!


JEF Books announces two new titles by Yuriy Tarnawsky!

AURORA, IL—February 16, 2019—Just published, two wonderful new novels by one of JEF’s best-known and most beloved authors, the inimitable Yuriy Tarnawsky! Help us welcome Warm Arctic Nights and The Iguanas of Heat!

Driven by an unquenchable thirst for the unknown and boundless imagination, a boy learns about the nature of life in an idyllic pre-WW II Poland and nightmarish WW II Ukraine. Life in Warm Arctic Nights is shown to have the warmth and beauty of the eternal arctic night. Yuriy Tarnawsky’s Warm Arctic Nights is a swift and deeply engrossing fictive memoir of an idyllic childhood whose martial and masculine tenets presage an onslaught of inhumanity and fear. Steeped in subtle irony and the surreal, it is also a sui generis act of remembrance, memorial, and love. — Michael Mejia, author of TOKYO and Forgetfulness

In The Iguanas of Heat a woman possessed by an inexplicable hatred for her husband plans his death on their forthcoming trip to Mexico. It is unwittingly facilitated by a young girl with whom the husband falls in love. Yuriy Tarnawsky’s The Iguanas of Heat is a haunting, magical novel that seduces and mesmerizes. Here, memories are like hot colors with a deceptively cool undertow that draws us out into an existential sea. — Derek Pell, author of Naked Lunch at Tiffany’s
and What is Art?

Yuriy Tarnawsky is an author of some three dozen books of poetry, fiction, drama, essays, and translations in English and Ukrainian, including The Placebo Effect Trilogy, comprising the collections of interrelated mininovels (his own genre) Like Blood in Water, The Future of Giraffes, and View of Delft. An engineer and linguist by training, he has worked as computer scientist specializing in Artificial Intelligence at IBM Corporation and professor of Ukrainian Literature and Culture at Columbia University. He was born in Ukraine, but was raised and educated in the West. For his contribution to Ukrainian literature, in 2008, he was awarded the Prince Yaroslav the Wise Order of Merit by Ukrainian government. He resides with his wife Karina in the New York City Metropolitan area.

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:

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Patchen Award Winner published!

Press Release


Journal of Experimental Fiction announces 2017 Winner of the Kenneth Patchen Award for the Innovative Novel!

AURORA, IL—December 31, 2018—JEF Books is pleased to announce the publication of the 2017 winner of the Kenneth Patchen Award for the Innovative Novel, The Skrat Prize Memorial Anthology by Richard Strauss, of London, England.

This year’s judge, novelist Dominic Ward, has said the following in his ecomium for the novel:
The winning manuscript, as it turned out, was also the very first that I read. The thing that struck me most that first read was the dedication of the writer to his or her art (his or her as, as protocol dictates, I was not given any of the names of the finalists). The manuscript was exceptionally well written, technically solid and professionally edited – this is how a submission is done right. The words – and then sentences, paragraphs and chapters – flowed buoyantly on the ebb of their own rhythm; it is such a rare treat to have a work that sings itself to you. I did not so much read it as move with it and that is a very fine thing. Any indications that this was a sensibility still on its way to full awareness could not dissuade me from the ultimate choice: this was the work that had to have the award. Please know that you have, with this work, a much deserved winner, a book that can and will carry Patchen’s name on its cover earnestly, respectfully and forevermore.

The Skrat Prize Memorial Anthology 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.

Richard Strauss studied English at Oxford, graduating in 2010, then politics at the LSE. He trained as a lawyer and currently works for the UK government. He lives in south east London with his wife. The Skrat Prize Memorial Anthology is his 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.

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